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Let’s Trade Michael and Delmon Young Because I Don’t Like Them Very Much

Jul 30, 2013, 9:54 AM EDT


Despite the rebuild-at-all-costs strategy supported, implicitly or explicitly, by many Phillies fans as the 2013 trade deadline approaches, I have a great deal of ambivalence about the idea of trading Chase Utley or Cliff Lee. If you can get back an absolutely dynamite set of prospects for either, I guess you have to, but as many have reminded, we traded Cliff for young’ns once before and it didn’t work out so well, and if it’s only a similar package of B-minus/C-plus-level talent that either will return, I don’t see the point in jettisoning them just for the sake of doing so. I’d rather enjoy their remaining days as Phillies, even on a losing team, then ship them out just because “there’s no point in keeping them around.” I like both players immensely, and without there being much reward to losing them, that’s point enough for me. (Besides, as Jonah Keri recently pointed out, the team’s impending new TV deal means they have motivation to try to stay good and likeable short-term, which trading those guys would make much more difficult.)

I feel a similar, though less extreme level of conflict when it comes to many of the other Fightins rumored to be on the trading block. Jimmy Rollins certainly is getting paid a lot to do not all that much for the team at the moment, but will a diminished shortstop in his mid-30s fetch anything in return worth even the sentimental loss of the longest-tenured Phillie in decades? Same for Carlos Ruiz, currently mired in his worst offensive stretch of his Philly career (saying something, considering his first few seasons) and unlikely to be valued more by any other team than by the Phils, where he still has some residual fan-favorite status and arguably deserves the chance to hit his way out of this megaslump before entering free agency. And Jonathan Paplebon…well, he’s also paid way too much, but having a closer that only sucks sporadically (and occasionally says amusingly dumb, obnoxious things) is a nice luxury. I’d rather have him than not have him, if there’s not all that much to be gained by not having him.

But there’s two players on this team about whom I feel no such ambivalence: Michael and Delmon Young. I would gladly ship both the Young Brothers out tomorrow for a 28-year-old Double A reliever and a Bag of Peanuts to be Named Later, solely to avoid my having to watch them play another game in the Red and White.

To be fair, both Michael and Delmon Young have come basically as advertised. Michael Young is a Professional Hitter on the wrong side of 35 who can’t defend a lick and would probably come in third in a 100-yard dash against Pat Burrell and one of the “Thriller” zombies. Delmon Young is a prolific (though not old or respected enough to be Professional) hitter who doesn’t walk, certainly doesn’t run and gives up at least one hit in the field for every two he gets at the plate. These are not surprising things; we knew pretty much all of them when the two were acquired in the off-season.

What we didn’t know–what I didn’t quite know, anyway–was how unwatchable the two would be as everyday players. The reflexive wincing that would soon come with every grounder they hit, knowing there’s not a place deep enough on God’s green infield for them to have a chance of legging it out. With every time a sharp grounder was hit in Michael’s direction, or a sinking liner in Delmon’s, knowing that they were too slow and poorly coordinated to dive for them, but that they’d probably try anyway. With every time they came up with men on and one out, and you just hoped they’d strike or fly out rather than hitting into a double play. Lotta wincing, all told.

It might sound unfair to harp on both players’ lack of athleticism and poor defensive instincts when speed and defense was never considered a strength of either, and both players might not be so terrible as DHs in the American League, where they probably belong. But it’s not like either is exactly providing Miguel Cabrera production at the plate to make up for it–their slash lines are almost identically mediocre, Michael hitting .277/.342/.402 and Delmon hitting .266/.312/.402. Michael’s decent OBP–his .342 is somehow a team-high–means he’s at least a net positive on offense, but Baseball-Reference has his defense being such a negative that he’s still a sub-replacement player on the whole. (Delmon only breaks even on offense, and defense…yeah.)

Bottom line: Not only are these players miserable to watch, they’re arguably actively hurting this team’s chances to win games, thus making their dismissal an obvious priority for this trade deadline. Could we get much for either? Probably not. Could we find a team at least willing to take one of them off our hands? It’s not impossible. Some American League team looking for offensive depth could probably make use of one or both Youngs, particularly Michael, whose sort of Veteran Presence is always desired for a Veteran Playoff Push. (Supposedly M. Young gives great Clubhouse, though apparently such camaraderie building has little effect on a sub-.500 team such as the Phils.) Delmon might be a little tougher sell, but hey, he was ALCS MVP just last year. Maybe we can convince some contending team that once the calendar turns October, Delmon’s clutchiness will invariably shine through. Worth a shot, anyway.

Chase and Cliff will likely pass through the trade deadline still wearing Phillies uniforms. I wouldn’t be surprised if Jimmy, Chooch and Paps did so as well. And as disappointing as it may be to some or all if we pass up an obvious chance to jump-start the rebuilding process in the name of playing out the crappiest Phillies season in over a decade and trying again next year, if we could somehow get to Thursday without anyone named Young on our roster, I’d have to consider it at least a partial success. I’ll never be so happy to see Michael Martinez and Steve Sudsorf written into our everyday lineup.

  1. hitnrun - Jul 30, 2013 at 10:36 AM

    I understand why you tried to write Jonathan Papelbon out of the trading circle for purposes of composing this article, but seriously: trade him.

    A closer that only sucks sporadically and says dumb things *is* a nice luxury. A closer of any kind at that price is a luxury, which is why it has no place here if you can possibly get rid of it. Especially one that’s going to point fingers.

  2. BAPS - Jul 30, 2013 at 10:59 AM

    I don’t understand the sentiment of keeping Utley. The average Phillies fan screams about how old our every-day line up is, and how prone to injury that means this team is. yet, in the very next breath, there is some kind of at-all-cost loyalty to Chase. He’s going to stay, and be overpaid, just like we’re overpaying J-Hole.

    It’s time for the front offices to get smart. This is the SINGLE season that Utley has been healthy thus far since they won the series. Why not jump at that god-sent blessing and make the absolute most of it by SELLING HIM? FOR ANYTHING! Seriously. Especially with Galvis and Fransden in the shadows (and obviously not playing short any time soon. Thanks, Jimmy. You jerkoff!)

    There is absolutely no one that I feel should be absolutely NOT considered if the offer is right. I’d be disappointed to see a few people go, (Chooch and Lee epsecially, and Kendrick simply because of the man crush I have on him) but with the exception of MAYBE Brown, Revere, and Ruff, I’d much rather start dealing with a few years of rebuilding now than continue another 3 or 4 years of this garbage.

    By the way… WHERE is the fan outlash towards Rollins for essentially saying he doesn’t care about the team so much as he cares about individual records? I’m all for doing for one’s self, but how does the self-claimed team leader over the past decade get away with saying, point blank, that he won’t agree to being traded because he wants to see his name in the team record books? At least have enough class to lie and tell us you want to stay and finish your career as a Phillie or something.

    • Sony Toprano - Jul 30, 2013 at 11:20 AM

      The fan outlash against J-Hole has been quiet because the only people still watching are the real fans who have always known what a selfish dick he is. The “fans” who bought bumper stickers etc. in spring 2009 and who sat in an empty Vet maybe once in their life watching Rico Brogna hit cleanup have already turned their attention to Chip Kelly.

    • Uge - Jul 30, 2013 at 11:42 AM

      Really, JRoll? We’re upset with JRoll? Must not like him for other reasons. Papelbon wants out, Jimmy wants to stay. I don’t like Jimmy’s hitting, but we could do worse at shortstop…that said, I do like Galvis.

      Shortstop is the least of our worries. Plus we won’t get anything good for either Utley or JRoll. So keep them and start to give them days off and platoon them with younger players until the youngsters can take over.
      I know, I know, Charlie won’t do that.

      • BAPS - Jul 30, 2013 at 12:58 PM

        Jimmy wants to stay… For Jimmy. You can’t say ANYTHING to me that will justify your wanting to keep a player here who’s exact response to the question “would you let them trade you” was simply no, because I have team records left to break. Again, lie to me. Tell me you don’t see yourself wearing any other uniform than that which you’ve worn your whole career.

        But yes, I have other reasons as well for my dislike. His overall lack of hustle and effort for the common good over the past 5 years or so is a big part of it. Things like not running out slow grounders, and taking the only off day of the month to do a Red Bull publicity stunt when you can’t seem to stay off the DL are spin offs to those reasons.

        Like Sony T quite obviously stated, anyone who has followed this team over the past decade alraedy knows how much of an absolute jerk he is. I’m done giving him any support.

    • eric - Jul 30, 2013 at 11:46 AM

      Any comment that baselessly attacks Rollins is automatically DQ’d from having any semblance of rationality. Of course, it became down right laughable when it described Galvis and Frandsen as being in the shadows. People are not smart.

    • asd - Jul 30, 2013 at 12:25 PM

      Galvis and Fransden being our options is exactly why Utley and Jimmy are still here. If those first two are the best we got for the immediate future than we got nothing, otherwise we would have let Jimmy go and would let Chase go as well like the Cardinals did with Pujols.

      Rollins is who he always has been. The issue isnt Jimmy or Chase, it’s what’s around them. Which in addition to Revere and Brown being hurt, is nothing. We have no LF, Howard and Chooch are in downward spirals, our bullpen is poop, Michael Young is a band-aid that’s half off. Jimmy and Chase aren’t holes, theyre the only visible people to complain about because everywhere else is just a blackhole. If we had any reasonable strength at other positions, Jimmy and Chase would be doing just fine for us as is.

      • BenE. - Jul 30, 2013 at 12:54 PM

        That Utley and Rollins are having solid seasons is the exact reason the Phillies should trade them. Their stock is most likely as high as it will ever be between now and the end of their careers.

      • eric - Jul 30, 2013 at 2:14 PM

        Ben how many more times are you going to suggest trading Rollins without acknowledging his NTC? For crying out loud, get a clue. You comment the most and almost never get even half of the facts right.

      • Hiccup - Jul 30, 2013 at 8:45 PM

        Rollins would be willing to be traded to a contending team and a good contract, he’s not married to this team; he’s married to his ego.

    • phillies8008 - Jul 30, 2013 at 5:30 PM

      I personally appreciate JRoll’s honestly. Most athletes are narcissistic a-holes. At least Jimmy is honest about it.

  3. Tom - Jul 30, 2013 at 3:13 PM

    After last year, I wanted to get young, instead we ended with Young X2.

  4. mcamike - Jul 30, 2013 at 5:53 PM

    I wonder how much Jimmy (and Chase and Howard for that mattter) will feel like staying around when Charlie’s contract expires at the end of this season. I can’t see Charlie wanting to return at this point and a long-term contract extension seems unrealistic.

    • Hiccup - Jul 30, 2013 at 8:50 PM

      Charlie will not be back next year, his time in Philadelphia is over as of a disasterous road trip predicates. The only way his contract would be extended is if they make it to the World Series again,(still possible but not gonna happen).

  5. philLiketheGroundhogPhil - Jul 30, 2013 at 6:49 PM

    This is correct

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