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Reunited: Delmon Young signs with the Rays

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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.

Orioles plotting late-offseason push? Gallardo, Fowler, Alvarez, Bruce in consideration

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Baltimore’s front office appears to be lining up a run of potential roster additions leading into the beginning of spring training.

We’ve already passed along the reports suggesting they are close to a three-year deal with free agent starter Yovani Gallardo, but now FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal adds that free agent outfielder Dexter Fowler could be next on the Orioles’ target list. It they get those two deals done, the O’s could then chase free agent slugger Pedro Alvarez.

Rosenthal says the Orioles are even eyeing Jay Bruce of the Reds, though the FOX reporter hears the O’s might not have the prospects to pull off that kind of trade.

The focus for the Orioles out of the gate this winter was re-signing Matt Wieters and Chris Davis. Wieters accepted his one-year, $15.8 million qualifying offer in November and Davis was locked up to a seven-year, $161 million contract in mid-January.

Now the O’s are spending a little leftover cash on late-offseason additions to improve their position in what should be a tight 2016 American League East race.

Brandon Belt signs $6.2 million deal, avoiding arbitration with Giants

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In a last-second compromise before a scheduled heading today, first baseman Brandon Belt and the Giants have avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year, $6.2 million deal.

Belt requested $7.5 million and the Giants countered at $5.3 million, so they’ve settled slightly on the team-friendly side of the midpoint. Belt will be arbitration eligible again next season for the final time before hitting the open market as a free agent.

He’s coming off a very good season in which he hit .280 with 18 homers and an .834 OPS in 137 games and Belt has a lifetime .803 OPS through age 27, making him one of MLB’s most underrated all-around first baseman.

Orioles sign ex-Padres reliever Dale Thayer

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Right-hander Dale Thayer and the Orioles have agreed to a minor-league contract that includes an invitation to spring training.

Thayer had a rough 2015 season for the Padres, posting a 4.06 ERA and spending time in the minors, but he was a solid part of San Diego’s bullpen from 2012-2014 with a combined 3.02 ERA and 173/50 K/BB ratio in 188 innings.

At age 35 there’s no guarantee that Thayer will look good enough to claim a spot on the Opening Day roster, but he’s got a strong chance to wind up pitching middle relief for Baltimore.

Phillies acquire Taylor Featherston from Angels

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Taylor Featherston, who was designated for assignment by the Angels last week, has been traded to the Phillies for a player to be named later or cash.

Featherston stayed in the majors with the Angels for all of last season due to being a Rule 5 pick from the Rockies organization, but the 25-year-old infielder hit just .162 in 169 plate appearances.

He’s been much better in the minors, but nothing about his track record there screams quality regular and the Phillies are likely viewing him as a defense-first bench option for now.