As soon as the Phillies released Delmon Young last week there was speculation that the Rays might be interested in reuniting with their one-time top prospect and sure enough Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reports that the two sides have agreed to a deal.
According to Rosenthal it’s a minor-league contract and Young will head to Double-A, presumably with an eye toward getting a September call-up once rosters expand. He’s still being paid by the Phillies, so the Rays got Young for basically nothing.
As an everyday player Young is a mess, dragging a team down offensively and defensively, but as a cheap part-timer used mostly as a designated hitter versus left-handed pitching he can still be somewhat useful. For his career Young has hit .306 with an .820 OPS versus lefties, which is more than 100 points higher than his OPS versus righties, and it’s hard to imagine the always defense-driven Rays being willing to watch him stumble around in the outfield.
Tampa Bay drafted Young first overall out of high school in 2003 and he played one-and-a-half seasons with the Rays before they traded him to the Twins for a package that included Matt Garza. Six hugely disappointing years later he returns to Tampa Bay not as a highly paid star, but as someone trying to save his career with a low-paid bench gig.
Last time Young played for Double-A Montgomery in the Rays’ farm system? Back in 2005, when he was 19 years old and hit .336 with 20 homers in 84 games. The next spring Baseball America named him the No. 1 prospect in all of baseball.
Free agent outfielder/slugger J.D. Martinez is reportedly seeking an outfield gig, says Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald. According to Silverman’s sources, Martinez’s suitors have been informed that the veteran slugger would give preference to teams that can offer a corner outfield spot, rather than a DH-only role.
That could spell trouble for the Red Sox, who appear to be Martinez’s biggest suitors so far this offseason. Outfielders Mookie Betts and Andrew Benintendi are firmly established at the corners, and prior reports from club president Dave Dombrowski suggest that center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. is not going anywhere anytime soon (thereby eliminating the possibility of reshuffling the outfield). The DH spot is still wide open for Martinez, who doesn’t seem to be totally closed off to the idea, but any full-time or part-time role on the field is likely off the table at this point.
Of course, the Red Sox aren’t the only ones pursuing Martinez’s services this winter. The 30-year-old slugger has been linked to both the Diamondbacks and Giants in weeks past, and while they have the roster flexibility to accommodate his preferences, they’ll need to clear another massive hurdle: the seven-year, $250 million contract he’s said to be seeking. Both clubs will need to get creative to make such a deal work. The Diamondbacks are rumored to be shopping right-hander Zack Greinke in an attempt to free up some room on their payroll for Martinez, while the Giants appear more inclined to scour the trade market for outfield help than shell out cash for another hefty contract in free agency.