Posted on: August 15, 2011 4:05 pm
Edited on: August 15, 2011 4:11 pm
In hindsight, the highlight in outfielder Delmon Young's tenure with the Twins came in the spring of 2010, his first day in camp, when he arrived in noticeably better shape than he had been in '09.
"We re-signed Carl Pavano, so I know I'm going to be running quite a bit [chasing balls in the outfield]," Young quipped upon arrival.
It was a funny line but, alas, the optimism of even an in-shape Young was never fully realized in Minnesota. And when the Twins finally shipped him to Detroit on Monday, it capped months of quiet effort on their part to move him in a market that never materialized.
So Young joins the pennant race in Detroit for spare parts -- minor-league lefty Cole Nelson and a player to be named later -- in an intradivision AL Central trade that is attention-grabbing for two reasons: One, because it's rare to see division rivals swap players, especially this close to the stretch run. And two, because it's a clear signal that the Twins, a team that never gives up, are cashing in their chips on 2011.
It's another smooth move for the Tigers, adding depth to an already potent lineup (fifth in the AL in runs scored) that can use an immediate boost because it is ailing. Carlos Guillen (sore wrist) is back on the disabled list and outfielder Brennan Boesch (sprained right thumb) has not started in any of the Tigers' past four games. Meantime, designated hitter Victor Martinez has been playing with a sprained knee and Magglio Ordonez has been looking tired, driving in just four runs so far this month.
Also, the Tigers traded outfielder Casper Wells to Seattle last month for starting pitcher Doug Fister.
Still, the Tigers remain in the drivers' seat in a nip-and-tuck AL Central, leading Cleveland by just 2 1/2 games and stuck-in-neutral Chicago by four games. Both the Indians and the White Sox are close enough to make a serious move, especially given Detroit's current thinned-out lineup due to injury and the Wells deal.
Young gives manager Jim Leyland a veteran piece with playoff experience, and maybe the new surroundings will help jump-start a man whose brother, Dmitri Young, is a Tigers alum. Young, after working himself into perhaps the best shape of his life in 2010, batted .298 with 21 homers and 112 RBI. However, so far in 2011, he's hitting just .266 with four homers and 32 RBIs.
Young's diminishing returns and increasing salary has had the Twins open to trading him at least as far back as last winter. He's earning $5.375 million this summer and is arbitration-eligible again this winter. Minnesota now can use that money for any number of things, from plugging in holes elsewhere on the roster (they rank 13th in the AL in runs scored, and their 4.65 bullpen ERA is last in the AL) to perhaps taking a run at re-signing Michael Cuddyer, who is a free agent this winter.
Ironically, the Twins open a three-game series in Detroit this evening. So Young does not have to travel too far to join his new team.
Posted on: April 23, 2010 12:28 am
ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Detroit left fielder Carlos Guillen, who has been plagued by injuries over the past two seasons, left Thursday night's game here in the fifth inning with a left hamstring strain. There was no immediate word on whether the injury would land him on the disabled list.
Guillen, 34, was injured while rounding third on Scott Sizemore's single up the middle in the fifth inning. After initially pulling up, he tried to resume running but was no match for the throw that easily nailed him at the plate.
In a Tigers' lineup that has had difficulty getting its footing in the early part of the season, Guillen was hitting .311 with one homer and six RBI. He singled and doubled in three at-bats in Thursday night's game.
Posted on: July 14, 2008 10:32 pm
NEW YORK -- The skies are even friendlier, apparently, on Tiger Airlines.
After Minnesota finished taking three of four in Detroit over the weekend, the three Twins' All-Star representatives -- first baseman Justin Morneau, catcher Joe Mauer and closer Joe Nathan -- were invited by Tigers manager Jim Leyland to fly to New York on a special charter.
It was Detroit owner Mike Ilitch's private plane, which the Little Caesar's pizza magnate had arranged to fly Leyland, an All-Star coach, and infielder Carlos Guillen to New York.
"That was really nice of him," Mauer said. "We got a little delayed, but it was really nice of him to do."
Air Ilitch, like many other planes carrying All-Stars, was delayed by a couple of hours Sunday night because of thunderstorms in the New York area.
"Saved us from having to go through security at the airport," Morneau said. "Leyland is a great guy. He's a great manager. I don't know if I was driving him nuts or not. I was asking him questions the whole flight."
Among the things Morneau wanted to know: Who's the best player Leyland ever managed?
Answer: Barry Bonds. "Hands down," Leyland told Morneau.
Posted on: March 23, 2008 3:58 pm
Edited on: March 23, 2008 8:39 pm
Turns out, Miguel Cabrera not only cost Detroit half of its farm system (almost) in this winter's monster deal with Florida, but also a good percentage of owner Mike Ilitch's Little Caesars pizza money to keep him wearing the Olde English D for the next eight years.
So, is Cabrera worth it?
Heck, yes. By all means. Mark this down as a great day for the Tigers: They didn't even have to annex Michigan's Upper Peninsula, or sell the Ambassador Bridge, to pay Cabrera's freight.
It took a lot of (pizza) dough -- $152.3 million over eight years -- but this is the gift that will keep on giving. Cabrera is only 24 (he turns 25 in on April 18), the numbers from his first five seasons in the majors compare favorably to those of Hank Aaron and if he continues at this pace, he's a definite Hall of Famer.
And from what we've seen this spring, there is every reason to believe that Cabrera will continue produce at this level -- or even higher.
What I saw this spring when I was with the Tigers in Lakeland was a new man, which should be scary news for American League pitchers. Remember how tumultuous last season was at times in Florida with Cabrera, when he was overweight and developed a reputation for periodic loafing?
Yes, it's only spring and yes, things could change, but those days seem long gone.
For one thing, you should see Cabrera now: He changed his workout regimen and his diet beginning immedately after last season, and his body is so much leaner now. Plus, there's no question he's in a better situation, and I think that will help him in every area -- starting upstairs, mentally.
Surrounded by Detroit's productive veterans -- especially countryman Carlos Guillen -- Cabrera has veterans to show him the way professionals do things, and to get after him if he takes a mental day off.
Playing for manager Jim Leyland, he will learn and grow under one of the finest minds in the game -- and from a gruff, no-nonsense manager who commands respect and will not tolerate players going through the motions.
In short, as Cabrera reaches the next level financially, he's surrounded by people who will continue to push him to the next level of greatness, and not let him settle. We already know he has the talent.
With Ramirez in the heart of their order, Boston has racked up two World Series wins in the past four seasons.
With A-Rod, the Yankees haven't won, but they've played in October each year he's been there.
Ramirez, now 36, is about to enter his twilight. A-Rod, 32, is in his prime.
Cabrera, based on his age, may not yet even be in his prime.
Considering that he hit .320 with 34 RBI and 119 RBI for the Marlins last season, he's got a realistic chance at becoming baseball's first Triple Crown winner since 1967, when Boston's Carl Yastrzemski did it.
He also helps put Detroit in position to win its first World Series since 1984 -- perhaps even as soon as this year.
That'll be a large with everything, please.