Blog Entry

Young trade for Tigers is smart move

Posted on: August 15, 2011 3:11 pm
Edited on: August 15, 2011 3:15 pm

By Evan Brunell

The Twins announced Monday that Delmon Young has been traded to the Tigers for prospect Cole Nelson and a player to be named later.

This deal comes as a bit of a surprise, doubly so because its an intradivision trade. The Twins have clearly soured on Young, who cost Matt Garza in a multiplayer blockbuster with the Rays prior to the 2008 season. After a successful start to his major-league career as a 20-year-old in 2006, Young faded over the coming years before resurging last year to a .298/.333/.493 mark. He collapsed this year, though, down to .266/.305/.357 despite improving his plate discipline. Most of his downfall this season has come thanks to a disappearance in power, but given his career history in the department, it's too soon to write it off as a new trend, not a fluke. Young is just 25 years old and has one more year of arbitration before qualifying for free agency. He's currently playing under a $5.37 million contract. Coupled with a raise in arbitration, his salary certainly played a part in trade discussions.

It's a bit of a surprise to see Minnesota give up on Young for an unimpressive return, especially given Minnesota is 11 1/2 games out and can -- and should -- build for the future. Playing Young exclusively the rest of the way and hanging into him going into 2012 would have been the smarter move for a club like Minnesota, whom needs to get younger and work on capturing upside. As disappointing as Young has been in a Twins uniform, 2010 aside, he has shown flashes of being a productive major-leaguer and is the type of player the Twins should hold onto, especially with Jim Thome, Michael Cuddyer and Jason Kubel all impending free agents, three spots Young could have filled.

This deal might have made better sense (and to be fair, could still yet make sense) if Nelson wasn't the featured player coming back. Selected in the 10th round in 2010, the giant (6-foot-7) had a 4.87 ERA in 105 1/3 innings for high-Class A, striking out 87 and walking 50. There's a chance the lefty could develop into a mid-rotation starter or solid reliever, but he's far from a sure thing. The deal can better be judged once the player to be named player is revealed, but it's hard to imagine the player being of the caliber to justify the deal as Young is being traded at his lowest value. Minnesota must feel quite strongly that Young is never going to develop into a consistent force to move him to a team Minnesota will be jockeying with next season for the playoffs. It's hard to blame Minnesota as Yuniesky Betancourt is the only player with more plate appearances and a lower Wins Above Replacement (WAR) mark than Young, as Aaron Gleeman points out. That's definitely a disappointing player.

Detroit will certainly find out, though. Young joins a crowded -- but not particularly good -- outfield in Detroit and will receive ample playing time and is reportedly batting third for Detroit Monday night against his now ex-team in Minnesota, as a Twins PR person tweets. Young could be the bat Detroit needs to carry the club to the division title, but even if not, he won't actively harm the team. Detroit can evaluate Young for the rest of the season and if it doesn't like what it sees, can walk away at zero cost after the year by non-tendering Young.

In short, this trade is virtually all upside for Detroit, even if Young has been one of the biggest disappointments in recent history for a prospect, while giving up no one they will miss and the ability to walk away from Young's salary at the end of the year. The Tigers desperately need to find someone capable of carrying this offense into the future alongside Miguel Cabrera, and it could be Young. If not, no harm, no foul. It's tough to see where the Twins are coming from on this one.

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Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: December 18, 2011 11:54 pm
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Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: December 8, 2011 12:42 pm

Young trade for Tigers is smart move

Actually... i additionally of course love to take advantage of your state of the art stick, your personal reckoned is robust.

Since: Nov 12, 2006
Posted on: August 17, 2011 8:13 pm

Young trade for Tigers is smart move

shibbykaiyi, I agree with you, for the reasons you stated.  The Tigers get younger, more athletic, and they move Ordonez out of the lineup.  Not a bad move for them.  My point was, Twins fans shouldn't be upset that they dumped the epically unspectactular Young for a couple of marginal prospects and the payroll deduction.

Of course, it seems like there are fans who still expect that PTBN to be some prospect of note.  Good luck with that. 

