Sources: Phillies seriously considering signing Delmon Young

Sources: Phillies seriously considering signing Delmon Young
January 22, 2013, 3:10 pm
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Three weeks before the start of spring training, Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. continues to look to add a corner outfielder to his team.

I think we can get one before spring training, Amaro said. We hope to do it.

Sources tell CSNPhilly.com that the Phils are seriously considering signing free-agent Delmon Young.

Amaro, who typically keeps matters of free-agency close to his vest, did not deny that.

Weve kicked around a lot of stuff, he said. Hes among them.

Asked if hed spoken with Youngs representatives, Amaro said: Weve talked to everybody, everybody who is still out there, the whole gamut.

Young was a brilliant right-handed hitting prospect when he was selected first overall in the 2003 draft by Tampa Bay. He finished second in American League rookie of the year voting in 2007 and drove in 112 runs for Minnesota in 2010. Despite those high points, Youngs career has been marred by inconsistency on the field and controversy off it.

In April 2012, an intoxicated Young was arrested after shouting anti-Semitic slurs outside of a New York hotel. Major League Baseball suspended Young, then with the Detroit Tigers, for seven days. The player apologized for the incident and completed a counseling and community service program. He returned to the Tigers and hit .267 with 18 homers and 74 RBIs in 151 games. He was a postseason standout, hitting .359 (11 for 31) with three homers and seven RBIs in the ALCS and World Series.

Amaro would not discuss Youngs off-field history in specifics. He did discuss in general the idea of pursuing players who have baggage.

We have to keep our minds open on everything, Amaro said. Of course I have reservations about guys who have had some issues. But weve got to keep our minds open also.

In addition to Young, the Phillies have considered free agent Scott Hairston. They have talked about trading for Vernon Wells.

Amaro said the Phillies have to be cognizant of their payroll while looking for late-winter roster tweaks.

Were looking for low-risk, high-reward guys if we can, he said.

Young seems to fit that description. At this late stage of the winter, he probably would not require a big-money contract. At 27, he is still an extremely talented hitter and could be entering his prime years.

One downside on Young is that he was mostly a designated hitter last season. He started just 29 games in left field for Detroit. Youngs physical conditioning was questioned in some quarters last season, but he did play with bone spurs in his ankle. That problem was addressed with surgery in November and Young is expected to be ready for spring training.

The Phillies currently have four players Darin Ruf, John Mayberry Jr., Domonic Brown and Laynce Nix -- vying for two corner outfield jobs. Amaro is not necessarily looking to add an everyday player to the mix. A player like Young could come in as a complement to the existing group and earn more regular playing time if his bat and defense merit.

Young has some familiarity with Phillies personnel. Steve Henderson, the Phils new hitting coach, was Youngs hitting coach in Tampa Bay.

The Rays have been mentioned as another club that is pursuing Young as a designated hitter.

E-mail Jim Salisbury at jsalisbury@comcastsportsnet.com.

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