Ian Desmond has signed out for the second straight year and the Rockies have scrambled to fill another void in the lineup.
Desmond made the announcement on Sunday morning on Instagram.
"My desire to be with my family is greater than I want to go back and play baseball in the circumstances," Desmond wrote. "I will keep training and see how things develop.
“This affects a lot of people, some positively and some negatively, and this is mine. Ultimately, this burdens me more than anyone, but I follow my heart and feel good about my decision. "
Desmond has also signed out of the 2020 season. If he missed both seasons, he lost $ 23 million in salary from the $ 70 million five-year contract he signed ahead of the 2017 season.
"He's doing this for the right reasons," said manager Bud Black, who said Desmond had mentioned opting out as a possibility in private conversations over the past few weeks. "This was a decision that wasn't about money. It was from the heart and from the stomach. It was difficult. It was an agony for him.
"Of course I wanted him back. I told him."
This likely ends Desmond's time with Colorado. He scored .252 in 395 games for the Rockies with 49 home runs and 192 RBIs. His victories over replacements, according to Baseball-reference.com, registered at -3.2 during that time.
Without Desmond's right-handed, the Rockies have Raimel Tapia, Sam Hilliard and Charlie Blackmon – all left-handed – in the outfield. Utility man Garrett Hampson can also play in the outfield and score from the right.
The Rockies also have 26-year-old Yonathan Daza on their 40-man roster. The right-handed player played 44 games in 2019 and owns a .318 / .359 / .438 slash line in 683 career minor league games.
Black also mentioned Chris Owings and Bret Boswell as players whose roles could be expanded with Desmond's departure.
Desmond – along with veterans Scott Oberg and Trevor Story – was instrumental in communicating with teammates after Nolan Arenado was traded in Colorado in January.
"I think the intent was just to make sure we all stick together," Oberg said last week. “You never want a clubhouse to take 25, 26 different directions. They want to make sure that at the end of the day, no matter how we play, we stick together as a club and as a team. "
Black said Desmond's leadership skills were evident in these conversations with teammates, and he wasn't surprised he was trying to keep the team together despite privately considering opting out.
"I think it just shows how much he cared about the team," said Black.