As the 2012 American League Championship Series MVP, free agent Delmon Young could bring the offensive skills the Rays are looking to acquire this offseason. Young hit .353 with six RBIs and two home runs in the ALCS. Young played 118 games as the Detroit Tigers’ designated hitter in 2012 but also 31 games at left field, which are two positions the Rays are looking to fill. Desmond Jennings currently plays left field, but he could move to center field if the Rays want to use Young in left field. While the Rays may not be able to afford Young, who had a one-year contract with the Detroit Tigers in 2012 worth $6.75 million, it could be nice to see Young back on the Rays’ roster. Young hit .267 with 74 RBIs and 18 home runs in 2012.
The Tampa Bay Devil Rays drafted Delmon Young in the first draft of the 2003 Amateur Draft and made his Major League debut in 2006 with the Devil Rays against the Chicago White Sox. His first Major League hit was a two-run home run off of Chicago’s Freddy Garcia. The Rays could use another bat with that kind of power in their lineup.
Even if the Rays could afford Young, his history of bad behavior on and off the field would be a concern. Three days ago, Young pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges for aggravated assault and sentenced to ten days of community service. In April of 2012, Young was arrested after using an anti-Semitic slur in an altercation with four men outside of the Hilton Hotel in Manhattan, where the Tigers were staying while playing the New York Yankees. Major League Baseball suspended young for a week without pay after his arrest. A rabbi Young met with in Detroit told The Detroit News that Young appeared “remorseful of the way things played out in regard to the incident, in terms of the impact on the team, the fans, the Jewish community, and the community at-large.”
However, this is not the first time Young’s behavior has been an issue. While playing for the Rays’ Triple-A team, the Durham Bulls, Young threw a bat at an umpire after being ejected for arguing about the umpire’s call. Young was suspended for fifty games without pay and chose not to appeal the suspension. The previous year Young had another altercation with an umpire, who he bumped, while playing for the Double-A Montgomery Biscuits and was suspended for three games.
While the Rays continue to look for players who can augment their offense, Young has the potential to fulfill the role as designated hitter. It would be great to see Young’s hitting skills support the Rays’ pitching staff again, instead of hitting against them.