Baltimore Orioles: Young man’s game
Admittedly this was the title I was planning on using the day after game two of the ALDS when Delmon Young hit a three-RBI double in the eighth to win the game. But if you go back into the archives of this column, you’ll see that I settled on Forever Young. Nevertheless, Young and his clutch bat are back in town for another go-around with the Baltimore Orioles as of Christmas Eve.
Many will be critical of the fact that the Birds seemingly had space for Young, but not Nick Markakis and Nelson Cruz. The fact is that one year of Young might be a better deal than four years of Markakis (at this point), who still might not be ready for Opening Day (although his neck surgery was deemed a success and his doctors believe he’ll be ready to start baseball activities in mid-February).
Courtesy of Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports
But ultimately Markakis is not a part of the Orioles’ near-future; Young is. I suspect we’ll see Young and his career .283 average more so as a DH, leaving RF perhaps to Steve Pearce. This of course is how things stand now. We never know if Dan Duquette might look to swing a trade or perhaps sign another veteran outfielder. Duquette doesn’t really start earning his keep until February or March – all fans should keep that in mind.
One thing that’s similar to Markakis in Young is that he does well in the clutch. Orioles fans need only to look back to the aforeentioned ALDS game two in order to remember that. However he’s made a career out of that type of mojo – ask Detroit fans. He’s not the Gold Glover that Markakis is, however he’s a career .978 fielder in right – and in 28 games there with the Orioles last year he fielded 1.000.
Young played an important role in last year’s team, and this year will probably be no different. He’ll have a different role for sure (more playing time), but his role will still be important. However if the Orioles go into the season with Alejandro De Aza, Pearce, and Young as their starting corner outfielders/DH, they’ll need to also look at getting some bench depth. Pearce and Young were that depth last season, however Orioles fans also know that they’re capable of starting and giving the Birds a full season.