Double Play: Should Jays look to add Michael Young?

Daan De Kerpel,
2/8/2011 4:42:43 PM
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With the Michael Young situation in Texas looking like it's heading to a rather unpleasant ending, baseball fans North of the 49th parallel have to wonder if the one-time Toronto Blue Jays farm hand would make sense for the club in the 2011 season and beyond.

For his career, the 34-year old Young is a .300 hitter, who posted five consecutive 200-hit seasons between the years 2003 and 2007 and led the American League with a .331 average in 2005.  Last season, he hit .284 with 21 home runs.

To be clear, there are several hurdles that would need to be cleared up before a deal could happen.  Firstly, Young has eight teams that the Rangers could deal the six-time All-Star game participant to without needing Young to approve of the deal first.  Unfortunately for Blue Jays fans, Toronto is not one of those teams, meaning that Young would have to consent to any deal that would send him to the Blue Jays.

The second major issue would be the fact that Young is owed $46 million over the next three seasons, which is a steep price for a player who would be 37-years old when his deal expired in three years.

Money aside for now, would the acquisition of Young make baseball sense for the Jays? 

There's a solid argument to be made that he could.  The most pertinent point is that Young could fill the team's current hole at third base, which would allow the club to shift Jose Bautista back to his preferred position in right field.  Travis Snider would then be slotted into left field, with the speedy Rajai Davis patrolling centre field.

The infield would be offensively productive with Adam Lind and Aaron Hill on the right-side and Yunel Escobar and Young on the left.

Young's reputation as being a solid clubhouse presence would also be a plus for a largely young group of hitters.  He can hit for average and power, and while his defense isn't great, he did capture a Gold Glove award in 2008 and perhaps some of his lack of range could be covered by Escobar.

Naysayers of the deal would point to the fact that Young's advanced age means that he does not fit into what the Jays are attempting to do.  Maybe so, but if the club wants to seriously compete in the American League East in the next few seasons, they're going to need to get an established player or two.  Simply put, the Jays could do a lot worse than Young.

Unfortunately, a good baseball move doesn't happen in a vacuum and other concerns always take precedent.

First off, the Jays would have to work out a deal with the Rangers, which could be difficult, Texas has already stated that they're not simply going to give the talented Young away.  Along those lines is the money that Young is owed.

It stands to reason that if any clubs that the Rangers speak to are willing to give up better prospects, Texas would more likely eat a substantial portion of Young's current contract than if the deal was simply a salary dump.

With that said, if the Jays decide to make a move for Young, money shouldn't be a huge deterrent.  In the last two-years alone, the club has saved around $145 million on their commitments to Alex Rios and Vernon Wells, not to mention the fact that they're not paying any pitcher close to the $20 million that they would have paid Roy Halladay had they been able to keep him.

No one is saying that the Jays should take Young's entire contract; however if the Rangers picked up $15 million or so, it would work out to be around $10 million a season for a proven bat at the hot corner that would help put the club one step closer to their goal competing in the AL East.

Would he waive his no trade clause to come to Toronto?  I have no idea, but it's interesting to consider at least.


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