Tigers Acquire Delmon Young

Earlier today, Matt Klaassen praised the Tigers for being aggressive in their pursuit of a division title over the winter. This afternoon, Dave Dombrowski continued to add to his roster down the stretch, as he picked up Delmon Young from the Minnesota Twins in exchange for two minor league players. Given the kind of production that the Tigers have gotten from their outfielders this year, it’s not that surprising that they’d be in the market for an upgrade.

Given how poorly Young has played this season – and, really, throughout almost all of his disappointing career – there aren’t many contenders in baseball for whom he would represent a legitimate option as a regular player. His .292 wOBA is the worst of his career, and is especially lousy for a corner outfielder who also hurts you defensively. Young was quite a bit better last year, however, and has shown power in years past. We should expect that he’ll hit better down the stretch than he has to date in 2011, and if he does, he might actually represent an upgrade over what the Tigers have been getting from their right fielders.

When he’s healthy, Brennan Boesch will hold down one of the corner outfield spots, whether it be right or left. The other spot is currently being held down by some combination of Magglio Ordonez, Andy Dirks, and Ryan Raburn. Ordonez is nominally the starter, but he’s also been the worst of the bunch, posting -1.0 WAR in just 289 PA. At age 37, his power seems to have dried up and taken his usefulness at the plate with it.

Jim Leyland seems unlikely to bench Ordonez in favor of a Dirks/Raburn platoon, however. He’s had that option for quite a while, and he just continues to run Ordonez out there on a semi-regular basis. So, Dombrowski has decided to give him another option, and while Young might not actually be any better than a Dirks/Raburn platoon (and might actually be worse), he’s got a chance to actually crack the line-up.

For the Tigers, getting Ordonez out of the line-up on a regular basis is the appeal of this deal. As mediocre as he is, Young offers a similar skillset to what Ordonez brings to the table, just in a less broken down body. For just having to pick up some cash and surrender what is likely a pair of marginal prospects (the named player in the deal was a 10th round pick last summer), it’s easy to see why the Tigers made this move. Young comes with no commitment beyond this season, as he can be non-tendered this winter if he continues to struggle. The overall cost to acquire was pretty low.

Is Delmon Young a good player? Not even close. Should he be able to start for a contender at this point in his career? No. In this specific instance, though, the Tigers had a wound that needing bandaging, and Young can at least serve as a tourniquet for the final six weeks of the season. With a bit of positive regression and yet another chance to start over, perhaps Young will actually hit like people have been expecting him to for the last five years. If he doesn’t, he’s still probably better than Magglio Ordonez.

It’s not the ideal solution, but the Tigers did get a little bit better today. Given their spot in the standings and the small price they paid, it’s probably a gamble worth taking.



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Dave is the Managing Editor of FanGraphs.


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Small Sample Goodness
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Small Sample Goodness
4 years 10 months ago

And the book pretty much closes on yet another of Bill Smith’s lousy moves.

cuck
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cuck
4 years 10 months ago

i would actually call this a good move. he had to go. period. for anybody. at this point i would have been happy to see him released, it would have been worth it

Bill
Guest
Bill
4 years 10 months ago

This is a good trade, without a doubt, I’m thinking SSG is referring to the book being closed on the terrible Garza/Bartlett trade.

Small Sample Goodness
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Small Sample Goodness
4 years 10 months ago

Bill’s got it.

Chuck
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Chuck
4 years 10 months ago

DY is what 25 or 26? Was he just rushed way too fast to the bigs? Aside from his ‘breakout’ year in 2010 (which only provided 1.8 WAR btw), he has been awful both at the plate and in the field.

The Twins overpayed to get him to fill their outfield hole when Tori Hunter left and now they are selling incredibly low. They should have traded him this offseason, but they had nobody ready to fill in. The FO didn’t think Reverre was ready, but he’s proven otherwise.

Shifting Reverre into the outfield with Span should help the Twins D incredibly. And it will give the lineup some speed which Gardy said he needed when they made their stupid middle infield moves this offseason (trading Hardy, signing Nishi).

Steve
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Steve
4 years 10 months ago

Young is due to make some real money this winter and prob wouldn’t return much of anything.

RK
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RK
4 years 10 months ago

I fully support this move for the Twins, but to say Revere has proven otherwise is a bit of a stretch is it not? I think this is definitely good news for the Twins’ flyball pitchers (namely Slowey and Baker), but having Revere in the lineup everyday makes it at least 6 guys in the lineup who are basically no risk of hitting a deep ball – Mauer (hopefully that goes back), 3B, SS, 2B whoever you want to say they are, Revere, and Span – and 4 of those get on base less than .300. It’s a horrible lineup.

Chuck
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Chuck
4 years 10 months ago

To clarify, I meant he’s proven to be replacement level and can stick in the big leagues. I absolutely agree he’s not showing star level ceiling by any means, but the bar to clear was Delmon Young’s average WAR of 0.225 the 3+ years with the Twins.

I think Reverre can easily be a 1.5 WAR player (near what DY gave the Twins in easily his best year 2010). Most of his value will come from plus defense and speed on the basepaths.

Chuck
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Chuck
4 years 10 months ago

As for the Twins lineup – I completely agree, although the area I wish they’d improve on power was at SS and retaining Hardy.

This offseason, I could see the Twins improving their power production by moving Danny Valencia for pitching and bringing in a power threat at 3B. I think the coaching staff is not too high on Danny and they’ll move him. I could also see sending Nishi to AAA for a while and letting Casilla / Ploufe handle SS/2B. If they did that, it could be a better lineup:

Span
Reverre
Mauer
Morneau
Cuddy
Kubel
3B – ARAMIS RAMIREZ
Ploufe
Casilla

You still have 4 spots with no real HR threat, but it’s much better.

