6 Reasons the Tigers Should Have Traded Delmon Young

Josh BerenterCorrespondent IAugust 6, 2012

6 Reasons the Tigers Should Have Traded Delmon Young

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    The MLB trade deadline has come and gone and while the Detroit Tigers made one significant move before Tuesday's deadline, Detroit failed to deal Delmon Young, which could come back to haunt the Tigers down the road.  

    Young, who was the No. 1 overall pick for the Tampa Bay Rays in the 2006 amateur draft, has been inconsistent during his career, and his development, or lack thereof has been a frustrating process the past couple seasons.

    The Tigers' 26-year-old designated hitter has shown flashes of brilliance in his six-plus years in the majors, but he's also been shelved with injuries, shown a lack of discipline at the plate, overall defensive ineptness and a tendency to make bone-headed decisions off the field.

    Here are six reasons the Tigers should have traded Young before it was too late:

Inconsistency

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    Young was supposed to be the X-factor for the Tigers this season and was expected to have the best season of his career.

    Starting the season in the No. 5 spot in the lineup, hitting behind guys like Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder, Young was in a prime spot to have the table set for him to have a career year.

    But he's been mostly inconsistent this season, and hasn't shown signs of extended success.

    Young's free-swinging mentality doesn't complement his game, especially in his position in this lineup. More often than not, Young comes to the plate with runners on base or in scoring position, and instead of productive appearances, he tends to swing at balls out of the zone, and waste at-bats.

    Young is hitting .261 this season, with a .293 on-base percentage, and 44 RBI, and with runners in scoring position, he's hitting just .271. 

    That number isn't that bad on the surface, but you have to produce more in those situations. Fielder, for instance, in hitting .393 with RISP.

    Young is also putrid in huge situations with a chance to blow games wide open. With the bases loaded this season, Young is 0-for-8 and has driven in just two of 24 total baserunners in those situations.

    Bob Wojnowski, columnist for the Detroit News, even expressed his frustration via Twitter last week with the Tigers holding onto Young, when he tweeted,

    "Tigers probably won't make a trade tomorrow. But it's pretty clear they could use an upgrade over Delmon Young in the No. 5 spot #outmachine."

One-Trick Pony

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    Besides hitting for power, Young doesn't bring much to the table for the Tigers.

    Yes, he's hit 12 home runs and 44 RBI in 98 games, but that's about all he's been good for.

    He has no speed, can't steal bases, has a mediocre glove, an average arm and doesn't hit for average.

    Young began the year starting in left field for the Tigers but after enough flubs to make his own blooper reel along with the emergence of Andy Dirks and Quintin Berry, Young found himself demoted to full-time designated hitter.

    There isn't a great deal of diversity to his game, and in his seventh year in the league, it's not like he's going to develop different weapons moving forward.

Off-Field Issues

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    If you're not living up to expectations on the field, the least you can do is act correctly off of it.

    Delmon Young has proved multiple times that he can't even manage to do that.

    On April 27, Young was arrested outside a New York City hotel for shoving an apparent Jewish man to the ground and peppering him with anti-Semitic remarks. The incident happened just hours before the Tigers were set to take the field for a three-game series against the New York Yankees.

    The New York arrest wasn't the first non-production issue Young has had in his career.

    In 2006, as a Minor Leaguer in the Tampa Bay Rays organization, Young lost it after striking out, and after arguing with the umpire about the call, and getting thrown out of the game, he threw his bat at the ump.

    The bat directly hit the umpire and Young was suspended 50 games.

    People gave Young the benefit of the doubt, saying he was young and immature, but his most recent incident in New York shows not much has changed.

    And if Young faces more adversity down the stretch this season, seeing his playing time diminished when Dirks returns from injury, imagine what he's capable of doing when he's upset about that.

Andy Dirks

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    Dirks made his MLB debut last season with the Tigers and hit .251 with seven home runs and 28 RBI in 78 games.

    The 26-year-old left-handed left fielder was expected to be primarily a utility player again this year, but with his exceptional performance, Dirks forced manager Jim Leyland to put his name in the lineup every day.

    He was batting a team-best .328, with four home runs, 16 RBI and was slugging .515 in 37 games before suffering Achilles tendinitis, which kept him sidelined since May 31.

    Dirks' recovery has been a slow, frustrating process, but he began a rehab assignment with Triple-A Toledo, and hit two home runs and five RBI in 10 games for the Mud Hens, showing signs he's ready to come back. 

    When Dirks went down with the injury he was best on the team in average, second in slugging, and fifth in on-base percentage.

    He came off the disabled list and was reactivated by the Tigers on Friday, going 2-for-4 in his return.

Quintin Berry

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    Young is a better power hitter than Berry, but Berry brings so much more to the table for the Tigers. He should get the nod over Young in the outfield.

    Berry spent more than six years in the Minor Leagues, and after making his MLB debut with the Tigers in May, Berry has cemented himself as an everyday player with Detroit.

    Berry is truly a five-tool player in every sense of the word.

    Batting .284, he's shown he can hit for average. He has great speed, leading the team with 15 steals in just 61 games and has yet to be caught stealing. Berry has a good arm, and great glove in the outfield, turning in several highlight reel plays, and with 14 extra-base hits, he can hit for a little bit of power as well.

Value

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    If Dirks continues to rake after returning from his injury, and Berry continues to produce, while giving the Tigers the shot of energy they desperately need, Young will find himself on the outside looking in.

    Young isn't a better a complete hitter, or fielder than Dirks and doesn't have as many tools as Berry. And no one is taking Austin Jackson's spot in center field.

    So where is his spot in the lineup?

    Although the Tigers were buyers at the deadline, Detroit could've gotten some value for Young, from teams looking to add a power hitter down the stretch.

    After the Tigers traded pitching phenom Jacob Turner and possible catcher of the future Rob Brantly, for Omar Infante and Anibal Sanchez, Detroit's farm system was left a little bare.

    Young, who is still only 26 years old and was  the No. 1 overall pick in the 2003 amateur draft, has decent numbers and would've commanded a good prospect or two in return.

    Instead, on most days, Young will probably not be included in the lineup, and will sit on the bench making almost $7 million per year.