So Long, Panda

Not that we didn’t all see this coming, but it’s finally happened – Delwyn Young has been traded to Pittsburgh, says Tony Jackson:

dodgers will get two players to be named later, presumably minor leaguers. I assume DY will be placed on the Pirates’ active big-league roster. This can only good for DY, who might not play every day but should at least get more playing time than he would with the Dodgers. Plus he and Andy LaRoche are good friends from their Dodgers days. Andy went to the Pirates as part of the Manny trade, which was a three-team deal with the Red Sox.

delwynyoung.jpgMy feelings on the subject are pretty well-known, as I’ve been on the Delwyn train around here nearly since the beginning of this blog back in 2007, and I really outlined his minor league feats in this post from last season. I know, I know; he hasn’t done much at the big league level. But what do you really expect from a guy forced to be merely a pinch-hitter? A guy with that kind of minor league track record should be a good major league hitter, if given the chance.

So I do think this is a mistake – but not in the way you might think, because if you know me, you probably thinking I’m going to bag on Juan Pierre for sucking up an outfield spot with his bloated contract and general uselessness. But that ship has sailed; we all know that Pierre is unmovable, and he’s going to be on this team for the foreseeable future no matter what. This isn’t Pierre’s fault. 

No, the mistake here is in allowing a talented young player to be pushed off the roster for the sake of keeping superfluous older veterans. Do we really think that Juan Castro and Doug Mientkiewicz are going to help this team more than Delwyn Young? And the thing is, I actually like Doug Mientkiewicz, but the fact is that he’s completely unneccessary on this team. It’s not just the two strikeouts in his three hitless at-bats, it’s the fact that he’s a good-fielding first baseman – something this team already has. It’s not even that important to have him around as a backup in case James Loney goes down, because you could simply move Casey Blake across the diamond and install Blake DeWitt at third base.

Now, you’re probably saying, “but he was never going to get a chance here, with how crowded the Dodgers outfield is,” and you probably wouldn’t be wrong. But I’m more interested in the Dodgers having the best available players than I am in seeing players be put in the best situations for them. Is that selfish? Sure it is, but I wouldn’t be a Delwyn Young fan if I wasn’t a Dodger fan first. So while I am happy for Young that he might get a better chance in Pittsburgh, I’m also disappointed for the Dodgers that he might become another Cody Ross somewhere else.

So good luck, Delwyn. After yesterday’s post, you’ve given me one more reason to pay attention to the Pirates, and be sure that we will.

Finally, let’s have some fun with this. According to Jackson, the Dodgers are going to get two players to be named later, likely minor leaguers. Other than big names like Pedro Alvarez, Andrew McCutchen, and Jose Tabata (who are surely not going to be moved), I don’t know a whole lot about the Pirates system, and I can’t imagine we’re seeing a topline return on Young. So I’m going to take a shot in the dark and almost literally throw some darts at the board: outfielder Eric Fry, if only because he reminds me of one of my favorite childhood books, Sideways Stories from Wayside School, and pitcher Yoon-Hee Nam, if only so I can make Big Lebowski jokes about his last name. Doesn’t get more scientific than that, does it?