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.