The Phillies sign Delmon Young

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My prayers have been answered:

I think this was a masterful move by Ruben Amaro. With Young in the fold, Ryan Howard and Chase Utley will once again — by comparison anyway — look like their former MVP-caliber selves.  And, on a personal note, this is quite the accomplishment for Amaro inasmuch there were probably many people out there doubting that he could find any possible way to continue to block Domonic Brown. Well, Ruben showed them. He showed them good. Next year he’ll block Brown with an inanimate carbon rod.

Seriously, though: Delmon Young is a free agent who hit 22 18 home runs last year yet is making Mark DeRosa money. Heck, he’s making first-year arbitration-eligible player money.  You may beat the “hey, he’s not bad, he hits some homers and bats .270” drum all you like, but Major League Baseball just valued this guy at $750K, and that has to tell you something about what to expect.

UPDATE: For those of you saying that Domonic Brown won’t be blocked or that Delmon will only be a pinch hitter or bat boy or something:

 

Yup.

How Yu Darvish tipped his pitches during the World Series

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You hear a lot about pitchers tipping pitches. It’s often offered up post-facto as an excuse for poor performance by the pitcher himself or his own team. It’s sort of like the “best shape of my life” thing being offered in the offseason to talk about why the player got injured or played badly the previous year. “Smitty’s stuff is still great, he was just tipping his pitches,” said a source close to the player whose stuff is not really great anymore.

Which isn’t to say that pitchers don’t tip pitches. Of course they do. Opposing teams look for it, pick up on it and take advantage of it whenever they can. It’s just that (a) the opposing team has an interest in not talking about it, lest the pitcher STOP tipping its pitches; and (b) the guy actually tipping his pitches doesn’t want to talk specifically about it lest he starts doing it again.

Which is what makes this article at Sports Illustrated so interesting. In it Tom Verducci talks to an anonymous Houston Astros player who explains how Dodgers starter Yu Darvish was tipping his pitches during the World Series, leading to him getting absolutely shellacked in Games 3 and 7. The upshot: the Astros knew when a slider or a cutter was coming, they waited for it and they teed off.

Darvish is a free agent now. I’m guessing, whoever signs him, knows exactly what they’ll gave him work on the first day of spring training.