Friday, March 4, 2011

Enough with the Michael Young Yakity-Yak

Go to Michael Young's Baseball Reference page. Go ahead...we'll wait.

Now check out his comparables. Sure, you see Nomar and Madlock and a few random marginal Hall of Famers. But the one that strikes us is his top comparable through age 33: Ray Durham.

Ray Fucking Durham.

Now think about this for a second: Are you about to trade away prospects for the privilege of paying Ray Durham $16 million this year, and for the next two? Of course you're not. You're not stupid. (We assume that only smart people read this blog. If you are dumb, we're sure there is a slide show of the hottest Blue Jays wives somewhere for you.)

We get why people have some sort of attachment to Michael Young, because for years, he's felt like the one who got away. When Gord Ash (and not J.P. Ricciardi)1 sent him to Texas for Esteban Loaiza, the Jays were depending on Frank Castillo to be their number two pitcher, while Kelvim Escobar and Chris Carpenter struggled and Roy Halladay got pasted to the tune of a 10.63 ERA. And when Castillo got hurt, shit went crazy.

(And while it's lost in the foggy mists of time, the Jays were a game and a half back in the AL East on July 19th, and feeling as though there were a legitimate shot at the division title. Yes, they were playing "meaningful games" at that point of the year, and "going for it". Which is all that Jays fans were asking at that time.)

That trade was likely the final straw for Ash, and with good reason.

Still, the mythology that has been built around Michael Young amongst Jays fans over the past decade is the sort that can only been driven by loathsome regret. It's like meeting up with that vaguely cute girl from university who you used to blow off, and then seeing her all glammed up and thinking "Damn...what was I thinking?"

(And then someone tells you that somewhere along the line, she got veneers and implants, and she's had a bunch of break downs and two failed engagements, and you're reminded: "Oh yeah...the reason I blew her off was because she was intensely unstable.")2

Because of the distance in time and geography, Jays fans have a pretty tertiary knowledge of Young's game. He plays a large number of his games on the West Coast, and really, how often do you find yourself parking your butt on the couch to sit through a Rangers-Mariners game on a fine summer evening?

We mostly know Young from news clippings and All-Star appearances, his bizarro 2008 Gold Glove, and the fact that he was great pals with Vernon Wells (which, at one point, was considered an asset.) But what we've lost sight of is the fact that Young has put together two excellent seasons and two above average seasons, but aside from that, he's not that much more productive than Juan Rivera.

Look at their career OPS: Young, .795, Rivera .789. And those six points are apparently worth $10.75 million, which is the difference between their 2011 salaries.

Or for that matter, look at Lyle Overbay, who just got chased out of town in spite of being a premium defender, which Young is not. Overbay's posted an .805 career OPS. (And yes, we think the same people who are advocating for Young's acquisition are also the same people who beat down Lylo for not being a "big power bat" because first base is a "power position". Well, what do you suppose DH or third is?)

And if you bring in Young (at SIXTEEN MILLION DOLLA-DOLLA BILLS, YO, FOR THREE MORE YEARS IN CASE WE HAVEN'T MADE THAT TOTALLY CLEAR), what does that mean for the at bats that would go to Adam Lind (.796 career OPS) or Edwin Encarnacion (.790 career OPS)?

Michael Young is a good singles hitter with some occasional pop, but Jays fans have built him into some otherworldly talent. Repatriating him for the sake of closure on the Loaiza deal is a dumbass idea, and we can't believe that it continues to come up by fans who want the Jays to "go for it" this year.

Those who do not learn from the past are damned to repeat it.


1. Seriously, we still hear people putting this trade on Ricciardi, given the ongoing notion that everything that's ever gone wrong with the team was somehow his fault.

2. Stop me before I sub-reference again. (Which is a reference in and of itself to the younger, skinnier, still-funny, Dennis Miller. Yes, sometime before he started doing M&M ads and turned into a right-wingnut, he was legitimately funny. You could look it up.)


William Tasker - Caribou, ME said...

Seriously, Jays fans (jumping on the "seriously" bandwagon), you do NOT want Michael Young. He's just another delusional ballplayer who thinks he's better than he is and he'll want a regular spot and will pout every spring when he doesn't get it.

