The Orioles just weren’t that into Delmon Young. Nor was anyone else.
On Tuesday, the Philadelphia Phillies signed Young to a one-year, $750,000 contract with lots of incentives. It’s not often that a 27-year-old who averages 89 RBIs and has a lifetime batting average of .284 can be signed that cheaply.
Young has a few issues. He had right ankle surgery that depressed his market and may prevent him from starting the season.
He struck out 112 times last year and walked just 20. These days, the Orioles and other teams are looking for someone a little more patient.
Then, there are the anger issues. The latest was last season when a drunken Young spewed anti-Semitic epithets and threatened tourists outside a New York hotel, resulting in his arrest.
The Detroit Tigers, Young’s team last season, showed no interest in signing him despite having a stellar postseason, and his name was conspicuously absent in the off-season chatter.
Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro said he consulted with Philadelphia rabbis before signing Young, who was sentenced to community service for his crime. He fulfilled it by helping clean a park.
In the past, the Orioles might have jumped at a player with Young’s track record and played down his off-field problems. With these Orioles, fitting into their culture is very important, and Young would have been high maintenance.
Young wasn’t worth the risk even at a bargain price.