photo credit: Denis Poroy / Getty Images
by Steve Carney / 620 WDAE
"It's my belief that history is a wheel. 'Inconstancy is my very essence,' says the wheel. Rise up on my spokes if you like but don't complain when you're cast back down into the depths. Good times pass away, but then so do the bad. Mutability is our tragedy, but it's also our hope. The worst of times, like the best, are always passing away." -- Boethius, The Consolation of Philosophy
When Delmon Young was traded away from the then-Devil Rays after the 2007 season, most fans thought the only time they'd see the former top-overall pick back at Tropicana Field would be as a visitor.
Too many bridges were thought to have been burned. The throwing of a bat at an umpire while in Durham, causing him to be suspended 50 games. The article in USA Today where he accused the front office of keeping him, BJ Upton, and Elijah Dukes down in the minors while the Major League club continued to lose. The barbs Young traded with Carl Crawford after he, Brendan Harris, and Jason Pridie were traded to the Minnesota Twins in exchange for Matt Garza and Jason Bartlett.
But time, and a little persective, can heal almost anything.
"I was 17 to 21 in my days back then," Young said. "I should have been in high school or in college back then."
Executive VP of Baseball Operations Andrew Friedman has seen the change in Young as the years have passed.
"We've spent time togerther in recent years," Friedman explained Thursday. "And 27-year-old Delmon is very different than 22-year-old Delmon. He's grown and matured as a person since he was a Devil Ray back in 2007, and he's really motivated to help the Rays down the stretch."
Both the Rays and Young have seen success come since the outfielder left the first time. Tampa Bay on the strength of the trade went to the World Series the following season, with Garza being named ALCS Most Valuable Player in their seven-game victory over the Boston Red Sox. Four years later, it was Young, now with the Detroit Tigers, who earned MVP honors in their sweep of the New York Yankees.
Friedman still believes despite his struggles this year in Philadelphia following ankle surgery that he has the ability to help the Rays finish the season strong.
"As we look into September, Delmon has not only experienced September playoff-type atmosphere and into the playoffs and excelled, but he's also really handled left-handed pitch well over the years," Friedman said. "I think it gives us another option and allows us to potentially leverage our roster in different ways.
"He's still got strengths and ability to really help us win games, and we'll use the full extent of our roster to put us in the best position to win."
It's a spot Young is excited to be in.
"It's a great place to play, a great group of guys, and one of the best divisions in all of baseball."
He'll head to Double-A Montgomery to try and get his swing ready, and now the player that was traded away to start the run the Rays are currently on may end up getting a chance to help them in their latest try for a World Series title.
The circle would then be complete.