Friday, December 05, 2008

Delmon Silliness and Other Winter Rumors

Somehow I missed all the swirl going on about Delmon Young, and frankly, I kind of wish I had continued that trend. It started with a report on Wednesday from Mike McKeely in the Fargo Forum, in which Gardenhire stated that his three top outfielders didn't include Delmon Young. There's been a ton of speculation about this, so you might want to check out the original source.

The hot stove addicts want to believe this means that Young is on his way out the door. However, after reading the actual story, it sounds to me like Gardenhire is just giving fair warning. Last year he ended up having precious little leverage in any showdown with Young, because he had so few healthy outfielders. That doesn't look to be the case this year.

In fact, not only was Young in no danger of spending time in Rochester last year, he wasn't even in danger of losing playing time. He was the second best outfielder available, no matter what Gardenhire says publicly. If Gardy really liked Young more than Gomez, he could've benched Young at the end of August when Gomez found himself out of the lineup multiple times. For that matter, Young led all Twins outfielders in plate appearances for chrissakes.

The rumors about Young are juicy, and I'm not saying he absolutely won't be traded, but unless there is something seriously terrible going on under the covers, the Twins are going to need to be blown away for a trade to occur. Hell, ask yourself: what would you trade the 23-year-old Young's remaining four years of service for? One year of Adrian Beltre? Two years of Garret Atkins? Four years of Kevin Kouzmanoff? I can't imagine him being traded for any of these.

Instead, I'm taking this as a warning shots across the S.S. Young's bow, and that's a good thing. If Gardenhire wants to try and convince Young that he needs to change his habits, that's fine with me. Maybe Young wasn't ready for the majors just yet, and maybe he needs to spend some time back in AAA learning how to hit the ball hard, or track balls in left field. It certainly won't cause Gardenhire any sleepless nights. This year, he'll have his outfielders.

Other Rumors.....

Carpenter Injury Results Shape Cards' Approach
The Cardinals might very well be looking for pitching, and their third baseman is right-handed slugger Troy Glaus who is still signed for one more year and hit 29 home runs with 99 RBI. That's the good news. The bad news is that Glaus has a full no-trade clause (which he's already waived once) and the Cardinals don't really have a replacement for him. Oh, and there is his poor defense. Unless we start hearing rumors about the Cards needing to dump salary, it's a long shot.

White Sox Rumors: Dye, Cabrera, Roberts
Tigers Rumors: Everett, Laird, Garcia
Boy, there are all kinds of stuff about the Tigers and White Sox. Each team deserves more energy than I have tonight. Let's move on to....

Giants Interested In Encarnacion
John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer thinks that Reds third baseman Edwin Encarnacion is the most likely player on their team to be traded. Encarnacion is (stop me if you've heard this before) a right-handed slugging third baseman with poor defensive skills. He's also just 25 years old, won't be eligible for arbitration until next year, and won't be a free agent until after 2012.

He's not a terribly polished hitter, with a career average of .266 (and just .251 last year). But he's averaged a homerun every 24 at-bats in his career, and his season home run total has climbed every year. He knows how to take a walk, drawing 61 of them last year, with a career 2:1 ratio. And he kills lefties (though he has struggled against right-handers). He isn't the big right-handed bat the Twins would like to plug between Joe Mauer and Justing Morneau, but he could be a big piece of the Twins puzzle for the Twins for the next four years.

Phillies, Mets Interested In Punto
If you like Nick Punto as a Twin, believe it or not, this is very good news. Neither the Phillies or the Mets needs a shortstop - they're pretty happy with a coupla guys named Rollins and Reyes. So they're likely fishing for utility infielders. Punto is (and should be) looking for a full-time starting job at shorstop, where he would be most valuable. Options like these are fallback positions, nothing more, and a similar position on the Twins with a manager that loves him would probably be much more appealing to him.

That's it for tonight. Look for another update soon and maybe for some nightly podcasts as the winter meetings heat up.

4 comments:

TT said...

To be fair, this story really gtot blown out of proportion by Howard Sinker, pseudo-fan columnist, at the STRIB. Then it was off and to the races as the blogsphere responded.

The idea of sending Young to the minor leagues hadn't occurred to me. Does Young have options left? He was signed to a major league contract and was optioned three times to the minor leagues. So I don't think he does, unless there is some reason he has four options.

John said...

TT,

I don't know for sure. I remember looking into this question in the middle of this last year and concluding that he did have some options left, but your reasoning sounds right. Maybe he doesn't.

Anonymous said...

If Delmon's first contract was a major league contract, then he should have a fourth option. Same rule applied to Phillip Humber for 2008.

David Wintheiser said...

I don't think options are the critical thing for Young -- according to Cot's Baseball Contracts, the five-year deal he signed with the Rays when he was drafted expired at the end of the season. He played in the minors in 2004 and 2005, but he was playing under a major league contract, so it's hard to know exactly what his optional assignment status is. However, the more important piece is, have the Twins offered Young arbitration for 2009 or otherwise already extended his contract?