Pull up a chair, we’re about to have a little chat.
You might remember that, back in January, the Phillies signed a player named Delmon Young. The former first-overall draft pick of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in 2003 was a free agent for the first time, but would need to miss the start of the regular season recovering from November ankle surgery. He’d hit just .267/.299/.403 over the last two seasons and had only even cracked an .800 OPS twice in his career. He was notably bad on defense – and as a result, made 116 of his 156 2012 starts as DH – and ankle surgery wasn’t about to help that.
So, naturally, Ruben Amaro thought it’d be a great idea to sign this guy to be the everyday right fielder. Great, right? Made even better by the fact that Delmon hadn’t played the position in SIX YEARS. What’s more, he was suspended in April 2012 following revelations of a drunken, anti-Semitic rant in New York City late one night following a game. Foolproof. The guy’s a clear winner.
The monetary base of the contract wasn’t terrible. Young, having just made nearly $7 million in his final season in Detroit, got a $750 thousand base salary. What was fascinating to observe was the revelation of the incentives within the deal: nearly $3 million tied to playing time and…weight. The Phillies, obviously keen on the need to be in shape to play something approaching respectable outfield defense, wanted to make sure Delmon (not exactly a svelte man) didn’t eat his way off the field and out of the lineup.
We may never know how many of his $100,000 weigh-ins Delmon passed. It’s irrelevant.