STG
Guest
STG
4 years 10 months ago

So how does Casper Wells compare to Young?

The Nicker
Member
Member
The Nicker
4 years 10 months ago

Casper Wells is way better than Young, just as he was way better than the corpse of Magglio Ordonez.

Sean O'Neill
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Sean O'Neill
4 years 10 months ago

Wells is a very good COF defensively, and has some offensive upside (too many Ks, but good enough power and walk rate to overcome that). Unlike the Matt Joyce trade, I think the Tigers will end up regretting giving away Wells…he was a nice fit for RF if they’d have given him a chance.

mike wants wins
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mike wants wins
4 years 10 months ago

You don’t deal Young after last offseason. He “finally turned the corner”, is 25, and the Twins looked like contenders before the season started. I don’t blame BS for that at all.

I do blame him for trading for Young in the first place. I blame Gardy for moving him to LF and not making him DH more.

This trade, from the Twins’ side, is all about how they spend the $5-7MM they just freed up next winter. If all they do is re-sign Cuddeyer and Kubel, this was not a good deal. If they can find one, or even two, good players with that money (heck, 3 middle relievers), then it was a good trade.

Delmon has had one good season and three bad ones with the Twins. You cannot expect him to be good going forward (though it is not inconceivable that he is, you can’t expect it).

Jon E
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Jon E
4 years 10 months ago

Small sample…..but Delmon has hit a bit better since June 1 albeit still with less power than he showed last year. If he can continue to produce at the clip he’s shown since that date, he’s a definite boost to the Tigers’ lineup over Magglio.

jim
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jim
4 years 10 months ago

how sad is the tigers outfield when delmon freaking young is a legitimate upgrade?

juan pierres mustache
Member
Member
4 years 10 months ago

so sad that this season even the royals laugh at it

Matt K
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Matt K
4 years 10 months ago

I don’t know if anyone can hear the laughter coming from the cellar.

RéRé
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RéRé
4 years 10 months ago

The Indians might be a little jealous, though.

gnomez
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gnomez
4 years 10 months ago

IIRC, Magglio has actually played pretty well since his return from the dl. (On mobile, can”t check.)

The Nicker
Member
Member
The Nicker
4 years 10 months ago

No, he hasn’t.

The Birchman
Guest
The Birchman
4 years 10 months ago

Meh. Solid June, okay July. Problem is he’s fallen off of a cliff in his 39 ABs in August. His wRC+ is NEGATIVE and his wOBA is a paltry .165. Small sample size, sure (though, nearly same size as June), but there’s just no power or on-base ability anymore, it seems.

Ryan
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Ryan
4 years 10 months ago

The quick answer is – no, no, not at all.

Adam
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Adam
4 years 10 months ago

Raburn’s not really in the OF mix now, he’s starting at 2B with Guillen on DL, and was starting at 3B occasionally. So Delmon really going to get Guillen’s AB’s.

MauerPower
Member
4 years 10 months ago

I can hardly contain myself.

MauerPower
Member
4 years 10 months ago

Time for Joe Benson to get the call.

Slats
Guest
Slats
4 years 10 months ago

Delmon goes yard in his first Tigers AB vs Twins!

Chuck D.
Guest
Chuck D.
4 years 10 months ago

All of you who are criticizing Delmon Young have good reason. But I’d love to see his age 27 breakout season in a contract year come in a Tigers uniform. ;-)

Mike
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Mike
4 years 10 months ago

Chuck, the age 27 ‘acquisition of super powers more one magical year’ thing is a myth.

JohnnyComeLately
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JohnnyComeLately
4 years 10 months ago

” In this specific instance, though, the Tigers had a wound that needing bandaging, and Young can at least serve as a tourniquet for the final six weeks of the season.”

This is great! Lol High praise indeed!

Dave
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Dave
4 years 10 months ago

According to Baseball Reference – the most similar player to Delmon Young through age 24 is Carl Yastrzemski….

Eric C
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Eric C
4 years 10 months ago

This says a lot more about the uselessness of non-era-adjusted similarity scores than it does about either player.

monkey
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monkey
4 years 10 months ago

As a Mariners fan who lives in Fargo N.D. (Twins territory obviously) and keeps a very close eye on the Twins, I am sort of shaking my head right now wondering what in the world the Tigers are doing?

The players they traded away to the M’s, as a whole, are better than what they got back; and the LFer they gave up, Casper Wells, is simply a better player right now AND in the future than Young, or any of the mess they’ve been trotting out there.

On the whole, I’m not seeing where they are any better or closer to competing this year than they were before all the trades…in fact I’d say they are further away.

In my opinion, they’d have been much better off keeping the players they traded basically just to get Fister, who is not really all that much better than Furbush who they gave up.

This looks like a win for the Twins, a huge win for the M’s and a pretty stupid bunch of moves for a Tigers team who thinks this makes them more competitive…I don’t get it.

The Nicker
Member
Member
The Nicker
4 years 10 months ago

You make a great point about Wells, but you’re way off the mark with respect to Fister v. Furbush. Look at their peripherals.

Besides, looking at each trade in a vacuum, I don’t think you can really say the Delmon Young trade is a bad one for the Tigers. I mean, they didn’t really address their areas of need, but then again Young might actually make them better. Now, if they had retained Casper Wells, yes, I’d say he’s definitely way better than Delmon, but that’s not really the way to look at their acquisition of him at this point in time.

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