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.)