Remember when things like this were being written about the newest member of the Detroit Tigers:
A conservative projection would have him hitting 30-plus homers with 20-odd steals and a .300/.350/.550 line, probably before he even reaches free agency.
Nowadays, Delmon Young is clearing waivers and getting traded for players to be named later and tenth round draft picks with a 4.87 ERA in Single A.
It’s easy to criticize the Minnesota Twins for giving up Matt Garza and Jason Bartlett as part of the package to acquire Young ahead of the 2008 season, because, well, it proved to be a terrible, terrible (again for emphasis) trade that the Rays won with performance alone, and continue to win by trading Garza and Bartlett at the height of their value for more successful young players.
However, there’s something to be said for the Twins cutting bait when they did. Iin all likelihood the once promising prospect would’ve been non-tendered this offseason, and while a PTBNL and Cole Nelson may not be much of a prize, they are something. And something is almost always better than nothing in the game of baseball.
For the Tigers, Young doesn’t offer very much, but the low cost and no commitment for next season means that there’s little risk involved in seeing if Young might regain at least a little bit of the ability to hit left handed pitching that he showed last season. At the very least, it’s probably a small upgrade on wheeling the rotting corpse of Magglio Ordonez out in right field and continuing to allow the broken down marionette to hit third in the batting order.
The Twins don’t escape criticism completely though, but any head shaking in Minnesota shouldn’t be pointed at this trade specifically, instead finger wagging should be directed at general manager Bill Smith for not dealing with Matt Capps, Michael Cuddyer and Jason Kubel, all three of whom could become free agents at season’s end. While normally, teams would consider the value of compensatory picks for impending free agents, I’m not so certain that contracts better than what the players might receive from accepting arbitration will be in abundance for the trio, especially for Capps and Cuddyer, whose Type A status may prove to be a hindrance to interested teams.
In summary, the real winner of this deal is the Tampa Bay Rays. But of course, you can’t write a blog post about Delmon Young without including video of a certain incident: