I’ve heard concerns voiced that the Phillies “need to get younger.” We could see some backlash from obtaining Young because, well… he isn’t. But this shouldn’t be too much of a concern for those of us who are looking at this year and (more importantly for this purpose) beyond. Young’s age is not as much of a concern in this transaction as a few other things.
Here are a couple arguments I heard against getting Young:
1. Michael Young’s numbers were way down in 2012.
Okay, yes, they were. He batted .277/.312/.370. But look at the previous four years:
2008 – .284/.339/.402
2009 – .322/.374/.518
2010 – .284/.330/.444
2011 – .338/.380/.474
After hitting better than .300 in each season from 2003-2007, Young has had alternating years in terms of production. While this isn’t necessarily good for the long haul, we could definitely see Young bounce back from a down season, as he has twice before. Young has the stuff, and I think he’ll work hard to produce.
2. Aren’t we supposed to be getting younger?
You don’t want to get younger at a particular position simply to knock the average age of the club down; that would be downright silly. If there’s no one ready to play in the majors within your organization and you think your team has playoff potential, you often need to go outside and bring someone else in who’s ready now. I know a lot of fans aren’t thrilled that he’s 36 years old, but how many third base options are there on the free agent market? It’s definitely one of the thinner positions this year. Young is an upgrade we needed to get to bridge the gap to our younger players.
3. He’s not a good long-term solution.
Fair enough, but we’re not trading for him as a long-term solution. He has one year left on his contract. Some say Cody Asche is the third baseman of the future, and he’s likely only a year or two away from the bigs. We also have other options in the system with a few shortstops who might be able to make the transition for 2014 if necessary.
4. He hasn’t played third base consistently since 2010.
This is likely the most legitimate concern. Over the past two years, Young has played 65 games at the hot corner. Conversely, he has been the DH in 141 games. However, he did receive the AL Gold Glove award at shortstop in 2008 with a .971 fielding percentage. If he puts in the work over the offseason, his defense should be passable.