At the start of the 2006 season the Tigers had a log jam at first base with Dmitri Young, Carlos Pena, and Chris Shelton set to man that position and DH. Pena was jettisoned in the spring, while Dmitri Young battled legal and substance abuse problems spending a chunk of the season on the DL in rehab. Meanwhile Chris Shelton was ripping the ball in April putting up Ruthian numbers.
Fast forward to September 2006. Dmitri Young is released during a rain delay, Chris Shelton is toiling in the minors, and the Tigers have traded for Sean Casey who isn’t hitting a lick.
Fast forward to October 2007. Chris Shelton is still in the minors as he used up his last option year. Sean Casey slugged on the wrong side of .400 when as a first baseman .400 is the wrong side of .500. And Dmitri Young and Carlos Pena win comeback player of the year awards in their respective leagues.
You can lament the Tigers moves, but they were also defensible. Young had a lot of problems last year, and they were problems he wasn’t solving in Detroit. And while I was against releasing Pena, he floundered all of last year and barely sniffed playing time with the Yankees and Red Sox and was even cut this year in Tampa. Again, I don’t think he has this type of season if he’s still with Detroit.
So instead of being frustrated, I’ll simply say congratulations to Dmitri Young for getting his life and career back on track. And congratulations to Carlos Pena for realizing his potential before it was too late.