The middle of the week saw three very different NL East teams complete very telling transactions. Each move told the story of a contender, a team that wishes they could contend, and a team who perhaps gave up before 2013.
Tuesday, the Phillies signed Delmon Young to a one-year, $750K contract. The move was intended to fill a hole in right field, a position Young hasn’t played in five years. The signing also successfully blocked promising outfielder Domonic Brown from the majors.
As misguided as signing Young was, there is some merit in making moves in the name of improvement. A point proven when hours later, our own Marlins continued signing pitchers who didn’t play in ’12 to minor league deals, and inviting them to Spring Training. The moves met little to no reaction. Maybe some groans.
29-year old Mitch Talbot has spent most of his professional career as a pitch-to-contact guy in the minor leagues and has only tossed 232.2 innings in the majors since being drafted in 2002.
The second sign and invite was handed to former Twin, Kevin Slowey . Slowey has a few redeeming qualities. For one, he actually had an established roster spot during his time in Minnesota. He also enjoyed a quality season for the 88-75 Twins in 2008. Maybe most impressive, he and R.A. Dickey climbed Mount Kilimanjaro last January.
It is unknown how Slowey’s climbing skills will help out the rotation. Unfortunately, it is also unknown how Slowey’s pitching skills will help the rotation, as Kevin’s last major league outing was September 26, 2011.
The Marlins are scraping the bottom of the free-agent barrel with these two signings. And while the moves are low-risk long shots, it’s a bit discouraging to think about Kevin Slowey eating the innings that could be used for developing younger pitchers like Nathan Eovaldi, or Henderson Alvarez.
The next day, the Atlanta Braves put together a package to bring All-Star Justin Upton to play in left field alongside B.J. Upton and Jason Heyward—challenging the rest of the MLB for the best outfield in the Majors.
The three moves featured teams in different stages of development. The Phillies are falling from grace, the Braves are improving on a quality team, and the Marlins are tossing half court shots off the inbounds.