Tick-tock for Delmon Young
by Scott Butler 6/8/13

Don’t get too fond of Delmon Young because he might not be around much longer.  If you don't remember, Delmon Young has a strange, hugely incentive laden contract and, as SB Nation pointed out, his contract might encourage the Phillies to cut ties by the all-star break.

Before we even get to the money, Delmon Young's play on the field might be enough on its own to warrant a trip off the roster - Young is hitting .241 with a .300 OBP and 6 HR.  His opposite field home runs show off his power, but it does not offset an abysmal rate of reaching base.

His lack of mobility in the outfield also makes him a liability defensively. Young has a fielding radius of about two feet and treats us to wonderful stutter-steps as he approaches ground balls. You might recall Pat Burrell sprinting after balls like a newborn calf, but he could run backwards and still beat Delmon Young in a foot race.  

Slight power, a low on-base percentage, and poor defense is not a good combination. If the Phillies had options left on Young, he might be in Lehigh Valley already.  But Young’s contract is such that they can’t send him down and will continue to pay him more and more by the day.

The Phillies have already committed a minimum of $1 million to Young ($750,000 signing bonus and $250,000 roster bonus). He also has six weight bonuses of $100,000 each and makes an extra $100,000 when he reaches 40, 80, 120, and 160 days on the active roster. He also has $1.5 million in performance bonuses based on number of plate appearances ($150,000 each for 250, 300, 350, and 400 PA's; $200,000 for 450 and 500 PA's; and $250,000 for 550 and 600).

Today marks the 40th day on the roster for D-Young, meaning another $100,000 in his pocket. He will make his next roster bonus on July 18th when he reaches 80 days and another $150,000 around July 21st when he reaches 250 plate appearances (a rough estimate based on 3.6 PA's per game), which is in addition to the $100k - $600k in weight bonuses. That means the Phillies have until right around the all-star break (July 15-18) to decide whether he is worth the extra $350,000.

That is why, I can’t believe I’m saying this, John Mayberry is a better option than Delmon Young.  Right now he is a better hitter and a far superior defender. And since 2011 Mayberry has comparable numbers to Young. Here is how they compare since 2011:

Young and Mayberry Since 2011
Young 308 1231 1155 120 36 152 51 224 .264 .299 .407 .706
Mayberry 306 917 840 111 33 110 70 199 .272 .318 .443 .761

Don't let Maybuggles fool you again that he is the next Jayson Werth, but he is a much better investment than D-Young. But by keeping Young on the roster today, the Phillies bought themselves at least a month before they need to make that decision. Unless Young shows noticeable improvement by the all-star break, I find it unlikely that he will remain on the roster.

Things could get interesting around the all-star break as the Phillies ponder whether or not to keep Delmon Young and who will replace him. There is much more than a few hundred thousand dollars involved in that decision. The Phils have several questions to answer at that juncture: How is Mayberry playing? Is Ben Revere still the starting center fielder? Is Darin Ruf ready? And, of course, are the Phillies buyers or sellers?

Delmon Young's existence on the active roster today quells any major controversies, but it things will undoubtedly heat up in the next 40 days.

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