The name sound familiar, but the uniform and the plethora of home runs are brand new. We all know Delmon Young, but who doesn’t find it incredibly strange to see him starring in the postseason for the Detroit Tigers?
Young has played in eight of the Tigers’ 10 playoff games (he missed a couple games of the ALCS due to an oblique injury). He has eight hits this postseason, but five of those are home runs. That gives him a lopsided .267/.313/.767 slash line. Young homered three times in the ALDS, including two in Game 4. He repeated the multi-homer performance on Thursday night against Texas. With the Tigers facing elimination, Young provided a clutch performance to send the ALCS back to Texas.
Five homers in eight playoff games? Young played more than 10 times that many games for the Twins this year (84), and from April through August he managed only four homers. His line with Minnesota in 2011 was a weak .266/.305/.357. It was a major disappointment, especially following his breakout 2010 campaign in which he went .298/.333/.493 with 21 round-trippers. But the power came back the second he left the team (perhaps proving that the 2011 Twins were cursed). His first game with Detroit was against the Twins, and he went deep off Francisco Liriano. He went on to hit seven more for Detroit in 40 games down the stretch.
Young also played in the playoffs with the Twins in 2009 and 2010, and he went 5 for 24 with no homers.With the Twins he flailed against the same Yankee pitching staff he battered this year. Apparently, the third time was a charm for Young.
Does this mean the Young for Lester Oliveros trade is officially a bust for the Twins? Not necessarily. It certainly was a positive trade for the Tigers – they got a power hitter who helped them run away with the division and helped them advance in the playoffs, which is exactly what they were looking for. But just because one team benefits does not mean the other team loses. It’s possible for both teams to win in a trade. The Twins got rid of Young because they didn’t think it would be worthwhile to keep him after the season (due to arbitration, which would have driven up his salary). And even if they did overpay for him in 2012, a productive season would have made him an expensive free agent afterward. Basically, the Twins weren’t going to have Young for the long term, so they decided to get what they could for him and save a little money in the process. If Lester Oliveros becomes a decent relief pitcher, this trade could be a minor victory for Minnesota as well (of course, they might have scored a bigger victory if they’d traded Young earlier, but no need to cry over that spilled milk).
The ALCS resumes today, and Young will be swinging for the fences again in the hitter-friendly Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. If Young can save the Tigers’ season again, it will be another bittersweet moment for all the Twins fans watching.