Making Sense of the Delmon Young deal
by Scott Butler 1/23/13

The Phillies finally got the corner outfielder they have been seeking all along...Delmon...Young. Yeah...I guess.

He’s no Josh Hamilton, but at least Delmon Young has done something at the major league level.  He has a career .284 batting average with 89 home runs. He will also be the only corner outfielder on the Phillies roster who has played a full season with at least 450 at-bats.  Hey, when your beer choices are Natty Ice or nothing at all, you take the beer.

Ruben Amaro may have sold his soul a bit to bring in a guy who needs two hands to count all of his on and off the field issues, but he gives the Phillies another option and only costs $750,000 if he stinks.  Albert Pujols makes that much over a two week vacation.

Delmon Young will be Phillies starting rightfielder

The Phillies situation is so dire in the outfield that Young is already slated to be the Phillies starting rightfielder despite making only 29 starts in the outfield last season.  “Ideally, he’d be playing right field every day for us,” Ruben said. “But that’s not etched in stone. That will happen when he shows that he can play every day in right field for us.”  He can show that by putting on his uniform correctly, remembering which dugout is his, and running 100 feet without collapsing.

It might not be quite that simple since he underwent microfracture surgery on his right ankle on Nov. 10.  But Young owns the right field job if and when he is healthy.  Ben Revere is the starting centerfielder, leaving Domonic Brown, Darin Ruf, John Mayberry Jr., and Laynce Nix to fight for the last three outfield slots. 

I almost cringed when I heard Todd Zolecki say this, but I agree that John Mayberry gets one almost by default since he is the only guy who can realistically backup Revere and play center (and by “play center” I mean he can run and hold a glove at the same time). Plus, the Phillies cannot option Mayberry to the minors anymore and he has been decent against lefties. Again, it’s Natty Ice or nothing.   

Nix probably takes another spot because he has a guaranteed contract and offers a left-handed bat coming off the bench.

That leaves Domonic Brown and Darin Ruf to fend for themselves. 

Dom Brown or Darin Ruf?

Popular opinion states that Domonic Brown has the inside edge on that final roster spot and that Darin Ruf needs to prove he belongs, but I am not so sure it is not the other way around.

First of all, both players have options remaining, so either one could be sent to the minors. Secondly, Domonic Brown has had three opportunities to prove he belonged in the majors. He has a career .236 average with 12 home runs in 147 games to show for it. Brown is still just 25, but has he really earned another chance?

Finally, the boss, Charlie Manuel loves the long ball and sure does talk a lot about Darin Ruf. It probably doesn't hurt that Ruf hit 10 bombs in 120 at-bats in the Venezuelan Winter League. I could definitely see Charlie throwing Ruf into the fire to see how he handles it.

In all likelihood, this will come down to a fight in Spring Training. Brown vs. Ruf. The battle begins in just a few weeks.

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