The Story That Just Won’t Die

February 10, 2011 at 4:52 pm | Posted in Casey Blake, Michael Young | 31 Comments

I thought that my post from the other day about Michael Young and why he’s not a fit for the Dodgers would have been all that needed to be said about the situation, but no: the rumor mill keeps churning. If it’s not fans coming up with crazy trade ideas to get Young, it’s fans coming up with crazier ideas to get Young. All this, for an expensive and aging lousy defender who can’t hit away from Texas.

Today, Ken Rosenthal, after saying the Dodgers had “engaged in serious discussions’ with Texas, pours some more fuel on the fire:

The Rangers would need to pay the majority of Young’s salary for a deal to occur, and one source said the Dodgers asked the Rangers to assume as much as 75 percent of his contract — or $36 million of $48 million.

At first glance, that seems great – Michael Young at $12m over the next three years sounds a whole hell of a lot better than $48m over three years. But think about that for a second. The Rangers aren’t going to just dump Young for nothing, and they’re certainly not going to do so if they’re not saving a good deal of money.

So if the Dodgers really did propose that deal, what kind of talent were they willing to give up in return? Because let me tell you, you might be able to get away with mediocre talent if you’re telling the Rangers they can relieve themselves of a headache and save a bunch of money. But that’s certainly not the case if Texas doesn’t realize savings, so the talent in discussion must have been noteworthy – and that’s terrifying. If it really is true that the McCourt situation has prevented Ned Colletti from being able to afford Young, then this is one case where we should all be thankful that we’re stuck with such awful ownership.

Granted, the title of the Rosenthal piece about Young-to-Dodgers is “Ain’t happening”, so there’s still hope that we’ll make it through this, but good lord will I feel better when this finally gets resolved, and he ends up somewhere that isn’t Los Angeles.

For the record, Casey Blake vs Young in terms of WAR:


That’s from best season to worst, and that looks like two nearly identical players, no? Blake’s best season was actually better than Young’s best.

Now look at it in terms of cumulative WAR by age…

With the exception that Young got started a few years earlier, those lines are nearly identical. Blake’s past his prime, but so is Young. So why are people so interested in trading talent for a guy who’s eight times as expensive?

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  1. Haha that people won’t let it die really speaks to the lack of confidence in Blake (and is just silly). Im on board with being concerned about Blake starting every day (hence my support and subsequent disappointment with Chavez) but Mike you have done a very good job (twice now) pointing out that Blake and Young are basically the same guy. Hell they arent that much different in age. My hope was that Ivan De Jesus Jr would surprise us all and take 2nd, freeing Uribe to play third and pushing Blake into the OF/spot3Bstarter/benchrole that he should be. But thats probably not going to happen so count me in the group that hopes Young goes somewhere else.

  2. How could 18 Carlos Santanas not be a great idea?

  3. Young checked in at No. 90 on MLBN’s Top 100 right now. In theory, shouldn’t Blake be a Top-100 player, too? Oy.

  4. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Los Angeles Dodgers, Mike Petriello. Mike Petriello said: The Story That Just Won't Die http://wp.me/p69kq-1EX […]

  5. I have an alert on my iphone that tells me every time MLBTR posts a story about the Dodgers. Every time an alert goes off I pray they didn’t just trade for Young!! If we can get him for $4M a year and only trade Troncoso – then I’m in. Any more than that forget it.
    Do your graphs take ballparks in to consideration. Swap ballparks with those two and there would really be a difference.

  6. Is there really a right way or a wrong way to handle this situation? I don’t think anyone would argue that Michael Young has been one of the classiest guys in the Rangers system for years. He was asked to move to short… no problem. He was asked to move to third… no problem. And initially, he said “you want me to move to DH… no problem.” However, I get the distinct feeling that someone lied to Michael at some point, which pissed him off and forced him to put the brakes on. It’s diffidult to say what I would do if I were in his shoes. Given his contract (3 years remaining and 48 million), some are saying that he should just do what he’s told. I’m not saying that’s what Michael should do, but if I had his contract, I might just listen to those people. The time for Young has come and gone he should feel good about what he has accomplished in baseball, he has been a allstar player and won the AL West and recently guided the Rangers to their 1st World Series in history. So now is the time to let the players who have burst onto the scene who are younger faster and more range help the Rangers go further in the World Series and win it and be a part of a good thing and make his 230,000 dollars a week and be a team player if that means playing infield a couple days a week and being a DH the rest, he will get at bats and do his normal thing at the plate by hitting around 300 and we all know Kinsler will be on DL at some time during the year and probably someone else also. So its not so bad being in his shoes making the money he makes and playing a game we all wish we could do rather than work our normal jobs day in day out and travel all over the US and play this fun sport and make millions of dollars doing it. The only thing that hurts Michael Young is his ego has been shattered and feels neglected by what has happened but we all knew this was coming as reality is setting in on one of the best and respected players in the game of baseball. Life doesnt always go the way u plan but thats reality!!! The Dodgers just have no need to get involved here. No matter what kind of money the Rangers are willing to pick up!

