Let’s get this particular fact out of the way right off: Delmon Young is one of the most overrated players in the game today, and as well as the Tigers are doing so far, he can only drag them backwards. He’s a career .288/.321/.427 hitter, which would be nice if he was a middle infielder, but it's danged poor for a defensively-challenged corner outfielder.
Coming into today’s game, he was hitting .294/.278/.294. We should never get overly worked up by four games, but that line really symbolizes the pain of the Tigers staying forever Young.
It is for this reason that today’s welcome news that Victor Martinez could be back this year takes on added importance. The Tigers have romped this year, as four hitters are batting .400 or more over the first four games, but that’s not going to last, and the rest of the lineup will have to chip in if the Tigers are going to win a championship—and they have no excuse not to aim that high given that the AL Central is theirs for the taking.
V-Mart is a career .303/.370/.469 hitter. His return would push both Young and Ryan Raburn. Raburn is a career .268/.337/.502 hitter against left-handed pitching, but his .267/.310/.417 against righties isn’t terribly valuable. Young is a net negative when he plays the field and not terribly productive as a DH either.
Admittedly, this discussion is premature; Martinez’s ability to return won’t even be clear until July, and even then, there will be a rehab period that could cover the rest of the season. There are no guarantees at this point.
What remains, though, is that as good as Jim Leyland’s hitters have been and as good as some of them—Miguel Cabrera, Price Fielder, Alex Avila—may continue to be—the rest of the lineup is just OK, and for a very good club to become a great one, they’re going to need one more hitter. Martinez might yet get to be that guy this year, but if his return is still in doubt at the All-Star break, and it likely will be, the club may have to look elsewhere.
Fortunately, they have more than one position at which they can stand to upgrade, and even if they can't bring themselves to break free of Young's never-ending tease, there are other things they can do.
In conclusion: Anyone have an inexpensive second baseman they would like to trade to Dave Dombrowski?
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!