Eleventh-hour addition Michael Young of no benefit to Dodgers

Sunday September 1st, 2013

Michael Young will join his hometown Dodgers, but it's unclear how he'll help. [Chris Williams/Icon SMI] Michael Young will join his hometown Dodgers, but it's unclear how he'll help. [Chris Williams/Icon SMI]

With just an hour to go until the deadline for newly-acquired players to be eligible for the postseason, the National League West leading Dodgers acquired third baseman Michael Young from the Phillies for Double-A lefty Rob Rasmussen. Rasmussen is a non-prospect who was lit up in a brief stay in Triple-A this year and will be joining his fourth organization since being drafted in 2010, but even Rasmussen seems like a high price to pay for Young, given how difficult it is to envision Young being of any benefit to the Dodgers.

Young, a seven-time All-Star who will turn 37 in late October, saw his production at the plate vanish last year and has shown no signs of recovery. Young has hit .272/.333/.389 this season and just .231/.306/.323 in the second half. He has also been among the worst fielders in the major leagues over the last three seasons, costing his teams more than two full wins in the field in each of the last three seasons according to Baseball Info Solutions' defensive runs saved. Both Ultimate Zone Rating and Baseball Prospectus's Fielding Runs Against Average, which grade him more kindly,  say he has cost the Phillies more than a win in the field this season.

The Dodgers' incumbent third baseman, Juan Uribe, has posted a batting line very similar to Young's this season (.268/.326/.395, not counting his two hits Saturday night) while playing in a less-favorable home ballpark and is an above-average fielder. In other words, Uribe has been a bit better than Young at the plate and leaps and bounds better in the field. What's more, both players are right-handed hitters with reverse platoon splits this season, so Young is not only not an upgrade at third base, he is not a suitable platoon partner for Uribe, either. Honestly, Young is so bad in the field that he shouldn't really be considered a third baseman anymore, which makes his only viable position first base, where the Dodgers already have Adrian Gonzalez. While Gonzalez may no longer be the hitter he was two years ago, he doesn't need the kind of relief that Young can offer. Given that, it's difficult to see what role Young, who will be a free agent in November, could fill on the Dodgers. A right-handed pinch-hitter who doesn't hit much and has a reverse split? Despite his past accomplishments, Michael Young is a sub-replacement level player and of no discernable benefit to a playoff team. If the Dodgers are smart, they'll figure that out before the time comes to set to their postseason roster.

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