Yesterday, I made reference to breaking Dodger news always happening while I’m out of town. A long-time commenter called me out for that joke getting tedious… and then Ned Colletti had to go out and acquire Michael Young, because of absolutely course he did. You’d think that a team that’s just destroying all of baseball and is going to easily win the division would lead to nothing but acclaim for the general manager, but then you wouldn’t think that anyone — in 2013! — would acquire Young and Brian Wilson and Carlos Marmol and Edinson Volquez in the span of barely more than a month, especially after giving all that money to Brandon League.
So here I am, hundreds of miles from home, borrowing a friend’s laptop so I can at least some thoughts out there. You may remember that the very thought of Young terrified me back in mid-July (among dozens of other times), when I wrote…
Or maybe, just maybe, Colletti will identify Young as the upgrade this team has to have, as though adding a “good clubhouse guy” to a clubhouse that doesn’t seem to be a problem — and no, Young is not going to be the guy who talks sense into Yasiel Puig, so stop — will be more valuable than giving playing time to a declining poor fielder, and give up more than Young was already traded for months ago. No, that could never happen… right?
Rob Rasmussen goes back, and he’s not much of a prospect who was acquired for John Ely last year, so Young is basically a free part. So that’s nice, but really, I’m still struggling to find some good out of this. Is Young here because…
1) He’s a good clubhouse presence? Well, no. By most accounts he really is a solid teammate and all that, but so is Juan Uribe, who Young is most likely to take playing time from. So are Mark Ellis & Skip Schumaker, if he’s to see any time at second base. I don’t argue Young’s reputation, but the Dodgers are known to have a pretty good clubhouse, and you’ve lost your mind if you think Young is going to be the guy who commands Puig’s respect. I’ll bet $100 that Puig has absolutely no idea who Young even is. Nor should he.
2. He’s an offensive upgrade at third base? Not really. Young has a .321 wOBA, which is a little better than Uribe’s .317, but Young is also hitting just .244/.315/.348 since the All-Star break. That’s awful, and any possible advantage he might have is quickly given back by…
3. He’s a defensive upgrade at third base? Haaaaaa, no. I’ll just steal this from Jon Weisman for now:
Uribe 2013: .722 OPS., 103 OPS+, 25.8 UZR/150, 2.8 WAR
Young 2013: .722 OPS, 99 OPS+, -16.2 UZR/150, 0.0 WAR
Regardless of how you feel about defensive metrics, this passes the sniff test. Uribe’s defense has been excellent this year, as he’s made up for limited range with a strong accurate arm and a reliable glove. Every inning Young plays over Uribe is an inning the Dodgers are made worse. Imagine Young and Hanley Ramirez on the left side at the same time? Good lord.
4. He improves the bench? This is the only thing that might possibly make some sense, because the reserves are pretty weak. Ellis helps only with his glove, and Nick Punto has been awful offensively for months. Schumaker and Jerry Hairston are useful for their versatility, but neither offer much of a threat at the plate. So *if* this is about adding a guy with some versatility who can sorta still hit lefties — and offers veteran presence!! — at zero cost, there’s something to that.
But that’s only if that’s how this plays out, and Young has never been a bench player in the past. It’s worrisome that his reputation could make him the starting third baseman, because the Dodgers will be worse for this if he is.