The latest potential trade craze in Cleveland is even more asinine than the last. The social media buzz among Tribe faithful is new-found support in favor of a pursuit of Philadelphia Phillies third baseman Michael Young. While no official reports linking the Indians to the 36-year-old have yet to surface, that hasn’t slowed the support for such a move.
One thought I have regarding the move: why?
Young has a proven track record of success in the Majors as a career .301 hitter and is currently slashing .288/.433/.414. Such consistency could be openly embraced by an often streaky Cleveland lineup, but where would Young fit in?
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As a right-handed bat the most logical destination would be as a platoon for Lonnie Chisenhall who has an often maligned track record of struggling vs. southpaws. But interestingly enough, Young himself is struggling against left handers in 2013 with a .220/.317/.385 slash against them. A career line of .310/.362/.467 against lefties suggests 2013’s numbers could be an anomaly, but at 36 skepticism of a steep decline in production is present.
For the sake of argument, let’s assume Young’s sudden struggles are the former and he’ll fit well as a platoon with Chisenhall offensively. Could Young also serve as a defensive replacement late in games? Well, simply put, no. Young has been the third worst defensive third baseman in baseball this year and his career track record does not suggest this can also be written off as anomaly. Chisenhall on the other hand has been a middle-of-the-ground contributor defensively, showing improvement in that regard.
And improvement is the biggest reason as to why the acquisition of Young would make no sense. Since Chisenhall’s recall from the minors he has been exceptional in the batter’s box showing improved plate discipline which was always his Achilles heel. The next step in Chisenhall’s development is to put up a manageable line up against left-handers, which he cannot learn to do by taking away at-bats against southpaws. Sitting him against the occasional tough lefty is a smart move, but acquiring someone to play against every left-handed starter makes it impossible for Chisenhall to improve. Letting him still play against the occasional lefty after a hypothetical Young trade would take away from the entire point of acquiring Young in the first place.
If Chisenhall continues to struggle against lefties through the second half of the season, that could harm the Indians’s chances at contending in 2013. But stunting his development in that facet for the sake of 2013 is ludicrous. That same logic (jeopardizing the future for the sake of 2013) would make one in favor of trading Francisco Lindor.
Chisenhall has shown improvement in every regard except hitting lefties. His confidence is as high as its ever been, and now is the best chance he has of correcting his constant issues.
Simply put, Young does not fit on this Tribe team. He could also serve as a part-time DH, but why platoon him with Reynolds (another right-hander) or acquire him to replace Jason Giambi and his #veteranpresents?
The price for a Young deal could be low, making his acquisition almost inconsequential. It couldn’t hurt the team to give up a mid-range prospect. But if the deal is inconsequential why should the Indians (or Phillies, for that matter) even bother calling?