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.
Blue Jays closer Ken Giles hasn’t exactly turned things around since joining the Blue Jays on July 31, when the club sent embattled closer Roberto Osuna to the Astros. Giles posted a 4.99 ERA in 30 2/3 innings with the Astros, then put up a slightly less miserable 4.58 ERA in 17 2/3 innings with the Jays. Still, he’s much happier with the Jays than he was with the Astros, even after winning the World Series with them last year. He said to Rosie DiManno of the Toronto Star, “I’m actually enjoying the game more than I did for my entire tenure in Houston. It’s kind of weird to say that because I won a World Series with that team. But it’s like, I just felt trapped there. I didn’t feel like myself there. Overall, I felt out of place.”
Giles also said “the communication was lost” with the Astros and it was something that came easy with the Jays. He said, “When I came here, they stayed patient with me. I said hey, I want to work on this thing till I’m comfortable. All right. OK, I’m comfortable, let’s move on to this next thing. Pitching, you can’t just try to fix everything at once. For me, I had to take baby steps to get my groove back. The Jays allowed me to do that. Yeah, the team was out of contention, but it doesn’t matter. It’s still my career. I still have to prove myself. Them being so patient with me, understanding what I want to do, was very, very big.”
Giles, 28, has two more years of arbitration eligibility remaining. He has shown promise despite his overall mediocre numbers. In non-save situations this season (with both the Astros and Jays), he has a 9.12 ERA. But in save situations, his ERA is a pristine 0.38. Giles could be a closer the Jays find themselves leaning on as they attempt to get back into competitive shape. Since it sounds like Giles is quite enamored with Toronto and with the Blue Jays, a discussion about a contract extension certainly could be had.