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The price was right for Delmon Young

Jan 22, 2013, 6:05 PM EDT

Delmon Young Reuters

Knowing just how bad defensively Delmon Young is, it’s impossible to wholly endorse the Phillies’ signing today. Still, at some point, he was worth a try. And a one-year, $750,000 deal with $2.75 million in incentives reaches that point.

Of course, Young has now played six full seasons and performed as a quality regular in just one of them. That was 2010, when he hit .298/.333/.493 with 21 homers and 112 RBI for the Twins. For his career, he’s a pedestrian .284/.317/.425 hitter, which, combined with some of the league’s worst outfield defense, has made him a well below average player.

Young, though, does have some offensive upside. And maybe he’ll finally get a clue at the plate now that all 30 teams have essentially agreed he’s one step up from worthless as is. Young is a lifetime .351 hitter when ahead in the count. If he ever learns a little patience at the plate, he’d be dangerous.

And even if he doesn’t, Young will bring a career .336/.356/.488 line in 342 at-bats against National League pitchers with him to Philadelphia. Small sample size that it is, it can hardly be taken as a bad sign.

Given Young’s low base salary and playing-time-related incentives, there will be ample reason to cut him if he struggles early. Still, he’s likely to get at least a month or two in right field before any decisions are made. The addition means John Mayberry Jr., Domonic Brown, Darin Ruf and Laynce Nix will all battle for time in left.

  1. DelawarePhilliesFan - Jan 22, 2013 at 6:39 PM

    Are you trolling Craig? :)

  2. tfbuckfutter - Jan 22, 2013 at 6:41 PM

    It’s fun to joke about him, but that is a pretty reasonable contract.

    I mean, he’s gotta be worth $50,000 more than Bobby Crosby just in Truffle Shuffles alone.

  3. Detroit Michael - Jan 22, 2013 at 6:47 PM

    I’m not sure what offensive upside you are referring to. He can get hot for a series, but he’s been pretty consistent from one year to the next over his career. Young’s career wRC+ is 96 but he’s never had a season lower than 88, which is pretty consistent,

  4. bricktop02 - Jan 22, 2013 at 6:55 PM

    Hunter Pence don’t look that bad now. Not that I like Hunter Pence or anything.

    • paperlions - Jan 23, 2013 at 8:15 AM

      Pence for $13.8M or Young for $0.75M….Young is a better deal for the money, unless Pence really bounces back (and last year wasn’t much worse than he career average if you ignore the 2011 season (which was clearly a production outlier), Young is the better deal. You really wouldn’t want to pencil either of these guys in as an everyday player, both are horrible defenders with declining On-base skills and mediocre power. Ugh.

  5. djm426 - Jan 22, 2013 at 6:59 PM

    Definite upgrade n worth the risk, Mayberry n brown r not major leaguers

    • genericcommenter - Jan 22, 2013 at 9:40 PM

      They’ve already at least equaled this guy at the major league level.

    • tuberippin - Jan 22, 2013 at 10:22 PM

      Hard to make that call considering how often the Phillies jerk Dom Brown around.

  6. greymares - Jan 22, 2013 at 7:03 PM

    4 posted stories on the Phillies signing D.Young, and your not obsessed with the fightins.

    • paperlions - Jan 23, 2013 at 8:20 AM

      First, the posts were not all by the same authors.

      Second, what else was going on yesterday?

      Third, they were all different aspects of the transaction. 1) Rumor, 2) confirmed signing, 3) statement of intended roll by the GM (which directly contradicted what many commenters were saying in previous posts), and 4) that it was actually a good deal for the Phillies as long as they dump the guy if he isn’t producing instead of wasting a roster space and playing time on him.

  7. mpic92 - Jan 22, 2013 at 7:07 PM

    Aside from maybe Darin Ruf, how do you justify Young in RF, where he hasn’t played in years, with far superior options being placed in LF? I’m not saying that Mayberry, and especially Nix and Brown, are top quality defenders, but compared to Delmon… they are!

    • ptfu - Jan 22, 2013 at 7:44 PM

      Thank you. Yes, the problem with Delmon Young (aside from being a rotten human being) is how RAJ wants to use him. If he was only a 4th outfielder/bench/platoon bat, then ok fine whatever (though it’s not like the Phillies were lacking in that department). A few days of Philly trolling and it’s done.

      But Young should not be the everyday starter in RF or anywhere. Especially not when the Phillies already have multiple people with even the slightest chance of being better, plus more long-term upside to boot.

