According to MLB.COM, shortstop prospect Ian Desmond could become an “all-purpose utility man” come spring. Bill Ladson writes that as a result of the Nationals landing free agent second baseman Adam Kennedy, the Nationals may use Desmond everywhere, including the outfield.
“Washington is thinking about making Desmond an all-purpose utility man — playing all three outfield positions, shortstop and second base. Riggleman, however, wants to make sure that Guzman is healthy before putting Desmond in a utility role. Guzman is coming off right shoulder surgery and foot problems.
“It will be determined in Spring Training,” Riggleman said Saturday. “We have to check out the health of Guzman. … We anticipate that he will be our shortstop.
“Ian is such a good athlete. It would be fairer to him to try to get him some games in Spring Training — mix in some games in the outfield, so it’s fresher to him. If he were able to make the club and play both infield and outfield, Ian would be a nice weapon to have as a double switch. We also would give [second baseman Adam] Kennedy some days off and Guzman some days off. We would be able to use Ian as a pinch-runner.”
Now this bring up an age old question. Would you rather have a young player getting lots of at bats in the minors or one bouncing around from position to position just to be a major league asset?
To me the answer is easy. Ian Desmond is not a prospect for his bat, he is a prospect as a shortstop. He has the unique opportunity to be an average to an above average major league shortstop, which is the hardest position on the diamond to play. Keeping him in the majors to have him play part-time outfield is a waste of talent, and possibly will make him a worse shortstop for the future.
Furthermore, the Nationals aren’t in a position to be very competitive this season. They don’t need to be “all hands on deck.” If it’s better for 2011 that Ian Desmond spend 2010 playing everyday shortstop in Syracuse, then so be it.
What do you think?
-Are the Nationals better off having Desmond in Washington and playing multiple roles? or is it better to keep Desmond playing short full time?
-What is the ideal middle infield situation?