Reviewing the Delmon Young Trade: Was It Still the Right Thing to Do?

To be sure, we're asking a different question. When the Twins dealt Delmon Young to the Tigers last month, many people were so frustrated with the Twins and with Delmon's terrible performance that it was a fairly common opinion that it was the right thing to do. I was one of those people. In general, Twinkie Town front page writers certainly weren't opposed to the trade and understood it...even if they weren't necessarily big fans of the idea. I still kind of like Lester Oliveros.

In 2010 Young broke out, with his .298/.333/.493 performance. He tagged 46 doubles, 21 homers, and was the big right-handed run producer with 112 RBI. It was his age-24 season. There was reason for optimism. It faded quickly, as we know, as he hit just .266/.305/.357 with the Twins this season.

From June 1 to when he was dealt, on August 13, Delmon had been doing better. In those 51 games he hit .302/.345/.423. It still wasn't that good, since a corner outfielder who plays bad defense and doesn't hit for power isn't really dubbed desireable, but it was an improvement.

And let's get something else straight. While Delmon destroyed Minnesota down the stretch (13-for-36 in nine games with a pair of homers), his overall line to the end of the season with the Tigers was still just .274/.298/.458. Yes, he got some of his power back, and he did pick up a couple of big hits for Detroit. But was it enough to make the Twins regret trading him?

Absolutely not.

Yet here we are in October, watching Delmon play for the Tigers. For a team that, realistically, could beat the Yankees. It's something the Twins haven't done in the playoffs in my lifetime. So it's understandable if there are a few people out there shaming Minnesota for dealing him. We're stuck at home in October, watching a guy we traded hit a home run (which wasn't really awesome on its own) against the hated Yankees (which made it totally awesome and we remember it).

The Twins were a terrible team before they traded Delmon this season. They were a terrible team without him. Having him on the team would have changed nothing, and even if he had stayed in Minnesota and finished stronger than he did in Detroit, it's still likely the Twins would have non-tendered him this winter anyway. Because for the money he'd be making, he just isn't reliable enough to be the guy this club would have needed him to be.

Ultimately, my opinion of the Delmon trade still hasn't changed. Was the return great? No. Am I happy the Twins traded him? I'm more or less impartial about it. On August 21 I said this:

...but the biggest factor in all of this as far as I'm concerned is what the Twins do with that money in the off-season.

...and I think that still sums it up for me. If the Twins spend wisely this season, I'm going to be totally fine with the Delmon trade.

Good luck tonight, Delmon. May the baseball gods bless your swing, and may the baseball hit the solid area of your swiss cheese bat. Go 4-for-4 with a pair of homers. Beat the Yankees.

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