Oct 7, 2012; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Tigers designated hitter Delmon Young (21) at bat during game two of the 2012 ALDS against the Oakland Athletics at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-US PRESSWIRE
We all knew this was going to happen – neither Delmon Young nor Jose Valverde ended up being worth close to what they were paid in 2012 – but I still maintained a fear that one, or both, of these players would somehow find there way back on to the roster in too big of a role, and for too much money.
The nightmare has been washed away now. Dave Dombrowski said in today’s press conference that the team has no interest in re-signing either player during the free agency period. No “we’re trying to work out a deal”, no “maybe we’ll talk to them”, not even a “we’ll see what happens”. It was, apparently, a fairly adamant denial that either player would wear the Olde English D again next season.
The fear wasn’t so strong for Valverde – everyone saw the same thing in the playoffs, and no one wants any part of that action – but, after the October that Young had, I feared that he would again be dubbed “an RBI guy” or a “clutch bat” and worm his way back on to the team and into the everyday lineup. The Tigers need a corner outfielder, and Delmon has stood in that position and mimed playing it in the past (as recently as THIS WORLD SERIES), so the idea that the Tigers brass might tag him to fill the role (and also pay him money to do it!) haunted me incessantly. Those are seriously scary thoughts. Don’t think them, even during Halloween week, even when you might be looking for spine-tingling frights.
This is the part where I appreciate the quality results that Young’s bat provided in the playoffs. And now this is the part where I recall the season’s worth of the hack-hack-hacking that lead to the Tigers getting replacement level production out of the designated hitter position – in the five hole, no less. Thanks for all you did, but don’t let the door hit you on your way out.
So, what did we learn from all this? (1) I should have trusted Dombrowski and the Tigers’ front office more, they do deserve it. That’s my bad, but they were the ones that brought both player back in 2012 to begin with. (2) Don’t pay for “RBIs” when the secondary numbers say the hitter isn’t all that great. (3) “Proven closers” can turn to crap in the blink of an eye. Paying for gaudy save totals or percentages probably isn’t wise either. (4) The stats you should pay for are the ones that most closely describe a player’s talent level (OBP, SLG, K%, BB%, etc.), not the ones that describe the context in which he played (W, SV, RBI, etc.).