I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed:
And on the pedestal these words appear:
"My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!"
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away
Percy Bysshe Shelley, "On Delmon Young Arriving in Philadelphia"
Multiple sources are reporting it, so it's high time we fessed up to it here at The Good Phight -- Delmon Young has been reinstated from the Disabled List and is, ostensibly, horrifically, starting at Designated Hitter tonight. Former person I wrote about Ezequiel Carrera has been designated for assignment. As Jim Salisbury so delightfully put it:
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p>I am hearing that Delmon Young is on his way to Cleveland.Don't think he is headed to Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.<a href="https://twitter.com/search/%23Phillies">#Phillies</a></p>— Jim Salisbury (@JSalisburyCSN) <a href="https://twitter.com/JSalisburyCSN/status/329275065587875840">April 30, 2013</a></blockquote>
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There's a lot to dislike here, but let's not take it as gospel that the general fandom agrees with the mostly dim view that we at TGP have taken of the Delmon Young signing and activation. Indeed, while I'd recommend a twitter search for some laffs about the general topic, I'd also suggest it if only to see how truly split the fanbase is on this move. The more metric-driven among us see a lumbering monster in right field, fit for nothing but joke punchlines; the more traditional see a middle of the order power hitter coming to the lineup at just the nick of time. Which is the better positions?
I imagine my very subtle introduction to this piece has not tipped my hand to any but the most incisive and brilliant of our readership, so let me be clear: I'm not thrilled. But there is an argument to be made concerning Young's inclusion on the Phillies. This spring, we went over the fact that he's a former top prospect, only 27 years old, and potentially coming into his prime years on a league minimum salary. And indeed, he's not a total stiff at the plate -- last year, he batted .267 with 18 home runs and 74 RBI. For an offense starved team, he might provide some real power potential.
Sadly, that's about all he'll provide, as a turn from the stone aged batting average to the bronze aged On Base Percentage and Slugging Percentage tells a far less optimistic story. Last year, Young got on base at a .296 clip -- walking only 20 times, good for 3.3 percent of his plate appearances -- with a .411 slugging percentage belying the inconsistent hitting behind his power; for his career, Young has a 284/313/425 slash. Empty average y'all -- it's the Phillies Way (TM). Furthermore, we might all feel vaguely icky today, as Young was arrested last season for drunken, anti-Semitic disturbance of the peace in New York. So, as one twitterer pointed out, as the Red Sox offer Jason Collins -- first openly gay man in professional sports -- the opportunity to throw the first pitch, the Phillies call up noted lunkhead D. Young. Drag.
Understand, this doesn't make the Phillies that much worse, nor does it make anyone terrible anti-Semites for rooting for them. But it marks a fairly myopic moment in the 2013 season, a valediction of Ruben Amaro, Jr's famous anti-walk stance, at least in terms of roster construction, and a sad end to the fairly uneven NixBerry experiment. For me, the really sad part about all of this is that Young's inclusion makes the Phillies less fun for me to watch. The treacly tang of sluggish, bad baseball is in the air. Let's hope the Phils prove me wrong.