Tigers bolster playoff chances with Young
By SPORTS NETWORK
|Detroit Tigers Delmon Young follows through on his solo home-run against the Minnesota Twins during the first inning of his first-at bat of their MLB American League baseball game in Detroit, Michigan August 15, 2011. (REUTERS/Rebecca Cook)
TORONTO - While the Detroit Tigers didn't turn heads at the trade deadline, they shored up on a specific need and acquired Doug Fister from the Seattle Mariners to help stabilize the starting rotation. Although Fister wouldn't be described as an impact arm in many circles, he is still an upgrade from what the Tigers were previously trotting out at the back end of the rotation.
And on Monday, the Tigers were at it again, trading with the Minnesota Twins for outfielder Delmon Young in exchange for Class A pitcher Cole Nelson and a player to be named later.
Detroit swooped in on a player who had fallen out of favor with the Twins and one who has underachieved this season while battling injuries. Young has landed on the disabled list twice this year and has turned in a disappointing campaign after a career year in 2010.
Over 84 games with the Twins, he hit just .266 with four home runs and 32 RBI after posting a .298 average with 21 homers and 112 RBI the previous year -- all career highs in a full season.
Young, who has not lived up to the star billing that was placed on him after Tampa Bay selected him with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2003 draft, will now join his third organization. The Rays traded him to the Twins in 2008 for a package that included pitcher Matt Garza and shortstop Jason Bartlett.
For the Tigers, this trade makes sense. They bought low on a player who, despite being in the big leagues since 2006, is just 25 years old and they didn't move any top prospects to acquire him -- assuming the player to be named later won't be of much significance. In short, this trade will not hurt Detroit's bid to make the playoffs this season, and can only enhance it if Young is successful at the plate during the stretch run.
The Tigers hardly have what can be described as a productive outfield in Brennan Boesch, Austin Jackson and Magglio Ordonez. While Boesch is having a fine season, Jackson and Ordonez are not, and for Ordonez, at 37, his time in the majors seems to be coming to a quick end.
Ordonez is batting just .228 with four homers, 23 RBI and a .283 on-base percentage, and will likely be the one who sees a reduction in playing time as a result of the Young acquisition.
This move may not provide a sparkling return based on the disappointing season Young is having, but why not gamble on another bat while engaged in a pennant race with the Cleveland Indians and Chicago White Sox? That had to be the logic Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski was thinking when pulling the trigger on this deal.
Further, if the Tigers like what they see in him, they can offer him salary arbitration and bring him back for the 2012 season, or simply cut ties with him and non-tender him. Either way, it seems like Detroit knew exactly what it was doing and therefore comes out the clear winner in this intra-division deal. If Young can get his career back on track, the Twins will regret this trade. And if he doesn't, no one will, which is what makes this move a win-win for the Tigers.
Another positive for Detroit is that Young has always shown an ability to hit the baseball, despite the lack of power over his major league career. He's a lifetime .289 hitter and has never failed to hit under .280 in any season. At the very least, Young should be an upgrade at the corner outfield spot, even if his numbers don't improve from what they were prior to the trade -- that's how bad Ordonez has been this season.
Forget about what Young was supposed to be, forget about him being a No. 1 overall draft pick, and forget about what he currently is at this point in his career. This was a smart baseball decision for the Tigers.
08/16 14:25:53 ET