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DENVER — Colorado Rockies general manager Jeff Bridich says he supports Ian Desmond’s decision to sit out the 2020 season to focus on his young family and help rejuvenate youth baseball in his hometown in Florida.

Bridich says he had a pair of recent conversations with the 34-year-old outfielder who announced his decision in a lengthy and heartfelt Instagram post Monday night.

Desmond wrote that the “COVID-19 pandemic has made this baseball season one that is a risk I am not comfortable taking.” The biracial slugger also mentioned a myriad of issues within baseball, including sexism, homophobia and socioeconomic concerns, as well as the racial reckoning that emerged after George Floyd’s death while in police custody in Minneapolis sparked protests around the world.

“The conversations with Ian felt the exact same that his written words feel to me,” Bridich said, “which is from the heart and honest. … I did not know that he was going to write something as thoughtful and as comprehensive as (he did) but I’m not surprised.”

Desmond, who hit .255 with 20 homers in 140 games last season, had been due $5,555,556 for the prorated share of his $15 million salary, part of a $70 million, five-year contract. He is owed $8 million next year, and his deal includes a $15 million team option for 2022 with a $2 million buyout.

Ian Desmond and Jeff BridichGetty Images; AP

Opting out this summer doesn’t affect his 2021 status, nor does it affect his relationship with Bridich.

“Ian is extremely thoughtful in what he does, he’s thoughtful in how he prepares as a professional athlete, he’s thoughtful as a husband and a father … he’s thoughtful about things that are bigger than him,” Bridich said. “And to this point, the reference has been the team or the clubhouse or the locker room, or things that affect the organization, his charity work, passion projects of his outside of the game of baseball.

“He’s willing to devote a lot of time and energy and thought to all of the things that he does. And so when you have somebody like that who is a professional athlete who is in the thick of it every day and trying to do the very best that he can to hold up his end of the bargain as an athlete, a teammate, a performer and then he’s always willing to think about other people on the team, in the organization and outside the organization, it’s easy to gravitate to people like that.”

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Rockies star opts out of season, sheds light on social injustice in MLB Rockies outfielder Ian Desmond used a long, heartfelt Instagram post...

Desmond complained about a lack of diversity in baseball and criticized the clubhouse atmosphere, saying it includes racism, sexism and homophobia. Bridich said Desmond didn’t complain specifically about the Rockies’ clubhouse, but Bridich did acknowledge the organization could be more diverse.

In his Instagram post, Desmond said he has been sharing more of his thoughts and experiences as a biracial man since Floyd’s death on May 25. Floyd, a Black man in handcuffs, died after a white police officer held his knee on Floyd’s neck for nearly eight minutes.

Desmond said his mind started racing during a recent visit to the Sarasota baseball fields that he played on as a kid. He wrote how they looked run down and neglected, and how important youth baseball was for him growing up.

Desmond said he wants to help Sarasota Youth Baseball get back on track.

It’s a big loss for Colorado, who placed Desmond on the restricted list Tuesday and agreed to a minor league deal with Matt Kemp. The veteran slugger owns a .327 batting average with 21 home runs and 77 RBIs over 86 career games at Denver’s downtown ballpark.

“Yeah, we’re well aware of the damage that he’s done against us,” Bridich said.

Kemp, who is expected in Denver by Thursday, will have to earn his way onto the roster, and he’ll benefit from the National League using the designated hitter when pro baseball attempts to start the coronavirus-delayed season in late July.

“The DH is an obvious benefit in terms of his potential place on our major league roster,” Bridich said. “That was going to be the case whether Ian opted in or opted out, and so again, it’s a right-handed power bat. He’s got a sense of the strike zone, we’ve seen it for how many years? And he’s very motivated to get back on the field and continue his career and play well. Whether that’s in the outfield or only at DH, we have to let some weeks pass before we can make any decisions like that.”

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NBA Rumors: Mavericks Could Trade Maxi Kleber, Tim Hardaway, Jalen Brunson Three Draft Picks For Rudy Gobert

With the impressive performance of the young superstar duo of Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis, it’s no longer surprising that the Dallas Mavericks succeeded to surpass the expectations from them in the 2019-20 NBA season. However, as of now, the Mavericks are still not viewed on the same level as other powerhouse teams like the Los Angeles Clippers, Los Angeles Lakers, and the Milwaukee Bucks. In order to have a realistic chance of fully dominating the Western Conference and winning the NBA championship title, the Mavericks should strongly consider adding another superstar to their roster in the 2020 NBA offseason.

One of the NBA superstars who is being frequently linked to the Mavericks is All-Star center Rudy Gobert of the Utah Jazz. According to Andy Bailey of Bleacher Report, the Mavericks could acquire Gobert this fall by offering a trade package that includes Maxi Kleber, Tim Hardaway Jr., Jalen Brunson, a 2020 first-round pick, a 2025 first-round pick, and a 2020 second-round pick to the Jazz.

Some people may think that the Mavericks would be giving up too much for a player of Gobert’s caliber, but Bailey believes that pairing the All-Star center with Doncic and Porzingis in Dallas would help the Mavericks get over the top in the 2020-21 NBA season.

“For Dallas, Gobert’s presence would limit Porzingis’ minutes as a stretch 5, but he would be the best version of the center archetype Rick Carlisle has deployed for years. From Tyson Chandler to Brandan Wright to Dwight Powell, Carlisle has long shown a knack for getting the most out of rim-rollers. Gobert is bigger, more efficient and a perennial Defensive Player of the Year candidate. With the floor spread around a Luka-Gobert pick-and-roll, the All-Star big man would convert loads of lobs. And his presence would instantly raise the defense’s ceiling.”

  Chris Graythen / Getty Images

The potential arrival of Gobert would tremendously improve the Mavericks’ performance on both ends of the floor and would enable them to create their own “Big Three” with Doncic and Porzingis next season. Though he’s yet to unlock his ability to space the floor, Gobert is a very reliable scoring option under the basket, an incredible rebounder, and a quality rim protector.

This season, the 28-year-old French big man is averaging 15.1 points, 13.7 rebounds, and 2.0 blocks on 69.8 percent shooting from the field, per ESPN. If Gobert meshes well with Doncic and Porzingis in Dallas, the Mavericks would have a realistic chance of beating title favorites like the Clippers, Lakers, and the Bucks in a best-of-seven series.

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