Thursday, November 1, 2012

Around the division: Detroit Tigers

Delmon Young, erstwhile Minnesota Twin, was probably still circling the bases with his game-tying homer in the final game of the World Series when one of my tweeps opined that he'd just won a multi-year deal that the signing team would regret by the middle of April.

Maybe so. But if so, it won't be with Detroit. David Dombrowski said Tuesday the Tigers would not re-sign Young or closer Jose Valverde.

Delmon Young was 15-for-54 in the postseason, with
three home runs and a .481 slugging percentage.
These are decisions based not on October heroics (Young) or failures (Valverde), but on clear-headed evaluation of the players' abilities — and the ability of the organization to replace them.

Young for the season hit .267/.296/.411, which isn't acceptable production from a designated hitter, and that outweighs the impressive numbers he's put up in the past two postseasons. Besides, the Tigers have Victor Martinez returning next year from his knee reconstruction, and V-Mart's catching days are almost certainly over. There's no room at the DH inn for Young, and his outfielding "skills" aren't helping him either.

(Martinez is a better hitter than Young, but man, that figures to be a painfully slow relay team in the middle of the Detroit batting order — Miguel Cabrera, Prince Fielder, and Martinez.)

Valverde had a rocky 2012 in general — his ERA rose from 2.24 in 2011 to 3.78 — and he absolutely fell apart in the playoffs (2.2 innings, nine runs, all earned).

The Tigers probably feel that they got away with one here, that Papa Grande was on the brink of collapse all season and finally did so at the end.

Dombrowski spoke of prospect Bruce Rondon as a possible successor in the glory job. The Tigers have certainly been more aggressive about promoting prospects than the Twins are, so it's a genuine possibility.

But I wouldn't be surprised if the Tigers threw more of owner Mike Ilitch's money at a veteran. It just won't be Valverde.

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