Devil Rays prospect claims franchise is 'cheap'

Updated: September 13, 2005, 12:32 AM ET
Associated Press

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Tampa Bay prospect Delmon Young is unhappy about not being called up from the minor leagues this season and said Monday the Devil Rays were reluctant to promote him because the organization is cheap.

The 19-year-old brother of Detroit's Dmitri Young was selected Baseball America's Minor League Player of the Year after splitting time this season between Double-A Montgomery and Triple-A Durham.

Asked why he felt he was not called up, Young replied: "The only thing I can think of is they're being cheap."

"When it comes to free agency, no use trying to stay around there for the long haul," he said. "Get your six years and leave."

Young, an outfielder who was the first overall pick in the 2003 amateur draft, batted .336 with 20 homers and 71 RBIs in 84 games for Montgomery. He hit .285 with six homers and 28 RBIs in 52 games after joining Durham.

After initially telling reporters on a conference call that he was not disappointed with the Devil Rays' decision, Young changed his stance and criticized the organization.

"I put up great numbers, better than a lot of players who got called up around the majors. A lot of them were on contending teams," Young said. "Tampa's going nowhere this year, so they could at least call up the guys who are going to be there in the future."

Young, who turns 20 on Wednesday, is the youngest player to be picked as minor league player of the year since Andruw Jones won the award as an 18-year-old in 1995 and again in 1996, when he was 19. He's the second Devil Ray to win, joining Rocco Baldelli (2002).

Young said he will prepare for spring training this winter with intentions of making the big league team but that he wouldn't be surprised if the Devil Rays wound up sending him back to Durham for part or all of next season in order to hold down his service time in the majors and extend the time the team unilaterally can set his salary.

Players become eligible for salary arbitration when they have three years of major league service or they are in the top 17 percent of service time among players with two to three years.

"We think Delmon Young is one of the finest players in all of minor league baseball and by sometime next season we believe he will begin to establish himself as an outstanding major league player," Devil Rays general manager Chuck LaMar said.

"Having said that, we saw him play the latter part of August and thought he had had enough. He had already gone from Double-A to Triple-A, and we thought it was time for him to go home and get ready to play winter ball if he wanted to, or if not, get ready for spring training."


Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press