    • Pete, I think you need to check the history on that. When he was asked to move to third, he put up a HUGE stink about it.

      • He actually did put up a little bit of a stink about it but cooler heads prevailed rather quickly, i.e. his representatives. Young did win a bogus Gold Glove at that position, SS. We, as baseball fans, tend to look at numbers. Because if you look at the back of his baseball card, that’s all that’s quantifiable. That story about Michael Young isn’t going to go as deep as saying that he has a lifetime .859 OPS in Arlington compared to a .733 OPS on the road. We are made to figure that out for ourselves. We can look at his seasons 2003-2007 when Young averaged 212 hits per season and 670 AB for a .316 BA. Some of us might say those are Hall of Fame numbers. Others who are in the business, Peter, of knowing such things like me or Mike, might say that he’s a product of the Texas ballpark, much in the same way that Dante Bichette was a product of Coors Field back in the gay 90’s. But make no mistake about Young, this guy was a hitter of the highest magnitude and when comparing his career vs Casey Blake, it just doesn’t give you the whole picture of a guy like Michael Young. And, of course, if the Dodgers could pull off the heist of the century and somehow “sweet talk” the Rangers into paying 75% of his remaining contract, they would be foolish not to look into it. There’s your #2 hitter at $4-mil/yr to play 2B and move Uribe to 3B, Casey Blake to LF and the whole world will be a better place to live. But for $48-mil over 3 years, we want no part in that nonsense. Because Michael Young was signed to appease a fan base that said we can’t live without this guy. But when a guy named Beltre came along, a guy with exactly 2 great years to his resume (both in contract years), and another compiler, the Rangers conveniently forgot about their all-time hit leader and a guy that, grudgingly, moved from position to position. Because, like you say Peter, guys like Young that make $230,000/week are lucky to be playing a kid’s game, something we all would give our left arms to do! I’ll tell you something else, guys like you and me get up everyday and do our jobs for a lot less! And eat a lot of crap in the process. That’s called life!

        • When Josh Hamilton was interviewed after his signing a 2 year and $24 M deal with the Rangers, he mentioned that Young was the best teammate he had. Always helping the younger players and was a big help to Hamilton in his own fight against the dark corridors of the world. Michael Young is a good teammate, a guy that’s moved from position to position. Maybe grudgingly, as you guys say, but he’s done so nonetheless! If I’m Young, I take the $16-mil and do whatever the Rangers say, whether it’s to DH or play an INF position from time to time. Someone on rotoimbeciles pointed out that Ian Kinsler can’t stay healthy and Young could always play 2B for a stretch. This story concerning Young, I’m afraid, isn’t over yet! I don’t think the Dodgers could move Blake for much, if anything. Blake, too, is a good guy who got a late start in this business called baseball. Yes, a kid’s game with adult problems! Blake’s contact rate is in a freefall as well as his GB/FB rate. And, at this point, I would say that he’s below a replacement level player. But, if asked and if healthy, he will play all 162 games at 3B because that’s who he is!

  7. Honestly, looking at Michael Young and seeing his career record of being an average to slightly above average hitter almost looks like an all-star to me compared to some of the guys we have now. Imagine how much an equivalent quality player to Michael Young would improve our left field or catcher positions. Young is not great, but I’ve been conditioned to think “league average” is pretty damn good.

    • Though any notable prospect for him is an automatic no deal. Our highest ranked prospect is at #44 according to mlb.com, so it’s not like we have talent to spare.

  8. Should have seen MLB Network, the Ripken guy (did he even play? Cal’s brother) was saying how he would trade him to the Padres or the Twins, the one i loved, or the Orioles to be DH! Giving Vlad back to the Rangers, why would this happen?? They were all over Young’s jock, then Mitch Williams chimes in how he loves those deals and blah blah, they talk about the Yankees and then i say “Glad i didn’t really tune in during the off-season because these guys are wackos”

    • I love the “Team player” stuff too, when did we not just hear about how he whined when moving to SS, then 3B and now finally asking for a trade, lol

    • DID BILLY RIPKEN PLAY?? He’s featured on one of the best baseball cards of all time.

      • Viva F*** Face!

