Delmon Young Signs One-Year, $750,000 Deal
But this one comes with baggage.
On Tuesday the Phillies and Delmon Young agreed to a one-year, $750,000 contract. The signing screams low-risk, high-reward for the Phillies. Young, who is just 27, earned 2012 American League Championship Series MVP honors with the Detroit Tigers and hit .267 with 18 home runs and 74 RBIs in the regular season. He also had a career-high 112 RBIs in 2010 with the Minnesota Twins and has a career .824 OPS against left-handed pitchers.
But Young also has battled consistency issues on the field with several notable off-the-field problems, including an April arrest in New York on a second-degree aggravated harassment charge. Police said an intoxicated Young hurled anti-Semitic slurs at four men, and Major League Baseball suspended him seven days as a result. But the Phillies are comfortable with the risks, especially considering they have just a one-year commitment to him.
If Young plays well, the Phillies could have a productive corner outfielder at a remarkable bargain. The Phillies had been looking at Scott Hairston as a possible corner outfielder, for example, but he has been seeking a two-year, $8 million deal.
If he causes problems, well, the Phillies always can cut him loose without taking a significant payroll hit.
The Phillies have been looking for a corner outfielder since the beginning of the offseason. But how much outfield can Young play? And how effectively? He played just 31 games in the outfield last season, playing 113 games as Detroit’s designated hitter.
Young has had conditioning issues in the past, and last season he played with bone spurs in his ankle. He had surgery to remove the spurs in November, but is expected to be ready for Spring Training.
Young’s arrival creates an interesting outfield situation for the Phillies. Ben Revere will be the team’s everyday centerfielder. Young presumably will take one of the corner outfield spots, potentially as an everyday player. That could mean Domonic Brown and John Mayberry Jr. sharing time in the other corner spot with Laynce Nix a reserve and Darin Ruf possibly opening the season with Triple-A Lehigh Valley for more seasoning.
Can Young keep his head on straight in Philadelphia?
He was suspended twice in his Minor League career. He was suspended three games in 2005 for making contact with an umpire and 50 games in 2006 for flinging a bat at an umpire.
He has a troubled past, but he has loads of talent. The Phillies believe it’s worth a shot.