Jun 28, 2013; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Philadelphia Phillies third baseman Michael Young (10) in the dugout after scoring a run in the first inning of the game against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Athletics at the Trade Deadline: Warming to the Idea of Michael Young

Michael Young has more hits versus the Oakland Athletics than he has versus any other team in the Major Leagues.  Without a doubt he was a thorn in the side of the A’s for more than a decade.  Young has made a reputation of coming up huge in tough situations, helping lead his team to victories time and time again.  Perhaps none more noteworthy than his clutch triple in the top of the 9th inning of the 2006 All-Star Game that gave the AL the lead, and eventually the win.

Michael Young is pictured in the dictionary next to the phrase “professional hitter,” although I strongly dislike a vague description like that – it fits in this case.  Michael Young brings more to the table than his statistics could possibly show.

So it makes you wonder just why the Texas Rangers shipped him off to Philadelphia after two years of attempting to unload him.  The simple fact is, Michael Young is getting older, he’s 36 and his skills have diminished.  The Phillies are in the midst of a lost season, one in which a lot of money is being spent and not many wins are being tallied.  They have won just enough games for there to be some doubt about whether they’re buyers or sellers in the trade market, but this recent skid of theirs may put the final nail in the coffin of their season.

I covered the possibility of acquiring Chase Utley last month, and there hasn’t been much in the way of discussion about him since.  So while the prized acquisition may not be available, a very capable substitute may be the most available player on the Phillies roster.

I haven’t been a big endorser of the notion of bringing in Michael Young, as his production has sharply declined over the last couple seasons.  But this season he has rebounded somewhat, posting a .283/.346/.413 with a .322 wOBA and a wRC+ of 110.  He’s slightly above average overall, and would prove to be a definite upgrade over the likes of Adam Rosales or the sadly struggling Grant Green as perhaps the right handed half of a platoon with Eric Sogard at second base.  He hasn’t played a single game there this season, but he won’t be relied upon to play there every day.  Surely his defense will not impress anyone, but I promise he wouldn’t go o’fer like Green did.

The price tag for Young would likely be nothing more than a mediocre prospect unless Phillies GM Ruben Amaro has completely lost his marbles, which could be the case considering the contract Jonathan Papelbon currently has.  The addition of Michael Young would serve a dual purpose for the A’s, providing some stability in the middle infield, and providing some indispensable experience and leadership to a young club as it embarks on the final two months of the regular season.

The theme for the last few weeks has been encouraging Billy Beane to swing for the fences on behalf of the Athletics, but perhaps in this case a Michael Young-esque “professional at bat” might do the trick.

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  • Eric Reining

    As a Rangers’ fan, I can tell you Michael Young is probably the most overrated player in the history of the organization, and whatever Billy Beane is thinking over this next week, it certainly won’t have anything to do with the overrated former Face Of The Franchise, or so the legend says.

    Jon Daniels tried to unload him three different times because, quite frankly, early on he realized Michael Young wasn’t worth anything even remotely close to his 5-year, $80 million contract. And that was the last impacting mistake JD made.

    Truth be told, Young isn’t only overrated for simple facts like (a) his inability to hit for much power, (b) his inability to draw many walks, or that he has Little League-caliber range in the infield, and hands made purely from stone;

    No, he’s overrated because the perception of his character will always be lightyears better than what he really is, in reality. He complained through the media when Elvis Andrus was called up to move him off SS; he complained through the media when Adrian Beltre was acquired, thus moving him off 3B;

    Even when his skills were diminishing, he was selfish enough to call out his organization for gathering better players to help the team win. Always considered a team player, always considered a leader, yet whenever the moment got hot, he felt everyone owed him something. He put himself in front of the team. That’s not a team player; that’s an asshole you don’t want on your team.

    The A’s have a fantastic group of players. And they get along just fine. They don’t need Michael Young’s #leadership or #intangibles; they need something real. A substantial upgrade. If they are going to go after an infielder, it should be another solid player — offensively and defensively — who can blend in.

    • SeanD25

      I really had no idea that there was this much controversy surrounding his exit from Texas. Truly gives me pause about endorsing an acquisition like that. This was a really well thought out comment and I want to express my appreciation for it and also say thanks for not screaming at me and saying I’m an idiot like people are apt to do in forums like this. I also love that your avatar is Perry.

      • Eric Reining

        Haha, thanks, man.

        I don’t have any hate for fans of division rivals; in fact, I have enjoyed the last two years of competition between our franchises.

        But when it comes to Michael Young, I feel like the record needs to stay straight. He’s never been what he’s appeared.

  • Carl Elftman

    it would have been a good pickup he could have relieved donaldson and dh.