Wednesday, July 7, 2010

It's Time To Bench Desmond

When the Nationals called up Ian Desmond at the start of the year as the starting shortstop, I was as excited as anyone. I was excited to see what the young kid could do. When Desmond started to struggle in the field, I supported Riggleman's decision to stay with the young man. You have to give a young guy a chance to keep the spot.

But just over half way through the 2010 season, the Nats have committed 74 errors this season. That's 6 more than any other team in baseball. It's double the number of errors committed by the Twins and the Padres and more than double the number committed by the Yankees. And it's only July 6th.

Of those 74 errors, Ian Desmond has committed 21 of them. The next closest shortstop in errors is the Brewers' Alcides Escobar with 14. Making matters worse, Desmond is hitting just over .250 and has a sub-.300 on-base percentage. All of these numbers translate to a shortstop who should lose his job.

You can always look at the good things a player does, and you should. In Tuesday's game, Desmond hit a home run and had a decent relay to home to prevent the Padres' 6th run in the top of the 9th. But you have to look at the entire body of work. And Desmond's error on the double play attempt gave up the run the game's tying run. Luckily, All-Star Ryan Zimmerman had a dramatic walk-off home run in the bottom of the 9th for the win. (More on this soon.)

In the mean time, Alberto Gonzalez is a quality infielder with a good average. I've been high on AG for a while now, and maybe it's time to get him in, because Desmond isn't getting it done.


  1. "Alberto Gonzalez is a quality infielder with a good average." If you take away his one out-of-nowhere 4 hit performance that one game, his average is worse than Desmond's. I'd also like to see his numbers with runners in scoring position.

    I don't usually comment on anything, but it seems likely lately any time Desmond commits a late game error I read 3 completely reactionary posts calling for his job. Yes Desmond's errors are infuriating, but he gets clutch hits. I like Rizzo's stance that "the best thing about first year shortstops is that they become second year shortstops." He'll get better in the field. AG won't get better at the plate. Remember what happens every time Riggo is forced to pinch hit him because he has no other options on the bench? Rally over.

    Ok, done venting. Sorry.

    -A nats fan

  2. I appreciate your comments and opinion. I agree that Desmond has potential to be a great shortstop. His offense is already almost there. He's gotten better with pitch selection and has shown he can hit for power. But 21 errors. Come on. You've got to be kidding me. It's an inexcusable number of errors for a starting shortstop, rookie or not. Desmond already bats toward the bottom of the order, and he does so passably. But AG would be hitting in the same spot, would be doing around the same average wise, and would have a fraction of the number of errors.

    I get that we want to build a shortstop of the future, and you're right. That person is NOT Alberto Gonzalez. But the current shortstop has actually cost the Nats numerous games. Some day they have to look to WIN games, not to build a club.