Does anybody like the Phillies bringing in outfielder Delmon Young? It sure does not seem like it. Once again Ruben Amaro is taking a gamble and hoping it pays off in a big way. Nobody seems to be confident it will, and fortunately for the Phillies they are taking that gamble without putting out a lot of money to do so.
The Phillies signed Young at a price tag of $750,000 but incentives could yield up to $3.5 million this year if the move pays off. If Young manages to reach those incentives, this could be a very good year for the Phillies.
Young is 27 but lacks athleticism and mobility. The Phillies want to put him in right field but he is probably better suited for left field. The Phillies outfield situation is far from the days of Jayson Werth and Shane Victorino. With Darrin Ruff, John Mayberry an Domonic Brown all in the mix along with newly acquired Ben Revere and now Young, the outfield will be a complete on-going experiment and adventure in the field and at the plate.
Young's temperamental history should also be a concern, and a reason why he is able to be signed for a small contract.
"I've done some things where there is a reason for it," Young said when meeting with the media Tuesday in Philadelphia. "If I went out there and was an All-Star six years in a row and healthy and a model citizen, that wouldn't have happened. That's where I'm looking to make a change. I made a change last year after the incident. It made me wake up. I've had a full offseason to get healthy and a full offseason to reflect on life and having good people around me. Being a good person, everything good can still happen."
Young is a former number one overall draft pick but his road to the majors was known more for his antics than anything else. Young was suspended twice during his minor league career, including a 50-game suspension for throwing a bat at an umpire in 2006. Of course, Young made a statement saying the bat was not intended to hit the umpire (yeah, OK, sure). Young's hot temperature later landed him a three-game suspension for arguing and bumping in to another umpire while playing double-A baseball.
Since making his major league debut in 2006, Young has played for the Tampa Bay (Devil) Rays, Minnesota Twins, and Detroit Tigers. Last October Young was named ALCS MVP after hitting .353 with a pair of home runs and six RBI in a sweep of the Yankees. The Tigers were swept away by the San Francisco Giants but not without Young continuing to swing a hot bat by hitting .357.
Clearly Amaro is hoping Young continues to hit at that level over a longer period of time. If that turns out to be the case then the Phillies might be able to afford any shortcomings in the outfield. But that should be considered a big "if," as Young has not hit any higher than .274 in the past four seasons.
Young has something to prove it would seem. That can be a good thing for the Phillies, assuming Young can feed off of the pressure of having to prove himself worthy of a more secure and financially rewarding contract. In Amaro's ideal world, his starting pitching staff led by Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels will reduce the need for stellar defense in the outfield, especially in the corners, and Young will provide some protection for Ryan Howard. This idea may not be entirely out of the question, but even the most optimistic Phillies fan needs to see it on the field before buying all in with it.
Is this an ideal world? Nope.