Ron Costello

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Delmon or the Big Piece, Who Would You Take?

First in a series of who the Phillies should trade and why.

Delmon Young, remember him? Back in the spendless era, before Father Comcast and following the departures of Shane Victorino and Hunter Pence, when the Phillies had a ceiling high  payroll and no money for outfielders.

So Junior went shopping at the thrift shop and he came up with Delmon Young — signed him to a one year, $750,000 contract, loaded with incentives for the 2013 season.

Delmon was the great experiment, and when a fly ball was hit his way, he could, on the spot, conjure up the Navajo tribal dance — and only the Native American Gods knew if he would actually catch the ball. But the company line was, "Oh, he's going to start hitting any day now.

Any day now never came and Delmon was  let go in August to make room for Casper Wells (seriously, folks, I'm not making this up) and he was later signed by Tampa Bay.

Well, Delmon resurfaced in 2014, as the designated hitter for the Baltimore Orioles. As a part time DH for the O's, here are his 2014 stats: 241 at bats; 73 hits; 7 home runs; 30 RBIs; a .302 batting average; and a .337 on base percentage.

Now here's the thing: If Amaro and company tell you next spring, "Sorry, we couldn't trade Ryan Howard to the American League as a DH, nobody wanted him." Don't you believe it. It's just more of holding on to the past.

If Delmon Young can DH  in the American League, Ryan Howard can do it blindfolded!

Jurisprudence forces me to tell you that Delmon isn't a bad hitter: Lifetime career .283 average, 107 home runs and 550 RBIs. And he was named the MVP of the ALCS with the Tigers in 2012.

Problem was, or is, the Phillies, Rays, and O's were all hoping that ole' Delmon would reincarnate and be the MVP of another League Championship Series — except the closest the Phillies came to that was the food trucks on Drexel's campus.

Come on, do you want Delmon to DH? Or the Big Piece?

Here are Ryan Howard's statistics for the 2014 season: 569 at bats; 127 hits, 23 home runs; 93 RBIs; a .223 batting average, and a .310 on base percentage.

Lookit. I can see — unless Father Comcast gives them a boot in the rear end — Pat and Junior holding on to the aging stars for another year, while trying to fill in around them. They'll say, "It's the right thing to do." Sure, and the Sioux were told they'd own Oklahoma.

We can't let them snowball us. Philadelphia deserves good baseball, not old fashioned sentimentality.

If not, the Phillies lose a hundred games and we go another season trying to figure out what the hell Matt Stairs is talking about. 

Ryan Howard can hit better than most designated hitters in the American League. Maybe not better than Detriot's Victor Martinez, or Boston's David Ortiz.

But KC's DH Billy Butler had nine home runs; Toronto's Danny Valencia had two; Cleveland's Jason Giambi — you remember him, don't you? — had two; and Toronto's Dan Johnson had one.

Are you kidding me?

And I haven't given you any of the bad designated hitters, like the White Sox' Adam Dunn. Adam Dunn dreams at night of being the Big Piece.

And just think what the Piece could do if he was resting between at bats?

But you may be thinking, "Ron, what about the money? Who will take-on Howard's salary?" And I answer, that's where Father Comcast comes in. We didn't get all those billions for nothing, did we? What.  They brought Gillick back to count it?

Or, take some of the coinage that 257 straight sellouts by the faithful put in the coffer.

The Phillies need to give Darin Ruf the same opportunity they gave Domonic Brown, and to do that, they have to clear first base. Not next year, or the year after, but...NOW!

So the faithful can begin another run.


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