Rarely do teams within the same division swing trades during the season, but the Twins are all but officially out of the AL Central race and … well, they probably figure sending Delmon Young to the Tigers might actually make Detroit worse anyway.
Minnesota once gave up Matt Garza and Jason Bartlett to get Young from Tampa Bay, but in trading him to Detroit they get left-hander Cole Nelson, who was a 10th-round pick in last year’s draft, and a player to be named later. In other words, the Twins basically just dumped Young now rather than non-tender him for nothing this offseason.
Young had a breakout 2010 season, but took several steps backward this year and finishes his three-plus seasons in Minnesota with a .324 on-base percentage and .429 slugging percentage that were underwhelming enough without factoring in his awful defense in left field.
Young is still just 25 years old and he hits left-handed pitching well enough to provide some value to the Tigers, but his numerous flaws have kept him from becoming an above-average regular, let alone the middle-of-the-order impact bat many projected from the former No. 1 overall pick. For all the talk of his supposed power potential, he’s a swing-at-everything singles hitter with horrendous baseball instincts.
It’s a low-risk move for the Tigers, but Young’s name recognition is bigger than his upside at this point and the Twins smartly realized he wasn’t worth keeping for $6-7 million in 2012. Since he joined the Twins in 2008 the only player in baseball with more plate appearances and a lower Wins Above Replacement is Yuniesky Betancourt.
The Braves have signed former football player and current outfielder Sanders Commings, an Augusta, Georgia native, to a minor league contract, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports.
Commings, 26, was a defensive back who played for the University of Georgia before being selected by the Chiefs in the fifth round of the 2013 draft. He appeared in two games in the 2013 season.
Commings also played baseball for Westside High School and was selected by the Diamondbacks in the 37th round of the 2008 draft. He chose to attend the University of Georgia instead. When football didn’t pan out, Commings started training with Jerry Hairston, Jr. Hairston said he was “blown away” when he saw Commings hit for the first time.
Obviously, Commings’ path to success as a professional baseball player will be long, but it’s a no-risk flier for the Braves. The club has past experience with football players, including Deion Sanders and Brian Jordan.
The next task for the Braves will be to acquire Ryan Goins from the Blue Jays. That way, players will look at the lineup card each day to see if it’s Commings or Goins.
On Thursday afternoon, Rays pitcher Chris Archer asked his Twitter followers, “Lots swirling around what needs to be changed about the game of baseball. What do y’all want to see changed, if anything, & why?”
Tigers ace Justin Verlander responded:
To that, Archer said:
For what it’s worth, Verlander hasn’t been much of a hitter. In 47 career plate appearances, he has three singles and no extra-base hits. And if the AL did get rid of the DH rule, the Tigers would have nowhere to put Victor Martinez. Verlander, though, would have an easier time pitching to opposing pitchers rather than their DH’s.