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The Red Sox have more or less withdrawn from the Edwin Encarnacion sweepstakes, with Evan Drellich of the Boston Herald noting that much of their reluctance hinges on the likelihood that they’d exceed the new $195 million luxury tax threshold by locking the DH into a lucrative deal. That doesn’t leave them without options, however, and FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman reported that the club could be interested in 29-year-old corner infielder Pedro Alvarez, as well as fellow free agents Mike Napoli and Matt Holliday.
After playing just 10 games at DH from 2010 to 2015, Alvarez suited up as the Orioles’ primary designated hitter and part-time third baseman in 2016. His defense is sub-par, to say the least, but he batted .249/.322/.504 with 22 home runs for Baltimore in 2016.
According to Heyman, the Red Sox envision using Alvarez in much the same way the Orioles did. He’d have a place as the team’s DH with the occasional infield start, while Hanley Ramirez would keep his post at first base. Whether the Red Sox make offers to Napoli, Holliday or Alvarez, they’re expected to pursue a short-term deal in order to stay under budget.
The Braves signed left-handed reliever Jacob Lindgren to a one-year deal, according to a team announcement on Sunday.
Lindgren, the Yankees’ top draft pick in 2014, was nicknamed “The Strikeout Factory” after blowing through four levels of New York’s farm system in 2014. He started the 2015 season in Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and was called up for his major league debut only two months into the 2015 season. The 22-year-old lasted seven innings with the club before succumbing to bone chips in his elbow, and underwent bone spur surgery in June before trying his luck again during spring training in 2016.
In August, the Yankees shut Lindgren down for the remainder of the season so the lefty could undergo Tommy John surgery. With a projected return date of 2018, Lindgren was non-tendered by the Yankees on Friday.
While the Braves won’t get the benefit of Lindgren’s top prospect skill set in their bullpen anytime soon, he will remain under club control if they keep him on their 40-man roster beyond the 2017 season (per ESPN’s Keith Law).