COMMENTARY | If life had a soundtrack, the last 48 hours of Michael Young's life would have been to the tune of Final Jeopardy.
Texas or Philadelphia?
Lone Star State or Keystone State?Utility Infielder or Everyday Third Baseman?
I'm not surprised it took Young a couple of days to make up his mind. I wouldn't have taken that decision lightly either. When a player spends his entire career in one uniform, it's hard to imagine anything else. But in the end, he made the best choice for his career.
Michael Young is a competitor, and competitors want to play every day. Texas no longer offered that opportunity. Philadelphia did.
The City of Philadelphia will quickly fall in love with Michael Young. He's a solid, old-school type of player that has become rare in today's game but Phillies fans greatly appreciate. Aaron Rowand was not a superstar in his brief stint with the Phillies, but he was willing to put his nose through the center field wall to catch a fly ball.
No other fan base appreciates players who put their faces through walls quite like Philadelphia.
Known as Mr. Ranger, Young was and is the face of the Texas Rangers, owning most of the Rangers' record book. He is the franchise leader in hits (2,230), runs (1,085) and doubles (415) among several others.
Richard Durrett of ESPNDallas.com quoted Rangers outfielder David Murphy as saying "Mike's the glue that holds everybody together. He's just a guy that creates a great atmosphere in our clubhouse regardless of whether you are a rookie, whether you've been around a long time, whether you're a player that has just signed as a free agent or traded for. Everybody feels welcome in our clubhouse and everybody gets along."
The reservation for most Phillies fans is his age. At 36, Young will join one of the oldest infields in the league with Jimmy Rollins (34), Chase Utley (33) and Ryan Howard (33). Young may not be the same player who won the 2005 batting title or who went to seven all-star games, but at his age, his stats are comparable to one hall of famer who had a similar career path.
Cal Ripken Jr.
At age 35, Ripken hit .278 with 178 hits, 24 home runs, 102 RBIs and a .341 OBP. Last season, Young hit .277 with 169 hits, 8 home runs, 67 RBIs and a .312 OBP as the Rangers' primary DH. Aside from the obvious gap in run production (Young hit lower in the lineup), their contact stats are similar.
The following season, Ripken hit .270 with 166 hits, 17 home runs, 84 RBIs and a .331 OBP. Not that much of a drop-off. In fact, Ripken - who had played in more games than Young at this point in his career - maintained similar production through the final five seasons of his career.
Michael Young has a higher career batting average (.301) and on-base percentage (.347) than Cal Ripken Jr. and has plenty more left in him.
Given the thin market for third basemen this offseason; this is a great trade for the Phillies. Many expected them to go to extreme lengths to solve their problems, and they almost did.
Contract offers to B.J. Upton and Angel Pagan would have had the Phillies spend more than $10 million on a center fielder alone, but their patience helped them solve both center field and third base for less than $7 million.
They now have approximately $27 million in payroll to spend on a fourth starter, bullpen arm and a veteran outfielder.
Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. has been criticized in the past for over spending. This season, however, he showed he can be a savvy GM and make the little moves that tend to pay off in the playoffs.
In 2008, the Phillies got key contributions from Joe Blanton and Matt Stairs - both under-the-radar mid-season acquisitions - on their way to their first World Series title in 28 years.
Since then, other franchises have won championships on the shoulders of the likes of David Freese, Cody Ross and Marco Scutaro while the Phillies spent big bucks on Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee and came away empty handed.
The trades for Ben Revere and Michael Young may not be the splash fans were expecting, but they are the types of moves that can pay huge dividends.
Remember, there are still some big names left out there, and it's only December 8th. By a show of hands, who predicted Cliff Lee would sign with the Phillies on this day in 2010?
Scott Lentz is an award-winning writer and filmmaker and contributor to Yahoo! Sports and TheGamingAdvisory.com. He grew up in the Philadelphia area and currently resides in the nearby suburb of West Chester. For more sports commentary and conversation, follow Scott on Twitter: @scottlentz27.
All stats a figures courtesy of baseball-reference.com.
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