  9. We have all seen Young vs Blakes stats, but the point that is being missed is the fact that Blake would not be pushed to the bench. He could be used at 1st against lefties and he can play some LF. What needs to be compared are Young vs Gibbons/Thames and Loney vs Lefties. I fully agree that Young is expensive, has bad splits and even his “team player” personnae is in question. We also have to keep in mind that we have no 3B on the farm even remotely close to contributing and if anyone honestly expects Blake to play more than 120 games this year they need their head examined. Young will give 150 games and allow Blake to be used in a role more conducive to his age and skillset. I just think the situation calls for more than just throwing some numbers at it. The Dodgers still have multiple holes which includes someone to hit behind Furcal while he makes his 110-130 starts this season.

    • I would have agreed with that before they signed Thames. Now, I think that if they get Young they’d probably deal Blake not only for the roster spot but for the salary savings.

      • And who would pay Blake the 5.25 + the 1.25 buyout?

        Oh, wait. His projected WAR for 130 games is 2.1. I guess that makes him worth what? $10 million?

    • This is what we have uribe and Carrol for supposedly. Uribe steps over to 3rb and Carrol starts at 2b. Thus giving rest to Blake.

  10. I got a question for you statheads. I keep hearing the WAR stat as the tell-all about a player. I had always considered the “replacement” player was an average MLB player at that position. And, if a team is full of average players, wouldn’t they win half their games?

    I just figured out, if the Dodgers who had bad years last year return to 2009 figures, and everyone else does what they usually do, according to the WAR stats, the Dodgers will win 102, or more, games.

    What exactly does WAR mean? I know what the letters stand for, but what does the stat actually stand for?

    • WAR stands for Wins Above Replacement. I think the confusion here is that “replacement” does NOT equal “average”. An average player, say one with a 100 OPS+ and decent defense, can be very valuable. “replacement” is the level at which a guy is no longer better than any freely available schmuck you could pull out of AAA. A team full of replacement level players would be expected to win about 45-50 games, I think.

      • Yeah, I read “everything you always want to know about WAR” by Alex Remington and could not find a baseline for “replacement”. Why wouldn’t it be 0? He said the same thing you did, a replacement player is really an undefined guy you get from AAA or AAAA or PTBNL…..

        he also said that stat makes Utley more valuable than Pujols. Yeah, right.

        oh well…. I guess you just have live with the ambiguity of the whole thing.

        • WAR does not say that Utley is more valuable than Pujols. Per Fangraphs and Baseball Reference (who calculate WAR very differently mostly because of disagreements over how to quantify defense), Utley has never had a more valuable season than Pujols.

          If Utley hit like Pujols he’d certainly be more valuable because he plays one of the toughest defensive positions, but Pujols is such an otherworldly hitter that it makes up for any positional adjustment.

          • But Chase Utley has had quite a few seasons that are worth more WAR than some of Pujols’ seasons, just never the same year. However, is this really surprising? Chase Utley is an extremely valuable player. We’d expect that he might knock on the floor of Pujols level from time to time, but at the same time, he’s never been anywhere near Pujols at his best, and that’s despite a 10 run penalty on Pujols’ position and an 8 run bonus to Utley’s.

          • Here’s a WAR comparison of the two. Utley’s best season (WAR of 8 – a ridiculously awesome season) is just about equal to Pujols’ 6th best season… when he was a 21 year old rookie.

            The point that the author was trying to make involved monetary value, not baseball value. Basically, over the last 5 years, Utley has outplayed his contract by more than Albert has outplayed his. Of course, that comparison is a little silly, since it includes 2 of Utley’s pre-arbitration years – he made $345,000 in 2005 and $500,000 in 2006 before signing an 85,000,000 contract in 2007.

          • WHoops forgot the link to the WAR comparison: http://www.fangraphs.com/graphsw.aspx?playerid2=1177&playerid3=1679&playerid4=&playerid5=

          • And if you’re interested, here’s a WAR graph of Pujols’ real peers. (Hint: you’re gonna recognize the names)

            http://www.fangraphs.com/graphsw.aspx?playerid2=1177&playerid3=1011327&playerid4=1014040&playerid5=1008315

            Cum. WAR by age for all 4 is VERY similar.

  11. […] worried about atrocious outfield defense and considered what things may have looked like if the near-misses for aging vets Aubrey Huff , Michael Young, and A.J. Pierzynski hadn’t been […]

  12. […] We’ve worried about atrocious outfield defense and considered what things may have looked like if the near-misses for aging vets Aubrey Huff , Michael Young, and A.J. Pierzynski hadn’t been […]

  13. […] We’ve worried about atrocious outfield defense and considered what things may have looked like if the near-misses for aging vets Aubrey Huff , Michael Young, and AJ Pierzynski hadn’t been misses […]


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