Since: Nov 12, 2006
Posted on: August 17, 2011 8:04 pm

Young trade for Tigers is smart move

starblazer, look at little deeper at those numbers.  Young had a nice season in 2010.  Please don't quote RBI statistics because we all know those are a product of lineup more than some innate individual ability.  It's been proven by statistical study after statistical study.  So what does a career .289 hitter with a crappy OBP get you?  Not much.  You think there aren't dozens of AAAA players who can get on base at the rate he does and hit an occasional (very occasional) home run?  For his career he hits a home run every 44 at bats.  Give a AAAA guy a  typical 600 at bat season and you don't think he can hit 14 home runs and get on base 32 percent of the time?  Because that's Delmon Young's career.  And he's regressed, not progressed. 

What makes Young any different than a Casper Wells?  Wily Mo Pena?  Ryan Roberts?  None of those guys would be considered Young's equal because none of them have been handed so many major league at bats.  But you could easily argue they've produced similarly when they did.  Young is simply a mediocre offensive player.  Players like Young remind me of the days when Danny Meyer and Bruce Bochte were making all-star teams because every team needed a rep.  As a result, they had better reputations than their production ever warranted.

If you want to say he's still got potential because he's 25, I can respect that argument.  Maybe he'll suddenly develop plate discipline, which will help him hit "his pitch" more often and provide more offensive value.  But my point was, he certainly hasn't PROVEN he can do that. 

Yeah, I think a .323 OBP and 14 home runs a season is achieveable by A LOT of AAA players right now if a team gave them the at bats the Twins gave Delmon Young.

Since: Dec 10, 2010
Posted on: August 16, 2011 11:56 pm

Young trade for Tigers is smart move

And I can't believe that anyone who thinks they know baseball thinks this is even remotely plausible. It's a funny concept though, I'll give you that.
It was an exagerted comment...that should have been obvious enough not to make a specific comment about it...but way to go you!!

Since: May 28, 2009
Posted on: August 16, 2011 12:49 am

Young trade for Tigers is smart move

I believe the Twins won't regret trading Young (along with his 4 inch vertical leap when going back to try to 'rob' someone of a home run).  Usually we think of the 'player to be named later' to just be a throw in.  But a player cannot be traded within a year of first being drafted/signed, so sometimes that player drafted last year can be the significant player in the deal--take a look at the Ubaldo Jiminez trade from the Rockies to the Indians which includes a very significant 'player to be named later' acquisition for the Rockies.
   Here's hoping that the Twins do get someone better than Nelson included in the trade.  Either way, they don't need to look back.

Since: Aug 15, 2011
Posted on: August 15, 2011 11:58 pm

Young trade for Tigers is smart move

They also said Jhonny Peralta was washed up last year when the Tigers traded for him. DY is 25, younger than Brennan Boesch and Casper Wells, who the Tigers just traded to the Mariners in the Doug Fister trade. Besides Boesch, Young becomes a better option than what the Tigers have at AAA Toledo. The trade does favor Detroit and could have a good upside since DY's brother lives in town and is boyhood friends with Boesch.

Since: Apr 16, 2008
Posted on: August 15, 2011 10:57 pm

Young trade for Tigers is smart move

Maybe for his potential to hit a long ball now and then.  He is definitely a defensive liability.  Has a good arm but that's only meaningful if he can actually get to a ball hit his direction.  Twins should have been able to get more though.

Since: Aug 15, 2011
Posted on: August 15, 2011 10:48 pm

Young trade for Tigers is smart move

The Twins are a good judge of character and Delmon possesses zero class. He's a train wreck waiting to happen ala Randy Moss. DY has all the talent in the world and no discipline to act on it. Good riddance, Mr Young...

Since: Mar 19, 2008
Posted on: August 15, 2011 10:03 pm

Young trade for Tigers is smart move

The player "to be named" is the key to this trade and it doesn't have to be done until October 15th so it probably won't be another inconsequecial minor leaguer.  It's a good trade for both teams.  The Tigers get a short term boost in their batting order (until Young goes into one of his many "funks" again) and the Twins rid themselves of a disaster in the outfield as well as a contract they weren't interested in sustaining anyway.  While Young isn't a problem in the clubhouse, he's hardly a "dedicated" team mate either.  He has some baggage to be sure. 

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