      I’m no Phillies fan, but honestly–to Ruben Amaro Jr: PLAY THE KIDS

  8. cowboysoldiertx - Jan 22, 2013 at 7:42 PM

    Its worth a shot at that price for sure. Maybe he just plays below avg def instead of horrible and he hits like its 2010. Then he would be the signign of the year!

    • rodtorfelson - Jan 22, 2013 at 8:14 PM

      That’s exactly what the Tigers and their fans thought last season when Young was plugged into the starting lineup as the LF.

      I wish he played below average defense. His glove was so bad the Tigers had no choice but to move him to DH. At the plate, his 2010 is an outlier, not the norm. Young he was a lousy DH, hitting .267/.296/.411, which isn’t much lower than his career numbers. Despite having Miguel Cabrera (.393 OBP) and Prince Fielder (.412 OBP) consistently on base in front of him, Young could only drive in 72 runs in 574 ABs.

      Trust me, you’ll rue the day the Phillies signed Delmon Young.

  9. phillyphreak - Jan 22, 2013 at 8:14 PM

    There’s a point at which defensive liability outweighs potential return in “upside.” And it’s just another wedge RAJ inserted into the lineup that will block Brown.

    Using 342 plate appearances against the NL as an encouraging sign is pretty much saying “forget about almost all the other seasons he’s played. I know that’s not what you mean but still.

  10. ezthinking - Jan 22, 2013 at 8:18 PM

    Isn’t the idea to get Brown to shit or get off the pot? Bring in Young to tell Brown, they think his play matches his name.

    The Phills can cut Young, trade him or, if he hits, play him alittle or alot. Remember, there will be more regular DH games this season as well as the fact that Howard can’t touch a lefty.

    It’s a good move by the Phills with zero risk. Best case, Brown hits and Young can bail Howard out against the lefty specialists.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Jan 22, 2013 at 9:43 PM

      Isn’t the idea to get Brown to shit or get off the pot? Bring in Young to tell Brown, they think his play matches his name.

      Maybe give the kid more than 200 PA in a year to determine his value?

  11. historiophiliac - Jan 22, 2013 at 11:40 PM

    So, Doug Fister is worth 5.34 Delmon Youngs.

    • historiophiliac - Jan 22, 2013 at 11:40 PM

      Oops. 5.33

      edit function!

  12. Old Gator - Jan 23, 2013 at 6:52 AM

    If I were a horrible horsemeat and Velveeta™ sandwich and saw this guy coming, I’d roll off the table as fast as I could.

  13. byjiminy - Jan 23, 2013 at 12:42 PM

    The reason fans of any team that has ever included Delmon Young can’t stand him is not that he doesn’t have talent. Quite the opposite. A guy striving to make the most of limited talent can be quite popular, and justafiably so. What makes Delmon Young so unlikeable is that he has talent, but doesn’t maximize it.

    Delmon Young can hit. He just usually doesn’t. One of the main reasons for this is terrible plate discipline. Young swings at 44% of pitches out of the strike zone, even though his contact rate on pitches out of the strike zone is below average. Year after year, he has one of the highest rates of swinging at bad pitches, and not surprisingly, one of the lowest walk rates.

    Even after five years, it is reasonable to say, as Mathew does above, if he would only improve his plate discipline, he could still realize his promise. But what evidence is there that he will ever change his attitude?

    According to all accounts by those with better access than me, he is one of the most uncoachable players I have ever read about. Gardenhire used to cover for him, praising his work ethic, etc. But he finally admitted, Young refused to even work with the team’s hitting coaches. He has always followed his own advisors, be that family members, himself, whatever. And year after year, he has never, ever improved.

    He still has the talent. He just refuses to listen to anyone. That alone might not prove him a jerk — but there’s plenty of evidence of that, too.

    As a platoon hitter against lefties, he has value. But waiting for him to change his personality is a depressing endeavor. Three times have tried that already. To the Phillies, I would just say: Good luck with that.

    • macjacmccoy - Jan 24, 2013 at 4:33 AM

      And lets be honest the Phillies are one of the worst at getting through to their players when it comes to getting them to be more disciplined at the plate. God if Howard, Rollins, and Victorino would have even been a little more disciplined over the last 4 years the Phillies offense would have been a lot better. But not one of them changed anything and the Phillies just gave up trying. And this announcement makes it seem like they are ready to quit on Brown now too.

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