Good night, sweet prince.
They signed him to an incentive-laden deal, paid him to lose weight, waited for him to recover from ankle surgery, and then handed him the starting job in right field. And now the Phillies have designated Delmon Young for assignment after he hit .261 with eight homers and a .699 OPS in 80 games while playing his usual awful defense.
Young is still just 27 years old, but he’s been an above-average hitter for a corner outfielder exactly once in seven full seasons and is bad enough defensively that his best position is designated hitter. And since a supposed “breakout” season with the Twins in 2010 he’s hit a combined .266 with a .299 on-base percentage and .402 slugging percentage in 355 games, striking out 266 times compared to 57 walks in 1,402 plate appearances.
While in Philadelphia for the SABR convention last week I went to Friday night’s Phillies-Braves game and saw Young go 3-for-4 with a homer that landed about 10 feet from my spot in right field. He then went 1-for-15 with eight strikeouts in his next five games, which means I can officially say that I was there for Young’s last homer with the Phillies. Some things are just meant to be.
Jake Arrieta‘s bat is in midseason form already. The Cubs’ ace swatted a solo home run to center field off of Zack Greinke in Thursday afternoon’s Grapefruit League exhibition game, his first homer of the spring.
The blast went 465 feet, according to MLB.com’s Daren Willman.
Arrieta has hit two home runs in each of the past two seasons. Madison Bumgarner (eight) and Noah Syndergaard (four) are the only other pitchers to match or exceed his output in that department.
Greinke, meanwhile, is hoping to bounce back after a miserable 2016 season. He finished with an uncharacteristic 4.37 ERA in 26 starts in his first year with the Diamondbacks.
Angels first baseman Luis Valbuena will miss the next four to six weeks with a strained right hamstring, Pedro Moura of the Los Angeles Times reports.
Valbuena, 31, signed a two-year, $15 million contract with the Angels in January and was on track to get the lion’s share of the playing time at first base. While he’s out, however, C.J. Cron will handle first base on a regular basis. When Valbeuna returns, the two will likely form a platoon.
Last year with the Astros, Valbuena hit a solid .260/.357/.459 with 13 home runs and 40 RBI in 342 plate appearances.