It wasn’t long ago that Dominic Brown was considered the best prospect in baseball by Baseball America. Now, the Philadelphia Phillies look like they are about to move on from Brown after he has failed to translate his talent into production at the Major League level. The Phillies recently signed Delmon Young to assume the duties in right field leaving Brown to fight for the left field starting spot with John Mayberry, Jr., Laynce Nix, and Darin Ruf.
Brown is still young, he will turn 26 in September of this year and although he hasn’t been able to produce in the Majors he still has a lot of potential. His greatest problem has been dealing with breaking pitches, something that often stymies young, aggressive hitters.
Still, for a team looking for help in the outfield might see Brown as a potential steal considering he is still young and can still live up to his potential. An added bonus is that he might be had on the cheap considering he has posted just a .236/.315/.388 line with 12 home runs, 58 RBIs and has struck out 93 times in 433 at-bats in 147 games across three seasons with the Phillies.
In the minors, Brown was a toolsy outfielder, hitting for average with some power and the ability to steal a bag every now and then. Right now it appears he may never live up to that hype. However, for a team like the New York Yankees he might be worth looking into.
The Yankees have Brett Gardner, Curtis Granderson, and Ichiro Suzuki in the outfield. Ichiro just signed a two-year contract but how much does he have left despite showing a slight resurgence after joining the Yankees last year? He did hit .322/.340/.454 but he is also 39-years-old.
The Yankees don’t really have MLB-ready prospects in the outfield at the moment. Most of their younger outfielders are at least a year or two away as Mason Williams, Tyler Austin, and Slade Heathcott have not played above Single A. Those that are closest to the Majors are Zoilo Almonte and Melky Mesa, who made his debut last season. However, they both have problems making consistent contact and Almonte is slated for AAA.
Adding someone like Brown, assuming it is for a reasonable price, is something the Yankees should look into. Granderson is due to hit free agency after this season, Ichiro will be 40 in 2014, and who knows what Gardner is doing two years from now.
Brown would give the Yankees someone who would be cost effective and could still live up to his potential. Of course, the cost would have to be favorable to the Yankees and the Phillies and that might not be so easy. There is also the quandary of adding yet another left-handed bat to an outfield filled with lefties but free agency and age will thin the herd soon.
If the Phillies won’t play Brown then they might as well trade him and get something in return for him to fill a need somewhere, or to add young talent to a farm system that has been depleted over the years. The questions is, can the Phillies upgrade their ballclub by trading Brown.
The Yankees do have several prospects that could add depth to the Phillies and the Yankees do have some extra pitching they could part with. There is enough there for the two sides to walk away happy. Now, someone just needs to get in touch with Brian Cashman and Ruben Amarao, Jr.