Jim Souhan has annoyed me, many many times. Not all of those instances have been documented, but a good chunk have. And when it comes to Delmon Young, Souhan gets particularly troublesome. That has been the case since he decried the Young/Harris trade (in which the Twins gave up Garza/Bartlett) as a "disaster."
Now, as the Twins head into the All-Star Break, with hopes of finding their starting pitching again (after playing really, really well for the first two months of the season), Souhan has the solution. Trade Delmon Young! That's his solution to everything, much like Homer Simpson's solution to everything is to live under the sea.
But wait, you might say--the Twins put together a pretty decent package for Cliff Lee (reports suggest that it involved Slowey and catching prospect Wilson Ramos) and didn't get him--who's left to trade for? That's a reasonable question. One that Souhan responds to with: Roy Oswalt. Even though Souhan himself ID's a lot of issues with that suggestion, even as he minimizes them:
Landing Oswalt would take some work, perhaps even some recruiting. He has a no-trade clause, probably favors pitching in the National League and the Mississippian probably wants to stay in the South.
Are those all the problems associated with getting him? Or has Oswalt also publicly stated that he hates Minnesota for all their constant bragging about all of their lakes, too? Because let's really put a nail in this coffin of an idea, already. That's never going to happen. Take some work? He has a no-trade clause! NEVER GOING TO HAPPEN.
But let's get back to the crux of the matter--Souhan's anti-Delmon issues.
Let's start at, logically enough, the beginning.
A farm system filled with unpolished prospects cost the Twins a chance to trade for Cliff Lee, the best pitcher available via trade. Finishing no better than third in the competition for Lee while watching their rotation crumble like aged bleu cheese should nudge our newly ambitious franchise toward these realizations:
That's not what killed the Twins chances of getting Cliff Lee at all. Their unwillingness to trade a player the quality of Justin Smoak is what killed their chances, and they were right to let it. The Rangers handed out some nice prospects to be sure, but it wasn't the prospects that made the deal--it was a willingness to give up a guy like Smoak--who isn't hitting for average very well, but is all of 23 years old, has 18 extra base hits, and promises to be a first baseman for the future. He's not a "prospect"--he's been in the majors, and shown he can do it.
The Rangers overpaid, and the Twins let them. That's cool.
But let's get to the belittling of Delmon, which is something that Souhan really excels at.
Young may never have more value, and whatever wonderful reviews he has prompted this season, he still may not be worthy of the franchise's trust, considering that his fielding has again become shoddy and that he's still less than a year removed from the day when he tried to charge into his own dugout to beat up Jose Mijares.
First things first--Mijares borderline deserved that charge.
"Whatever wonderful reviews"? Could there be a more dismissive way of describing a guy, who heads into the All-Star Break hitting over .300, with 10 HR, with 58 RBI, and a fielding percentage just below .980?
That's 2 less RBI than he had all of last year; he already has 2 more doubles than he did all last year. Hell, Young has stolen two more bases already (4 vs 2) than he did all last year. He's drawn more walks than he did all last year (and that's the key stat, folks)--Young has gotten more patient at the plate, he's dropped a ton of weight from last year, and has been keeping it off throughout the year. You may look at Delmon's age (24), and his stats, and see a young player who has learned to be patient at the plate, and has been rewarded for that patience. A player on the threshold of being an All-Star, even.
Not Jim Souhan, though. He sees a guy who is peaking at age 24, and will cost the Twins a lot of money to re-sign (as opposed to the rent-a-player, Roy Oswalt, who will cost $16 million next season). Don't worry about it, Souhan says--guys under the age of 25 who hit over .300, 20 HR, and drive in 100 runs (as Delmon is likely to do) grow on trees--"Replacing a corner outfielder is much easier than finding an ace, especially in an organization with Michael Cuddyer, Jason Kubel, Ben Revere and Aaron Hicks in the fold."
Hey, remember that time Souhan said that the reason the Twins couldn't get Cliff Lee was because they didn't have any good prospects in the minors? I do--it was earlier in this exact same column--and yet, here we've got Ben Revere and Aaron Hicks in the fold, who can easily do what Delmon Young does. Why aren't they trade bait? Because they haven't done anything?
But he's not done insulting Delmon Young--here's a comparison that goes without stats in a major newspaper column, because Jesus Christ, would the stats get in the way of the comparison:
The Twins need to treat Young the way they treated Bobby Kielty, another talented young hitter coveted by other organizations. After Kielty played horribly in right field during a series in Anaheim before the All-Star break in 2003 (much the way Young kicked the ball around in Toronto this week), the Twins traded him to Toronto for Shannon Stewart.
Bobby Kielty? Really? Where to begin?
Bobby Kielty had one year in which he hit over .280 (2002--.291). Delmon has had, at age 24, in five years in the Major Leagues, FIVE YEARS in which he has hit .280 or better.
Bobby Kielty, who played seven years in the Majors, had 53 career home runs; Delmon, in 4.5 years, has 48. Delmon already has more hits and doubles than Kielty finished his career with.
Bobby Kielty, in his best year, drove in 57 runs. Delmon Young has topped that total 4 times in his 5 years in the majors--the year he didn't was his rookie year, in which he appeared in only 30 games.
What else? Delmon has more triples than Kielty; more doubles; more than 100 more hits. In two years less playing time. Comparing the two is ridiculous.
"But wait a minute, Big Blue Monkey, you are being unfair--he's not comparing Delmon to Bobby Kielty; he's comparing him to Shannon Stewart," is maybe what you are saying right now. First of all, dear reader, fuck you--that's not what he's saying at all. Second of all, dear reader, fuck you, I'm getting to that.
Let's quickly bring into focus what Souhan says about that trade: That remains one of the best trades in Twins history.
Fair enough, but what did Shannon Stewart bring to that team? In that magical year of 2003, Shannon Stewart came in, and played great. Fielding wise, he was perfect for the Twins, and finished the year at .984, or .006 better than Delmon right now.
Shannon had 13 HR for the entire year--one more than Delmon does right now. Shannon had 73 RBI to finish the year; again, compare to Delmon's 58 right now. Shannon struck out 66 times; Delmon is right now at 36. I could go on and on, but the matter is completed, as far as I'm concerned. Delmon Young is better than the player the Twins gave up in 2003 (Bobby Kielty) and better than the player they got (Shannon Stewart) and he's all of 24 years old. Will he be expensive to re-sign? Yes, yes he will. But if this team is serious about contending, you have to ignore idiot newspaper men who think that giving away a .300 hitting, power threat who can drive in 100 RBI this year is a brilliant thing to do. It certainly makes more sense than giving that guy away for a 32 year old who will cost you more than $15 Million and who's Innings Pitched/Year has gone down for the last four years.
Jim Souhan has a hard-on for getting Delmon the fuck out of town, and I don't know why. Did Delmon banana tailpipe Souhan? Did he show him up in a particularly pitched battle of Settlers of Cattan? Whatever the reason for Souhan's dislike of Delmon Young, he should stop pretending it makes sense, and write about something else. Anything else.
Thanks for linking to "Settlers of Cattan" because I was like whaaaa?
Sounds like a mash of monopoly and D&D. Hello, ladies!
sure you were, buddy.
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