In each of the past two playoff runs, Delmon Young has been the best hitter for the Detroit Tigers. With Victor Martinez coming back as the DH next season, however, Young has likely already played his final game in Detroit.
young is a poor defensive outfielder and was forced into the DH role in Detroit during the 2012 season. His stated preference, however, is to play left field. It would stand to reason, then, that Young could simply slot back into left with VMart taking over as the DH. Coming off a season where he posted an unremarkable .707 OPS, Young sounded like a guy who would just as soon move on as to stay with the Tigers.
“I’d like to see how the process plays out,” Young said Sunday night. “It’s my first year on the free agency market, so I’m just going to see how it goes.”
“It’d be cool (staying in Detroit), but I’d like to see what’s out there,” he said. “I’m not going to marry my first girlfriend.”
It could be that young is simply reading the writing on the wall and taking a proactive approach to his situation with the Tigers. GM Dave Dombrowski has a history of being upfront with his own free agents, letting them know early on whether or not to expect an offer from Detroit. If Young hasn’t already been notified, I’m guessing he will be soon. With the emergence of Andy Dirks and the arrival of Avisail Garcia in the Tigers’ outfield, there is no reason to re-sign Young, especially when he’s likely to sign for somewhere in the neighborhood of $8-10 million per year if he can capitalize on his great post-season.
Now, anyone who has watched Young play over the past few years would scoff at that price, but Young still holds amazing talent potential and has the raw hitting tools to become an elite hitter in the league. He hasn’t yet tapped into that potential, but he’s still just 27 years old and should be entering his prime years. General managers love talent, even if it comes with unfulfilled promise, and Young is a guy that someone is likely to take a chance on.
As is the case with a few potential free agents, however, this case has “buyer beware” written all over it. Young wore out his welcome quickly in Tampa, then was basically given away by the Twins and has now fizzled out in Detroit. Through it all, he’s accumulated exactly 0.6 WAR in his career. At some point, maybe he’s just not going to be a very good major league player.