Young got that chance Tuesday, signing a one-year deal with the Philadelphia Phillies worth $750,000 including possible performance bonuses.
The 27-year-old outfielder batted .267 with 27 doubles, 18 homers and 74 RBIs for Detroit last season. He hit .313 with three homers and a team-high nine RBIs during 13 playoff games. The Tigers were swept by San Francisco in the World Series.
Young made $6.75 million last year, but off-field issues cost him a lucrative, multiyear deal. He was suspended without pay for seven days by Major League Baseball after an incident outside a New York City hotel last spring. Young later pleaded guilty to aggravated harassment for shouting an anti-Semitic slur and tackling a man to the ground.
The Phillies are counting on Young to stay out of trouble and provide balance in a lineup that’s filled with left-handed hitters. The team has sought a right-handed corner outfielder with power throughout the offseason. He could fit into the lineup in the No. 5 spot behind Chase Utley and cleanup hitter Ryan Howard.
“Delmon is an experienced major league bat who will add some depth to our relatively inexperienced outfield and another layer of competition for playing time there as well,” general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said in a statement.
Less than a month before the start of spring training, the Phillies were sure of just one starting outfielder. They acquired Ben Revere from Minnesota to be the regular center fielder. Amaro talked about possible platoons for the two other spots.
Darin Ruf, who hit 38 homers at Double-A Reading last year, is competing for playing time in left field. Former top prospect Domonic Brown is in the mix in right field. Laynce Nix and John Mayberry Jr. were mentioned in a left/right platoon.
But if Young ends up starting every day, Ruf and Brown could platoon while Nix and Mayberry come off the bench.
Young started 29 games in left field last season and primarily served as Detroit’s designated hitter. He hasn’t played right field since 2007 when he started 129 games there for Tampa Bay.
Outfield had been a strength for the Phillies during their string of five-straight NL East titles from 2007-11. Philadelphia had five All-Star outfielders in that span, including Aaron Rowand, Jayson Werth, Raul Ibanez, Hunter Pence and Shane Victorino. Additionally, they had slugger Pat Burrell, who never made an All-Star team but averaged 32 homers and 92 RBIs in 2007-08.
Pence and Victorino were traded away last July 31, opening up two holes. Revere and Young could end up filling both spots at significantly less salary. Pence will earn $13.8 million with San Francisco this year. Victorino signed a $39 million, three-year deal with Boston.
Young was Tampa Bay’s first overall pick in the 2003 amateur draft. He has batted .284 with 89 homers and 482 RBIs with Tampa Bay (2006-07), Minnesota (2008-11) and Detroit.
Young’s best season was in 2010 with the Twins. He hit .298 with 21 homers and 112 RBIs and finished 10th in AL MVP voting.
Photo via Facebook/Delmon Young
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