A Brief Farewell to the (Non) Value of Delmon Young

I’m going to start out by apologizing; I’ve been very negligent to you all these past few months. It’s gotten to the point where quite a few of you have sent me e-mails and tweets asking if I’ve perished in some horrible building fire where the last thing I did was, ahem – not – write a 1000 word long rant on the Tigers meaningless off season thus far. In fact, I had planned to write a recap for each player who donned a Tiger uniform in 2012 and publish them inside a Walkoff Woodward hyperlink. The fact that I have not is due to a project that I did not expect to undertake, a novel, if you will, one that has taken up the bulk of my free time.

But, that’s enough of my excuses, as we have learned that the bane of all my existence, circa 2012, has risen from the depths of his winter vacation and signed with the Philadelphia Phillies for an, ahem – paltry – $750K. Delmon Young earned $6.75M last year with Detroit, a seemingly insurmountable sum considering his offensive – and defensive – contributions or lack thereof.

Despite posting a -0.7 offensive WAR (using baseball reference) and a -1.7 defensive WAR (again with baseball reference) to post an overall WAR contribution of -1.2 (yes, yes baseball reference), Mr. Young did provide the baseball community with a bit of fuel during the postseason, as he launched three home runs after the Division series ended and became the team’s all-time leader in postseason home runs with eight (Miguel Cabrera has six and is still on the team so I expect this to be broken quite soon). However, this left a couple people wondering if Young would build on those few circumstantial swings, at least enough to earn a couple of guaranteed million this off season. Obviously that didn’t happen. Now that we have learned that not only will he will earn $750K – up to $3.5M if he reaches certain undisclosed incentives – but we’ve also learned that he will be the everyday right fielder for the Phillies, at least, that’s what they hope he will be after he returns from the disabled list.

Even though it isn’t an exact replacement, as Young was a primary DH and will actually be replaced in the lineup by the far more professional Victor Martinez who was already on the team, fans will forever link Young’s departure to Torii Hunter’s arrival, if nothing more because the team let one player go and signed one who played a similar position. If nothing else, in Torii Hunter they significantly upgrade their outfield defense. He doesn’t even need to play the outfield for their defense to improve, his mere presence means that Delmon Young will not be around to threaten left field, and that is an admirable quality, alone probably worth the $26m they’re paying him over the next two years.

Thus ends the Delmon Young Saga. A mere blip on the Tigers radar, a small brown turd in the history of the franchise. But Tigers fans will always remember that from August of 2011 to October of 2012 we were forced to fear for plays like this every time Young took to the field.

(I apologize for the foolhardy link but I’m dealing with a very temperamental internet connection that won’t just post a simple .gif and have decided to do that rather than punch my computer in its face.)

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