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Desmond Continuing to Make Rangers Think of '17

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    Ian Desmond #20 of the Texas Rangers reacts to a foul ball against the Seattle Mariners in the bottom of the fifth inning on Opening Day at Globe Life Park in Arlington on April 4, 2016 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

    While sitting out in the left-field restaurant at Globe Life Park on Tuesday night, I found myself wondering something about 2017.

    Will Ian Desmond still be in a Rangers uniform?

    You have to understand, coming into this season, that was nowhere near the Rangers' thought process, but it has to be creeping into their thinking now.

    The Rangers had seven hits on Tuesday, and three of them were from Desmond. He also stole his ninth bag of the year by swiping second before moving to third on a wild pitch only to be stranded.

    Later in the game, the Rangers scratched one more run across in the eighth inning when Desmond was on third base after a Nomar Mazara single. Mazara took off for second with two outs, drawing a throw from the Angels catcher. That immediately send Desmond for home. It didn't count as a steal of home because Mazara was eventually thrown out in a rundown after Desmond crossed home plate, but he essentially stole home, and it was awesome.

    Desmond is on pace to put together MVP-caliber numbers — 25-plus homers, 30-plus steals, 100-plus RBIs and 100-plus runs. Then, he's going to a free agent.

    That's hard to let go of, no matter what the Rangers might have in the pipeline (Lewis Brinson, anyone?). Desmond has gone from a shortstop convert to a questionable outfielder to all the sudden an average outfielder, at worst. In fact, he's more capable in center field than the Rangers' Opening Day starter, Delino DeShields, who's currently in Round Rock.

    Desmond took his one-year, $8 million deal this year to re-establish his value after three straight declining seasons in Washington saw his market this winter go dry. If he continues this pace, he's going to cost a lot, but the Rangers might just fall in love with him enough to make it happen.