Monday, August 15, 2011

The Delmon Young Experiment Ends

Twins fans will never have to watch Delmon Young do this to their team ever again

The Twins have just sent Delmon Young to a divisional rival, Detroit, in return for an uninspiring package.  The Tigers currently have Brennan Boesch, Austin Jackson, and Magglio Ordonez in the outfield, and the word is that Ordonez is the one most likely to lose playing time.  Ordonez has been quite underwhelming this season, as he currently holds a triple slash of .223/.280/.295, but Young hasn't exactly been lighting the world on fire either.

In return, the Twins receive minor league left-hander Cole Nelson and a player to be named later.  Nelson stands 6-7 and weighs 240 pounds, so he's a highly desirable commodity: a projectable left-handed pitcher.  On the other hand, he just hasn't pitched all that well to this point.  I couldn't find him listed on any prospect lists coming into the year, with the most expansive ones I looked at being Bless You Boys' ranking of the top 30 Tiger farmhands and John Sickels' top 20 (plus others under consideration).

Cole Nelson
Nelson grew up in Edina, Minnesota before going to college at Auburn.  The Tigers selected him in the 10th round of the 2010 draft, and he split that season between the Rookie and High-A levels, throwing just 27.1 innings.  2011 has been his first full season, and he's spent it all at high Single-A.  He's managed just a 4.87 ERA and an ugly 1.64 WHIP, along with a mediocre 87-to-50 strikeout-to-walk ratio over 105.1 innings.  All in all Nelson doesn't seem like he's destined to pitch in the big leagues, although his size and handedness keep him relevant.

It's a pretty disappointing return for Delmon Young.  Given that he would command a salary at least in the $6 million range next year, the Twins would be understandably hesitant about tendering him a contract.  Operating under that assumption, it makes sense that Minnesota would want to deal him now, rather than losing him for nothing in the offseason.  However, one would have hoped that the Twins could have gotten more than a marginal prospect and a player to be named later, who's likely even less of a prospect, for a player with Young's pedigree and talent who's still only 25 years old.

Of course Young has actually played horribly, save a power-infused 2010 season.  Other than that he's put together three awful seasons with the Twins, butchering plays in left field, rarely getting on base, and displaying little of the power he was supposed to have.  As it stands the Twins gave up a #2 pitcher, a starting shortstop, and a minor league pitcher for two other non-contributors and the privilege to completely overpay Young for a couple seasons.  And now they've traded Young for two marginal prospects at best.  I honestly can't say what I thought about the original trade, since I didn't write anything about it and I don't remember, but in hindsight it's obvious that it did not work out in the Twins' favor.

Young will be around the Twins for a little longer, though, as Minnesota starts a series with Detroit tonight.  Rene Tosoni has been recalled to take Young's spot on the roster.

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