The Orioles have agreed to a one-year, $2.25MM deal with free agent outfielder Delmon Young, Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com reports (links to Twitter). Young can earn up to $750K more through incentives. The deal is dependent upon a physical, which will not take place until the new year.
Young, still a relatively youthful 29, enjoyed something of a renaissance last year in Baltimore. Splitting his time as a part-time DH and reserve outfielder, the one-time top prospect slashed .302/.337/.442 with seven home runs over 255 plate appearances.
Of course, it remains to be seen whether he can carry that performance forward. At least some skepticism is suggested by the fact that Young rode a .359 BABIP. And the Steamer projection system expects him to drop back to being a league-average bat.
Several other factors warrant mention as well. Somewhat curiously, despite strong career platoon splits (.091 OPS), Young actually posted much stronger numbers against righties last year. In fact, he was better across the board, with greater power and OBP when facing same-handed pitching. And then there is defense, where Young continues to rate rather poorly.
On the whole, though, the O’s are taking on very limited risk given the contract’s duration and value. With left-handed platoon mates already on board — and more potentially coming — Young can be deployed strategically to maximize his value.