Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Twins, arbitration, Delmon Young and Scott Boras

Seth Stohs last night reported that Delmon Young's Facebook page said he and the Twins had reached a contract and avoided an arbitration hearing.
Delmon Young had 68
extra-base hits in 2010.

There's been no official announcement of this and no details, but I see no reason to doubt it. (Addendum: The Star Tribune's LaVelle Neal says it's $5.375 million.) The Twins have typically avoided the confrontational hearings; I believe that since Andy MacPhail took over the the Minnesota front office in 1986, the only arbitration hearings they've had were two with Kyle Lohse.

It's probably not a coincidence that Lohse is also the one multi-year Twin to be represented by Scott Boras, an agent noted for pushing the envelope. The Twins haven't completely avoided dealing with Boras's clients, but they haven't made a habit of signing them either, and have generally only done so when the leverage was almost entirely on the Twins side (as with Kenny Rogers in 2003).

I can't think of a Boras client the Twins have drafted since they used a first round pick on Jason Veritek and failed to sign him. (Maybe Lohse was a Boras client when he turned pro, but I think he hired Boras after his career got going.) Avoiding the agent may make negotiations easier, but he represents a fast-growing share of the top talents, and I suspect that an unofficial policy of bypassing anybody with a Boras connection would prove self-defeating.

As long as the Twins continue to draft in the bottom third every June, it won't be much of an issue.

Getting back to Young (who is not a Boras client): I have a colleague who insists that Young was the Twins MVP last year. Such an assessment overvalues the RBI stat (Young drove in 112 runs). Young did have easily his best year with the bat, but that's only part of the package. Baseball Reference's version of WAR (Wins Above Replacement) puts the 2010 Young at 0.8 WAR, meaning that he should be a reserve -- 2.9 WAR as a hitter, minus 2.1 WAR for his defense.

I'm not sold on the defensive metrics, but I have no doubt that Young is a subpar outfielder. Add that to an on base percentage that even last year was barely above league average (and has always before been well below average) and you have a player with such significant flaws that there is no way for him to be the most important player on a 94-win team.

1 comment:

  1. Delmon carried the team for about 3 weeks last year; they wouldn't have made the playoffs without that him.