Laynce Nix, a regular member of the Phillies bench in the last two seasons, was designated for assignment on Tuesday. Nix, a lefthanded-hitting outfielder in the second season of a two-year, $2.5 million contract, was basically the reason the Phils non-tendered Nate Schierholtz this winter.
Delmon Young, projected as the Phillies everyday right fielder by general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. when he signed an incentive-laden contract this winter, was designated for assignment on Friday. Young wasn't needed anymore when the player he was ranked ahead of on Amaro's depth chart this spring, Darin Ruf, was recalled last month and hit his way into regular playing time.
Even Amaro admits to letting his mind wander, wondering how things might have turned out if both Schierholtz and Ruf had been on the roster rather than Nix and Young this season.
"We talk about that stuff all the time," Amaro said. "We’re not perfect and we probably made a mistake on Schierholtz. We thought that we had enough coverage from the left side. Whether he would have performed for us the way he performed for the Cubs, who knows? But at the same time, we have to move forward. If we don’t take chances on guys or do things to improve our club, what’s the point of doing this job?
"So I thought this was a low-risk, high-reward kind of a guy to bring Delmon on. As he’s performed in the past and done those sorts of thing, it would have been a much better option for us. As far as Ruffie is concerned, it was a difficult option for us to bring him in for spring training and put the pressure on his to make the club. He did struggle at the beginning of spring training to learn left field. It wasn’t fair to stick him out there and expect him to play out there.
"Once he got his feet wet and he was able to play more consistently, he got better and his confidence grew. By the time that things panned out, we didn’t want to mess with Domonic in left field, we wanted to give him a chance in right field and see how he does. He is not going to be a Gold Glover, but what we thing he can bring to the table offensively for us warrants he gets as many at-bats as possible, even if we may sacrifice some things defensively."
The Phils finally cut the cord on the Delmon Young Experiment because they need to see Ruf play every day - and play in the outfield every day - so they know what they have in him going forward. What they don't need is another offseason with multiple questions marks surrounding the possible production they may or may not get from all three outfield positions.
Delmon Young hit .261 with a .302 OBP and 8 home runs in 80 games. In 17 games since the All-Star break, Young hit .254 with a .254 OBP and 1 home run.
Young went the final 21 games of his Phillies career without a walk.
"I think that he has value out there," Amaro said. "If a club doesn’t think he could be a viable option in the outfield, he could be a DH. He can do somethings to help a club- particularly an American League club. He was great in the clubhouse. He was better than I thought he would be. He was very good with Domonic. I got nothing but positive things to say about him other that I don’t think he performed consistently enough to warrant being on the club and taking at-bats away from Ruf and Domonic Brown."
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