Get over it.

Ty said...

Wait, people are still suggesting the Jays trade for Young? Now I'm sad. :(

Tao of Stieb said...

It popped up yesterday in a Griff mailbag. He should know better, but now that I think about it, he seems to be the one throwing the most gas on that fire.

Griff loves Michael Young.

Ian - BJH said...

I'm pretty sure it's just Richard Griffin that's championing for Michael Young and getting everybody all wound up about it. Let it go, Griff!

Scrappy said...

Smart teams don't overpay for past performances, but rather pay for future ones (I think Bill James said that).

Dennis Miller or Norm MacDonald as best Weekend Update host?

Tao of Stieb said...

At the time, I wasn't a big Norm fan, but I've watched some of his stuff recently, and he was pretty awesome.

Always loved Miller, but 9/11 broke him.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this post, Tao. I have a hard time wrapping my head around all these crazy statistics, so you FINALLY gave me an understandable reason why Young is useless as fuck.

Plenty of people have screamed it, but I truly understand now.

Chad said...

Well said.

Luckily for us, AA is almost certainly well aware of the true facts of Michael Young's career numbers.

halejon said...

Oh my. I didn't know this was actually going on. I'm glad you so effectively and scornfully put it to bed or I might have had to write another post this year. The only reason I can think that people might want the Jays to acquire Young is that they suffer from Battered Fan syndrome and need someone to fill the financially abusive void of Wells. Yes, let's take on someone else's problem contract right when it is about to get to the really regrettable stage. For a player who is so mediocre at this point in his career that his team has already signed other players to replace him. Worked for the Angels...

Tao of Stieb said...

When the Jays have already assumed a NEW goofy contract (JoBau...yessum, still a bad deal), I don't know why some (looking at YOU Griffin!) want to encourage such horseshittery.

And welcome back Jon. I know you've been wherever you are, but it's good to see you where we are.

Anonymous said...

I miss John Olerud.

Chad said...

Glad you're sticking to that JoBau line. I hope he shoves something like a .900 OPS and 35 HR up you and your playdates' collective ass.

Of course, you ladies are smart enough to come up with a reason why it's still the wrong decision.

Don't quit your day jobs, bloggers.

Anonymous said...

Is it me or has the Tao's tongue become a bit sharper recently? Every post is full of bile. It's like DJF took over.

Anonymous said...

With Rogers' payroll being so astronomically high, they must have had to go to the BMO to get a loan in order to sign Bautista.

Anonymous said...

@ Pete Toth - I miss John Olerud too.

@ Chad - Well aren't you clever. Trying to insult someone by calling them a lady. That'll teach 'em, as being a woman is totally the lowest form of life. I hope JBau does a great job, and am not convinced it is a terrible contract, but you kinda lose any point you may have with the fratboy insults.

- Mabel

Chad said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Chad said...

Mabel, you don't have to parse everything you read through the lens of gender studies 101.

Gil Fisher said...

Well that seems to be a little more tactful.

Chad said...

Yeah, the first one was kinda mean. Sorry about that. I wasn't as angry as my post would have indicated. If Mabel read it and is reading this. I apologize.

Brendan said...

Can I be smart AND want to see a slide show of the hottest Jays wives?

Anonymous said...

Thank God,
someone had to write this piece. Well said. If by some stroke AA does wind up dealing for Michael Young, as a shareholder in Rogers, I will move to have him committed or at least have a full mental screening. Now we all know that AA is way to smart to even get involved in this foolishness unless it's in a 3 way deal where Young is going somewhere else that is far, far, FAR away. Plus just the fact that Griffin talked about it means that AA is really working on another deal and this is just a ruse for the people who think this year means something other than getting experience and getting more talent assembled.

Chad said...

I still think the Jays could make some noise this year. The Yankees got older, but not really better. The Red Sox will probably win the AL East, but I like our chances at being the WC.

Maybe I am just too optimistic because I am a baseball fan and not an unpaid sports journalist.

500 Level Fan said...

I would have loved getting Michael Young in 2003. That would have been great.