It's no secret that the Phillies have felt a need for OF depth this offseason. Prior to this afternoon, the team was set to run out some combination of Domonic Brown, Darin Ruf, Laynce Nix, and John Mayberry, Jr on the corners to support new acquisition Ben Revere in center, and there seemed to be unease in the front office over this situation. In the past few weeks, we've heard rumors of trades for Vernon Wells and Alfonso Soriano, been told of the Phillies interest in Scott Hairston, and received reasoned pleas to sign Michael Bourn, all due to the relative inexperience and uncertainty of the outfield. Heck, there were some of us holding out hope for a Justin Upton trade. Well, get excited because the Phillies have solved their OF woes by signing Delmon Young.
Wait, that's...let me check my notes because that can't be...no, no I guess I'm reading this right. The Phillies have signed Delmon Young. Do not adjust your television sets. It is not 2006, nor still is it 2010. It is 2013, and the Phillies have got their RH bat in the form of a hitter who, over his past two full seasons, has amassed a monumental -.3 WAR. Seems legit. If the logic works with Young Michael, then why not with Young Delmon as well?
In all seriousness, there is a bright side here. The Phillies signed young for $750,000 dollars, a piddling amount in baseball terms, and the guy is primed for a potential bounceback year. It is hard to remember, but Young was once a highly touted prospect, and other players with lesser pedigrees have come back from similar seasons as Young's 2012. Plus the guy just flat out mashed in the playoffs, with a 353/421/765 line in the ALCS and a 357/400/643 for the World Series (please avert your eyes from the 235/278/235 line in the ALDS). And as we all know, small sample sizes are totally useful for predicting future performance, and Delmon Young is now Barry Bonds. So, hey, that's good right?
Well, since you asked, there is a steep downside. Young has some power, but his patience leaves a good deal to be desired -- a 4.1% walk rate tells the tale -- and with six stolen bases in his last three seasons, he's not the burner he used to be as a prospect. His defense is also abysmal, and as the Phillies -- last I checked -- were an NL team, there will be DH spot to hide his glove. Add to this that he has a reverse platoon split -- 2011, Young hit 256/288/382 against RHP and 301/388/421 against LHP; in 2012 he hit 247/279/370 against RHP and 308/333/500 against LHP -- and you have a commodity that looks a lot like John Mayberry, Jr. Not exactly the RH bat the Phillies were looking for.
All-in-all, a kind of underwhelming sign, but right in line with this offseason of lowered expectations, but hey, maybe the guy has some gas in the tank. Maybe he's the next Jayson Werth. And maybe he'll be off the team by May. What do you all think?