“Everything has been very positive,” said Joel Wolfe of Wasserman Media Group, who met with the Orioles during the Winter Meetings in San Diego. “They value Delmon and realize what he brings to the table, and hopefully it’s just a matter of getting it right.”
Wolfe wouldn’t discuss specifics of the negotiations, but it’s known that Young is looking for a multi-year deal and the Orioles entered the offseason preferring one year. They might be inclined to include an option for 2016.
Asked whether he had a sense when Young could decide, Wolfe replied, “I don’t know. We’re not there yet. There’s still a lot of ground to cover. Delmon’s got options, but obviously his preference is to come back to Baltimore.”
The Orioles would like to keep him.
Young received a $1 million base salary in 2014 after a tryout at the January minicamp led to a minor league deal. He emerged as an outstanding pinch-hitter, going 10-for-20 in the regular season and delivering a three-run, go-ahead double in Game 2 of the American League Division Series that rocked Camden Yards to its foundation.
Overall, Young batted .302/.337/.442 in 83 games, with 11 doubles, a triple, seven home runs and 30 RBIs. His on-base percentage was the highest of his career. He has a lifetime .317 OBP in nine major league seasons.
In addition, Young shattered the notion that he’d need to work in a platoon role by batting .312 against right-handers. He’s a career .276 hitter versus right-handers and .302 versus lefties.
As other outfielders come off the board via free agency and trades, the market for Young is liable to intensify.
“It can certainly either create other opportunities or move him up the list with another club that’s been interested,” Wolfe said.
Young, 29, has become a lucky charm of sorts by appearing in the playoffs in the last six seasons. However, he’s done it with four different teams and has grown tired of the constant moving.
“A lot has been written about Delmon going to six straight postseasons, which has been a tremendous experience for him and makes him unique,” Wolfe said. “The thing that also appeals to him is if he could find a home and be with one club for a stretch of time.
“It’s very hard on these players to go to a new spring training site every year and all the other things. You’re around these guys and we all deal with everything that happens before 7 o’clock. Delmon has become accustomed to it, but if there’s a way to find a team that could give him some multi-year security, it would certainly be appealing.
“It’s difficult, but once they get in the offseason and become free agents, their former team - I don’t want to say loses its luster - but they tend to have to compete for him because the player sometimes feels that if they really wanted me, they wouldn’t have let me go to free agency. It sends a strong message when a team retains it’s players at the end of the year.
“Every club, and certainly the Orioles, has its priorities and they do what they have to do.”
Executive vice president Dan Duquette would like to add right-handed and left-handed hitting corner outfielders who also could serve as the designated hitter. It’s imperative that the players don’t come with medical risks.
The Orioles weren’t comfortable giving two years to Michael Morse, who may lead the league in MRIs. The Padres reportedly are concerned about the results of Matt Kemp’s physical - news leaked that he has arthritis in both hips - and the deal appears to be in jeopardy.
(See, it’s not just an Orioles thing. Let’s see if anyone bashes the Padres medical staff.)
“There’s certainly no hesitation with Delmon on the health side,” Wolfe said. “He’s also tremendous in the clubhouse. He works with both the younger players and the veterans. Even when he’s not playing, he’s contributing somehow. He’s always ready to go.
“Whether he gets five at-bats that day or one, he’s going to give you his best. It’s hard to find guys who can do that, especially when they’re young.”