Desmond Puts Family First In Time of Crisis

Tracy Ringolsby

Back in the later days of 2016, as Rockies general manager Jeff Bridich was working out the final details on a five-year contract for free agent Ian Desmond, Bridich realized there was something about Desmond that extended beyond his athleticism.

And after 3 1/2 years of Desmond's relationship with the Rockies, Bridich has only become more convinced of that special element that is a part of Desmond -- something that was underscored by Desmond's decision this week to sit out the pandemic-shortened season.

It's something Desmond felt he needed to do, in part to be with his wife, who is pregnant with the couple's fifth child, even though it means there will be no payday in 2020. Teams have committed to paying the salaries of players who are sidelined for medical reasons, but not for players who are healthy and make the decision to sit out the coming season.

"I had two conversations with Ian dating back to last week," Bridich said in a video session with members of the media. "They were great conversations, the kind of conversations you have with Ian which are very honest and to the point with a lot of thought involved.

"We were able to talk as both husbands, both fathers, both working in the industry so we had a good conversation. ... That dated back to last week and there was a follow-up a couple days ago."

Desmond has become a leader in the Rockies clubhouse, someone his teammates look to at tough times. With that, Bridich is confident his teammates will understand Desmond's decision.

"The conversations with Ian felt the exact same as his written words feel to me, which is from the heart and honest," said Bridich. "One of the great things about Ian is whether it's this time period or we first got to know each other, he's willing to think out loud, share ideas. He is completely comfortable in that. ... He put a lot of thought into the (decision)."

And given Desmond's relationship with his teammates, the Rockies general manager does not anticipate backlash from other players, and members of management. 

"I can't speak for every player in our clubhouse," said Bridich. "I would hope each and every player would understand the depth of thought that went into this for Ian and his family, and if they have any questions they would approach him on it.

"He is someone who would willingly and honestly engage in the conversation. When Ian and I spoke we made it clear that none of this would change our relationship, our support. ... I think it would be pretty shortsighted and naive to change a relationship because a family makes a decision on what is best with them."

Given the history that Bridich and Desmond have, Bridich is confident the two can appreciate where each other stands.

"Ian is extremely thoughtful in what he does," said Bridich. "He is thoughtful in how he prepares as a professional athlete. He is a thoughtful husband and father. He is thoughtful about things that are bigger than him."

And he is the fourth player to opt out of playing this season. He went public with his decision after Mike Leake, Ryan Zimmerman and Joe Ross announced they would not play this season. 

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