Saturday, January 26, 2013

Delmon Young says he is ready for a fresh start with Phillies

By PATRICK GORDON | Managing Editor
@Philabaseball

Delmon Young never has been one to shy away from conflict but after having bounced around with three teams over the span of six years he admits the time for change is now.

"You live and learn, but I know I have to put myself in better situations," Young said on Thursday. "Now, it's just about getting that red hat into the World Series."

The 27-year-old outfielder agreed to a one-year deal with the Phillies for $750,000. The deal can reach $3.5 million with roster and performance incentives. 

Delmon YoungA prized prospect out of high school, Young was selected with the No. 1 pick in the 2003 Amateur Draft by the Tampa Bay Rays but  has bounced around since, making stops in Minnesota and Detroit.

He has battled anger issues and been suspended three times, the most recent coming last April following an arrest in New York for aggravated assault. Young pleaded guilty to the charge in November and was ordered by Major League Baseball to complete anger management and alcohol counseling. He also was required to complete 10 days of community service which he finished before coming to Philadelphia for his physical earlier this week.

"I made a change last year after the incident," Young said. "It made me wake up. I've had a full offseason to get healthy and a full offseason to reflect on life and having good people around me. Being a good person, everything good can still happen." 

Young hit .267 with 27 doubles, 18 home runs and 74 RBIs in 151 games last season with the Tigers. He also collected the American League Championship MVP award with a stellar postseason performance. His best season came while he was with the Twins in 2010, hitting .298 with 21 home runs and 112 RBIs.

Young made nearly $7 million with Detroit last season, so he knows his lack of suitors stems from his sideshow antics on and off the field.

"I've done some things where there is a reason for it," Young said. "If I went out there and was an All-Star six years in a row and healthy and a model citizen, that wouldn't have happened. That's where I'm looking to make a change."

Ruben Amaro Jr. said he spoke to several people before signing Young. 

"The conclusion we came up with is he made a mistake and has learned from it," Amaro said. "We want good character guys in the clubhouse and we believe he is one. He's motivated and has the tools to do what we need him to do."

Young is recovering from microfracture surgery on his right ankle so his status for Opening Day is questionable, but Amaro believes he has the potential to be the Phillies' right fielder when healthy. The two major concerns though are his defense and patience at the plate. 

"Sure, there is some risk here, but we think it's a low-risk, high-reward move because the guy can hit," Amaro said.

- Patrick Gordon is the editor of the Philadelphia Baseball Review. Contact him at pgordon@philadelphiabaseballreview.com or @Philabaseball on Twitter.   

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