Isn't this a great shot of Delmon Young, the guy the Phillies just signed even though he's bad and blocks a prospect, swinging in the rain? PHOTO: Reuters
As a Mets fan, there isn't a lot for me to be thrilled about. I am pleased that we have probably the best minor league catcher, Travis D'Arnaud, and I am pleased that we have two great young pitchers in Matt Harvey and Zack Wheeler, but thrilled? I was thrilled with R.A. Dickey, but he's gone. I'll be thrilled the next time they challenge for the division but that, barring something freaky, is 2014 earliest. Then, like a late gift from Santa Claus, this:
So, um, why do I care? Well, when your hopes are limited for the Mets being good, it's good to compensate with the Phillies and Yankees being bad. This is the Phillies being bad.
If you squint, there are things to like about Young. He's 27, he still has some power, he had a respectable .267 batting average last year. And that is the full list of his merits. He doesn't walk, he is statuesque in the field and on the basepaths, and his strikeout rate has gone from 13.2% in 2010 to 16.9% in 2011 to 18.4% in 2012. To be as immobile as he is in the field, he would have to be something of an offensive monster, and this is only true if we look at the word root of "monster" which relates to "demonstrate" so a monster is one who demonstrates certain negative qualities. And, now that I think about it, Young has been quite offensive at points in his career, but not in a baseball way.
According to Fangraphs, Delmon Young has been just above or just below "replacement level" (the presumed level of a player available to more or less any team from the minors or free agent scrap heap) every year of his career, except for 2010, when he clawed his way up to average.
He'll be in a good hitters' park, which will reward his power, but there will be nowhere to hide him on defense.
ALSO: He's blocking a once-promising prospect, Domonic Brown. Granted, Brown, once one of the top prospects in all of baseball, has been bad in limited major league appearances, but he at least has some room to grow, and he was only about as bad as, say, Delmon Young. The Phillies, however, seem intent on not ever giving him a real shot, and would rather see if Delmon Young has one more league average season in him.
As a Mets fan, I can't wait.