The decision that cost baseballer Ian Desmond $151m

Ian Desmond has may be made the biggest blunder in sport. Photo / Getty Images
Ian Desmond has may be made the biggest blunder in sport. Photo / Getty Images

Is this the biggest blunder in modern day sport?

Two years ago, American baseballer Ian Desmond turned down a reported seven-year, $US107 million ($NZ161.8 million) extension from MLB side the Washington Nationals.

Instead he decided to "bet on himself" by playing two years and hoping to cash in even more in his 2016 free agency.

But after a horrendous contract year where critics say "he folded under the pressure", Desmond turned down a qualifying offer from the Nationals for a little under $US16 million ($NZ24 million).

After all that, Desmond waited month after month for a free agent deal, whereupon it became clearer and clearer that his payday wasn't going to come and he'd probably have to sign a one-year deal to get back in the good graces of the free agency gods.

But no one was prepared for the one-year, $US8 million ($NZ12.1 million) deal he signed with the Texas Rangers this weekend.

It is a tiny contract for a player who won multiple Silver Slugger Awards and averaged a Wins Above Replacement (WAR) of 4.4 in the three years before 2015.

Even worse, the Rangers are moving Desmond to left field, where his value is immediately undercut.

So, to sum up: Ian Desmond basically lost nine figures - $NZ151.7 million - betting on himself.

Now he is searching for the positives.

"This is a new chapter," Desmond was quoted as saying by the Dallas Morning News.
"I'm going to embrace the challenge."

Former Washington Nationals general manager Jim Bowden said on MLB Network Radio he'd "never seen a worse contract for a player".

"That's a shocking number," Bowden said.

"What a great job by (Texas Rangers general manager) Jon Daniels to hang around long enough to get Desmond for one year at eight.

"So he went from 107 million to losing 99 million over the last 12 months? You want to talk about a humbling sport?"

Perhaps Desmond turned down the offer because he'd seen the astronomical figures earnt by former Colorado Rockies player Troy Tulowitzki ($NZ242.7 million) and Texas' Elvis Andrus ($NZ182 million) in their new contract dealings at the time, and he thought he could match that.

But the 30-year-old's biggest problem was that instead of maintaining his impeccable standard, he only got worse.

- NZ Herald

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