When I saw the news blurb this morning that the Phillies were "seriously considering" signing Delmon Young, I did a spit take. While the Phillies situation in their corner outfield spots isn't ideal going into the season, Young would really do nothing to improve their situation. Platoons involving Laynce Nix, John Mayberry Jr, Darin Ruf, and Domonic Brown aren't exactly sexy situations for a fanbase that has enjoyed watching Jayson Werth, Pat Burrell, and Hunter Pence over the last few seasons, but those platoons are sure as hell as better option than Delmon Young.
In case you don't know, Delmon Young really isn't a great baseball player despite his pedigree as a former #1 overall pick and four-time top three prospect in all of baseball. The 27-year old Young spent the last season and a half with the Tigers, and Detroit wisely used him in the field sparingly in 2012 after a horrendous defensive performance in 40 games in 2011. Every defensive metric you can imagine has Young as a brutal defender in the outfield, even with him playing alongside amazing center fielders like Carlos Gomez, Denard Span, and Austin Jackson.
Taking defense out of the equation, which is kind of impossible to do, since the Phillies play in the National League, Young isn't a great hitter either. He's walked 30 times in a season once in his career despite logging four seasons with at least 600 plate appearances. He's had an ISO above .150 just once in his career, which isn't even the median watermark for outfielders over his career. He's also an awful baserunner on top of all of that, as if you needed another reason to run far away from him.
To finish off the list of demerits against Young, he's not exactly a high character guy. He threw his bat at an umpire in AAA. If you want to blame that incident on youthful indiscretion, Young had another brush with the law last April when he drunkenly assaulted a man in New York while shouting racial epithets at him. Yeah, can't blame that one on just being a kid losing your temper.
While Darin Ruf probably won't hit like he did in 2012 in AA Reading in the majors in 2013, there's no reason not to at least give him a shot to win a job in the majors. The same is true for Domonic Brown, a former top prospect that has seen his star lose some luster over the last two years as he's struggled in the majors. But you know what you're getting out of Young: mediocrity. You might get that (or worse) from Ruf and Brown, but you also might have a pair of players on your hands that may actually have a future with the team for years to come. Going with the veteran solely because they have experience in the majors is a ridiculous bit of logic that GMs of every team seem to fall back on way too often these days.
The only way that the Phillies, or any team for that matter, should even consider Young is on a minor league deal. And hell, if you're in the National League, even that might be too much.
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