The Philadelphia Phillies had approximately $10 million of payroll space available and a perceived need for outfield depth, which is why they signed Detroit Tigers‘ free agent designated hitter/outfielder Delmon Young to a one-year contract worth $750,000, plus performance bonuses. Considering all known options, taking a chance on this player is understandable.
The 27-year-old, seven-year veteran primarily served as a designated hitter (118 games) for Jim Leyland last season. Even though he only played 31 games in left field in 2012, Young has appeared in 544 total games at that outfield spot in his career. However, he is expected to be given a shot in right field this spring.
Young should fit well in Charlie Manuel’s lineup, because he has some pop in his right-handed bat. He hit 18 home runs last season and had a career-high of 21 round-trippers for the Minnesota Twins in 2010.
Just one point of historical comparison shows that Pat Burrell had a .975 career fielding percentage through 1,327 games in left field. Young has a .974 career fielding percentage as a major league left fielder and a .985 career fielding percentage through 163 games in right field.
This move indicates that general manager Ruben Amaro, Jr. apparently doesn’t want to bet too heavily on Darin Ruf this season. While the 26-year-old converted left-fielder hit over 50 combined home runs in Double-A, the major leagues and the Venezuelan League last season, Triple-A seasoning wouldn’t hamper his progress. If “Babe Ruf” wasn’t a one-year wonder, he will make the 25-man roster and play in left field with Laynce Nix.
Young seems to offer an inexpensive option this season. Depending upon his performance, he will at least platoon in one of the corner outfield spots.