Delmon Young hasn't played with Tampa Bay since they were the Devil Rays in 2007, but if a source belonging to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports has it right as usual, he is returning to his first stop in Major League Baseball.
In a reminder of how ugly their uniforms used to be, the Rays on Thursday reportedly have signed Young, who was the No. 1 overall pick in the MLB draft in 2003. He had a devilish time with them, too, getting suspended in the minors for throwing a bat at an umpire, and spending only one full season — 2007 — in the majors before moving on.
It's a minor-league deal, reports Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times, and Young will need to work on some things at Class AA Montgomery (Ala.) before getting promoted.
Oh, and the Rays also claimed outfielder David DeJesus off waivers from the Washington Nationals.
The Nats seemingly took a mistaken gamble that the Chicago Cubs would pull back DeJesus after they put him on waivers this past week. The waiver rules can be tricky and treacherous, and the Nats appeared to be stuck with a player they didn't really need when the Cubs let DeJesus go. Nats have a short period of time to either work out compensation with the Rays, let the Rays have DeJesus, or to decide to keep him after all and pay whatever salary/2014 buyout is owed.
Here's a good primer on the DeJesus situation.
As for Delmon, the blog Rays Index speculates that he'll be a right-handed DH down the stretch. Young's career numbers against left-handed pitching — .306/.343/.477 with 35 home runs and 66 doubles in 1,118 plate appearances — indicate he'd be up for it. With the Phillies this season, Young hit .261 with a .699 OPS in 291 plate appearances. He added eight home runs, 69 strikeouts and 14 walks. Knowing the strike zone, or not knowing it well, always has hindered Young. He's still just 27 years old, though.
After being traded to the Twins before the 2008 season in the Matt Garza deal, he enjoyed some success with them, mostly in 2010, when he slugged .493 overall — impressive, given he played half of his game at pitcher-friendly Target Field. He moved on from there in 2011 to the Detroit Tigers, for whom he had a nice run in the ALCS and World Series, but he was back to below average in 2012.
Of course, his '12 season was marked by a one-week suspension by MLB for making anti-Semitic slurs at a man while drunk. It's been hard for him to live down that, along with incident with the umpire. Oh, well. You reap what you sew sometimes.
Young had an odd tenure with the Phillies, which began with him acting not-all-that-eager to return to the field after an injury. He played marginally well at times but, as the numbers show, he was replaceable.
DeJesus batted .250/.330/.401 for the Cubs in 318 plate appearances — with a good reputation on defense that probably is starting to decline. He would figure to take playing time from Sam Fuld.
DeJesus told MASN that he can be happy anywhere:
"It's one of those things that you never really expect when you're a player," DeJesus said. "You expect that you're just gonna be on your team for the full season, but it's part of the game. Many guys have gone through this, so I'm just gonna focus on the game and when I hear from my agent, if he lets me know I'm on another team, then we'll go from there."
Wherever that might be.