The People Who Run the Philadelphia Phillies entered this season hoping that Delmon Young will eventually become the club's every-day right fielder.
Go back and read that sentence, and drink it in; everything here is perfectly free of charge.
Young's been injured, and Saturday he finally got into a minor-league game, the first of his rehab stint in Class A. There were seven baseballs hit to him in right field. Via Matt Gelb, we learn that Young misplayed two of those seven baseballs.
"Obviously we want his bat, but if he can't play defense he can’t play in the National League," Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said. "He's going to have to be adequate out there. Until today he hadn't screwed up any balls, but today he did. ... He's got to play adequate defense out there for us in right."
Manager Charlie Manuel said Young will probably spend "a couple of weeks" in the minors.
"If he can produce some offense, we can [substitute] for him in the outfield late in the game," Manuel said. "It's not like we want to embarrass him. But if he can help us offensively, then that part will stand out. More than likely, we'll give him a chance."
Amaro's and Manuel's comments are obviously ripe for mockery. We can quibble about the definition of "adequate" when it comes to Delmon Young's defense, but we do know it's probably going to be "terrible" because he's been pretty terrible since the day he arrived in the major leagues. What, he's supposed to become a better outfielder now, after turning 27 and returning to the outfield after spending most of last season DH'ing with Detroit? What, he's supposed to throw better now, after shifting from left field to right field?
If Delmon Young wasn't a terrible outfielder, he would have been a non-terrible outfielder when he played for the Tigers. He was terrible then, and the chances are very good that he will be more terrible now.
There are a couple of possibilities here: one, that Amaro and Manuel really don't know that Young is terrible; or two, that they do know, but are hoping that a) he's not so obviously terrible to everyone, and b) his terribleness is largely balanced by his hitting. The first of those letters is possible, but the second is unlikely; over the last three seasons, Young's been sub-replacement-level with his bat, too. Tack on his problems with the glove and ... Well, this never really made any sense, did it?
I almost never root against a player, even one who seems possessed of less than sterling character. But I tend to root, at least a little bit, against organizations that seems to have little idea what they're doing. And for a while now, that's what the Philadelphia Phillies have seemed like to me.
For much more about the Phillies, please visit SB Nation's The Good Phight.