Although a bit late to the dance (by choice), last night’s announcement that the Dodgers had made an eleventh hour deadline trade with the Philadelphia Phillies for veteran infielder Michael Young is simply too significant or ignore. And while the trade has run the full spectrum of public opinion (especially on Twitter), this is a great trade for the Dodgers – whether realized by the naysayers or not.
First and foremost let’s be very clear about one thing – Michael Young was not brought on-board to replace Juan Uribe at third base – something that Young is very well aware of.
According to Mark Saxon at ESPNLosAngeles.com, Ned Colletti emphatically told Young what his role with the Dodgers would be and gave the 36-year-old Southern California native every opportunity to walk away from the deal.
“He could have vetoed the whole thing,” Colletti said.
Colletti also said that he (Colletti) didn’t want to ruin a good thing, meaning the outstanding chemistry in the Dodger clubhouse.
“I kept it in the back of my mind for a while because I didn’t want to disrupt what we have going on here,” Colletti said.
As noted in the Saxon article, Young’s mother is of Mexican-American heritage, which runs very deep with the seven-time All-Star and former AL MVP. He also speaks fluent Spanish, which has very important implications – Young is the consummate professional and is arguably one of the top two veteran leaders in the game today (the other being Derek Jeter, of course), which only stands to help “The Wild Horse,” as Vin Scully calls Dodger rookie sensation Yasiel Puig.
In his 14 big league seasons Young has a career batting average of .300 with 185 home runs and 1,026 RBI’s. He also possesses a career OBP of .346 and a .441 SLG for an OPS of .787. In the 126 games that he played with the Phillies (468 at-bats) Young hit .276 with 8 home runs and 42 RBIs.
Although Young was having an un-Michael Young-like season with the Phillies, it is quite possible that the Phillies having an un-Phillies-like season had more to do with this than anything else. It has been well documented that Young was not enjoying himself in the City of Brotherly Love and had occasional disagreements with Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. and manager Charlie Manuel. Young also made it clear that he waived his no-trade clause with the Texas Rangers to go to the Phillies only because he wanted to go to a winning team, which he felt the Rangers no longer were after trading away his close friend and fellow slugger Josh Hamilton to the Angels. Amaro and Manuel also made it known when they acquired Young last December that he would be a stop-gap until Phillies top third base prospect Cody Asche was ready for the big leagues.
With the Phillies on the brink of elimination from the playoffs (their elimination number is six), Young’s desire to play for a winning team came up a bit short – quite a bit short, in fact. As such, he has to be ecstatic to be joining a team that will not only make the playoffs, but has a legitimate shot at winning the World Series.
To get Young the Dodgers traded away 24-year-old left-hander Rob Rasmussen, whom the Dodgers acquired last season in the trade that sent right-hander John Ely to the Houston Astros. Ironically, Rasmussen was drafted by the Dodgers in the 27th round of the 2007 MLB June Amateur Draft out of Poly High School in Pasadena but elected to go to UCLA instead of signing the Dodgers. He was drafted by the (then) Florida Marlins in the 2nd round of the 2010 MLB June Amateur Draft and traded to the Astros in 2012.
While there are some who think that the Michael Young acquisition is not a good move, there are many more who see this as a great trade. When you consider that the Dodgers traded away a 24-year-old minor leaguer and will, in fact, receive $1.7 million from the Phillies as part of their original trade for Young from the Rangers last December; and when you consider the veteran leadership that Young brings to the Dodger clubhouse, this isn’t just a good trade, this is a great trade – albeit only for the remainder of the season and (hopefully) the post season.