Well, for Twins fans, it hopefully includes watching and/or taping the MLB Network (channel 733 in Mpls) today (Friday) at 2PM. That's when "We Are Young" the documentary about Delmon's and Dmitri's family airs. It was on a few months ago, but I completely missed it. I'm looking forward to seeing if it gives any insights. My DVR is set.
You might also want to check out this excellent article in the New York Times by ex-player Doug Glanville about the Young family. He completely relates to older brother Dmitri and gives some further insight on some of the dynamics. He also praises the documentary.
Beyond that? Prepare for a very slow hard road back for Young and the Twins. I listed the traps the Twins and Delmon find themselves in yesterday. And today we find an utter lack of quick solutions.
Solution 1: Send him to the minors
Yesterday we listed why we can't - that stupid contract - and I was asked in the comments just how sure I am that there are no options left. The answer is pretty damn sure. Seth Stohs and I talked about this ad nauseum over the offseason, and he had a source within the Twins confirm that Young had no options left.
That raises the question as to why the Twins had Young sign a 'split' contract during the offseason, which dictates different salaries for time in the majors versus time in the minors. And I still don't know the answer to that.
It was also suggested that the Twins find some way of finagling Young down to the minors, possibly using an DL move. That's a great solution, in a deus ex machina kind of way. But as I mentioned yesterday, it's also a very short term solution, and he needs more than a quick tune-up. There's no evidence he ever mastered Triple-A, and a short trip there isn't going to make much difference. And of course, all of those methods require a player's consent, and there's no indication that Young is open to returning to Triple-A. Especially, I suppose, given that split contract.
Solution 2: Trade him
And get what, exactly?
The Twins apparently went down this road this offseason and couldn't find any value. Since then, Young has performed worse, played less, and grown more expensive. So what exactly do you think you're going to get for him?
Solution 3: Move him to right field
It doesn't necessarily help his offensive development to play right field, but at least you don't need to factor in the atrocious defense when deciding how much he plays. But right now both Michael Cuddyer and Jason Kubel are SIGNIFICANTLY more valuable than Young, though I suppose it would be fine starting Young over Kubel versus southpaws.
Could you trade one of them? Sure, but why the hell would you? We're not talking about a game or two dropoff, like we are when we compare him to the equally overmatched Carlos Gomez. You're giving away 200-300 points of OPS right now substituting Young for Cuddyer or Kubel. That's just nuts.
Solution 4: Play him everyday
This was my solution as little as a couple of weeks ago. The problem is that this too has been tried. He had 600+ plate appearances. None of them are going to do any good if he keeps clutching the "look pa, just arms" approach he has at the plate. If anything all those plate appearances seem to reinforce that his approach is valid. Which makes you want to...
Solution 5: Bench him
By going into the season with a crowded outfield, the Twins left themselves this option. So far the times to play Young are determined on the matchup or whether or not at-bats are being distributed fairly. That's noble, but I'd advocate more Skinnerian method. When Young starts getting serious about modifying his plate approach, you reward him with plate appearances. Until then, we'll play with 24 guys.
(And Nick, before you ask, no, this doesn't mean I'm advocating playing Gomez full time. He NEEDS instruction in Rochester. We are ruining this kid with our short-term fixation. I'm starting to get truly angry as I seem him flop around at the plate like a boated carp. His OBP this month is .259. It's become borderline cruel.
Bring up Morales to DH and move Kubel to LF. Or anything else, really. Talk about something that needs to be a priority. Untracking Gomez from becoming the most talented fourth outfielder in the league needs to be a priority.)
Is that a little harsh? Sure. Maybe even spiteful. But this is what I mean when I say fixing Young needs to be a priority. I don't particularly care if he provides much benefit for the next few months, or even early into next year. The focus needs to be in getting those quick wrists to put up a respectable corner-outfieldish 850 OPS late next year and grow from there.
And I have no problem waiting for that turnaround to happen. If it doesn't, he can spend the next 3.5 years getting a couple of hundred at-bats versus lefties. Gawd knows with fairly pathetic offensive totals arbitration won't make him expensive. And if he does turn things around, we'll figure out where to play him in the field, or whether it then makes sense to move someone else.
That is what I mean when I say we're talking about a very slow hard road back. That's all the more reason to get started now.
You know what is NOT going to be a very slow hard road? This weekend's trip to Wrigley. On the contrary, it's going to go way too fast.
To all of you Twins fans who are already there, you can rest assured that at 1:20 I will be eating my heart out of pure jealousy. I'm not ruling out tears. A sunny Friday afternoon game at Wrigley watching the Twins - this is what I think of when I think of heaven. Except the players are all dressed in glowing white robes. And nobody is throwing up on my feet.
The Voice of Reason and I will be flying in (way too) early on Saturday and we have tickets with two other friends for the bleachers on Saturday afternoon. We'll be playing in Wrigleyville following the game (and possibly before, depending on whether there is batting practice or not). If you bump in to me, feel free to do two things:
1) Buy TVOR a beer and
2) Promise me you won't talk to me about Delmon Young. I'm done with that subject for awhile.
Finally, if you haven't already, I'd encourage you to sign up for the Twins Geek Twitter. I'll admit I have been very inconsistent in updating it, but I'm really hoping to have a blow-by-blow account of the Chicago trip, and at the very least we'll update the various watering holes we are visiting.
I gotta say, I am really excited about turning Wrigleyville into Twins Territory. Let's do this right, people.