Detroit Tigers Deal for Delmon Young: Why Move Puts Tigers over the Top

Jay WierengaCorrespondent IAugust 15, 2011

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - JULY 23: Alex Avila #13 of the Detroit Tigers waits as Delmon Young #21 of the Minnesota Twins congratulates Danny Valencia #19 of the Minnesota Twins on a solo home run in the second inning on July 23, 2011 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

The Detroit Free Press is reporting that the Detroit Tigers just dealt minor league pitcher Cole Nelson and a player to be named later for Minnesota Twins outfielder Delmon Young.

This is a very significant move for a number of reasons.

Forget for a minute that Delmon Young is having a bad year. The entire Twins team is having a bad year. A lot of the reason for Young's struggles have been tied to added pressure based on team injuries.

Take a look at last year's numbers. He hit .298 with 21 home runs and 112 RBI. Top that off with a respectable .333 OBP and you immediately just improved your offense.

Furthermore, this also represents addition by subtraction as the move more than likely signals the end for either Magglio Ordonez or Ryan Raburn.

If Tigers manager Jim Leyland has any pull, it will be Raburn being optioned to Toledo. But more than likely, this will be the opportunity for Detroit to sever ties with Magglio Ordonez.

To make matters better, Young improves the team defense. Magglio Ordonez is by all accounts one of the worst out fielders in the game. His range is atrocious and he hasn't had more than eight outfield assists in over five years.

Young has had at least 12 assists in three of his last four years including 16 when he was a primary right fielder with Tampa Bay in 2007.

He also is only 26 and has plenty of potential moving forward.

So where exactly does Young fit.

He is a right handed batter, like Ordonez, so that doesn't suggest much.

What it does do is gives Leyland the opportunity to shake up his lineup. Austin Jackson likely remains hitting number one, inexplicably.

However, Will Rhymes likely moves into the two hole currently occupied by Brennan Boesch. Either that, or Rhymes hits initially at number nine and either Boesch or someone else moves into the two spot.

Leyland says he likes power in this spot, so he could elect to platoon Young with Andy Dirks and give Dirks the number two spot against righties, and Jhonny Peralta a shot at number two against lefties.

This likely moves Boesch back to the three spot (even though Miguel Cabrera should be here, but don't get me started on that) where he has been hitting 140 points higher than he has in the two spot.

Cabrera and Martinez follow, with Young likely finding himself in the five hole. Next comes any combination of Alex Avila, Betemit, and Rhymes/Raburn.

Defensively, Young makes most sense in right. Boesch should remain the everyday left fielder, as Young has the stronger arm.

Likely, he will be in a platoon situation with Andy Dirks, and both have much more range than Ordonez.

Lastly, Young takes a weapon away from a division rival, a weapon that feasted on Detroit pitching to the tune of .284 hitting and 25 RBI from 2008-2010.

One of the greatest things about this deal is making a rival weaker while getting stronger at the same time.

Oh, and by the way, we start a three game series with that rival beginning today.

Another great move by Dombrowski!