Can Young be the right-handed bat Orioles need?

Can Young be the right-handed bat Orioles need?
January 14, 2014, 9:30 am
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(Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports)

In the last four days, the Orioles probable roster for 2014 has become much clearer. It’s not that the signings of Alexi Casilla and Delmon Young will fundamentally change the club, though they could make them better. It’s just that the direction of the club, whether you agree with it or not, is more transparent.

Casilla and Young were both signed to minor league contracts. It’s assumed that both will make the 25-man roster, and room can easily be found on the 40-man roster. For now, there are 39 players on it with Troy Patton on the suspended list.

The 40th spot could be taken when the team does sign another starting pitcher.

Young’s signing came as a surprise. The Orioles could have made a bid for him last winter, but they didn’t. They could have tried to sign him in August, and they didn’t.

He’s had issues with anger in the past, including a nasty incident in New York in 2012 when he uttered anti-Semitic slurs at a panhandler.

Young’s biggest problem on the field is being overaggressive. He strikes out more than four times as often as he walks, and has a .282 lifetime batting average and a .316 on-base percentage.

But, he is capable of power. During that 2012 season, he still managed to hit 18 home runs and 74 RBIs. If he can equal those numbers as the Orioles’ right-handed hitting designated hitter, that would make his signing worthwhile.

According to CBSsports.com, Young will make $1 million if he makes the team and could earn another $750,000 in incentives.

In 21 games in Baltimore, Young has batted .321 with two home runs and 10 RBIs.

He’s played in the postseason the last five years with Minnesota, Detroit and Tampa Bay. Young was the overall No. 1 pick in the 2003 draft, and if he makes the team will be the fourth top selection to play for the Orioles.

Ben McDonald, who was picked by the Orioles in 1989, Harold Baines and B.J. Surhoff are the others.

Young can also play the outfield, but isn’t known for his fielding ability.

The Orioles just hope he can be productively aggressive on the field and mild mannered off it.