The Detroit Tigers came into the 2012 MLB season with expectations of World Series grandeur. Now nearing the 2012 MLB All-Star break, the Tigers are hovering just below .500. The team hasn't been consistent all season, which leads to heavy trade talks amongst restless members of the media and fans.
One name that has been brought up frequently in water cooler trade debates this season has been Delmon Young. Tigers fans have become suddenly spoiled by the team spending big bucks in free agency and tasting success since 2006. With over 80 games to be played, this is no time to hit the panic button. There's plenty of time left in the season and the Tigers won't be trading Young for multiple reasons.
The former No. 1 overall pick in the 2003 MLB draft is only 26 years old and has yet to hit his prime. After being traded from the Minnesota Twins to the Tigers late last season, Young caught fire, knocking in 32 RBI in 40 regular season games.
If the Tigers are willing to hang onto Ryan Raburn for his second-half stats, then Young will stay in town.
Another reason he'll stay is that he's had a few highly publicized incidents in his career that have tarnished his image, including one in New York earlier this season which led to a seven-game suspension.
What team is willing to trade for a player with his track record who is currently batting .269 with six homers and 29 RBI?
Young has made mistakes in the past, which he has publicly apologized for, but has to prove that he's learned from them. Finishing the year by letting his bat do the talking will serve him best.
He is set to become a free agent this offseason, and while he may not be a member of the Tigers in 2013, what could the team truly expect in return for him, a couple of mediocre prospects? Young is a player who has shown that he has the capability of being a top-tier hitter in the majors. Yes, he's only hitting .269 this season, but he's been making consistent, solid contact for nearly a month now.
Believe it or not, he's the key to the Tigers' success on offense the rest of the season.
Fans know that Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder will produce, but besides the team's stars, a reliable bat has eluded the Tigers' bottom-half of the lineup this season. Beyond all their struggles, the Tigers are still near .500 and find themselves only a handful of games out of the lead in the AL Central.
Practically giving Young away now wouldn't bode well for a team in contention.
Now is the time for Young to make his positive mark in the big leagues, and both player and organization realize it. He knocked in 112 RBI in the 2010 season, but the remainder of the 2012 season is where Young can legitimize himself as a former No. 1 pick. By Young becoming a constant threat at the plate, the Tigers will be a playoff team and true contender to win the World Series.
Young won't be traded by the Tigers this season and fans will be jubilant because of that decision come October.