COMMENTARY | I don't know about you, but I am always interested in whom the Boston Red Sox might trade for, as are many other fans.
Following trade rumors connected to the Red Sox in the media, it becomes more or less evident which of these are credible and which are just downright ridiculous. As a general rule of thumb, rumors that simply appear and lack reason are lent no further legitimacy when connected to unnamed sources or mysterious insiders. Such claims are without merit. That being said, rumors themselves are just that, usually second-hand information full of conjecture.I read two articles this past weekend, one from WEEI that rumored that Micheal Young of the Philadelphia Phillies "could eventually find himself on Boston's radar in the coming weeks"; the other from the New York Post that stated confidently that "according to a major league source ... the Boston Red Sox want him (Micheal Young) badly."
Micheal Young? Really? Of course, neither article provided any named source, rather just unnamed "industry and major league sources." Setting aside for a minute the obvious lack of authenticity with regards to this trade, I want to investigate this baseless rumor.
There can be no doubt that the Red Sox need another backup, or potentially starting, third baseman should Stephen Drew remain out of the starting lineup. Currently, they have two minor league players on the active roster that can back up José Iglesias. This past weekend's series (June 28-30) against the Blue Jays revealed just what the situation is.
Whom might the Red Sox utilize to fill this void going forward? Without quoting unnamed sources, the most realistic first options do not include Micheal Young.
If the Boston Red Sox have a player within their system that can replace José Iglesias at 3B if need be, they would obviously choose this option first. They need a player with strong defensive abilities, like Iglesias. They do not need this third baseman to hit .421. Will Middlebrooks is not yet this player. Jonathan Diaz is not yet this player, nor is Brandon Snyder. These are most of the options within the minor league system that the Red Sox have. They might suffice, they might not. There's a month to find out, but the clock is ticking and the trade deadline looms.
Moving on to the Micheal Young rumor, the 36-year-old has a fielding percentage of .962 (6 errors in 70 games played at 3B this year) and is owed approximately $3 million for the remainder of the year. In 2014, he becomes a free agent. Not the worst trade option, but the defense could be better.
Looking elsewhere, which I would have to believe Red Sox management is doing, there is another more realistic backup for the Red Sox at 3B. This option does not require "unnamed sources" to reveal any ground-breaking inside information. Simply observing important factors brings one to the reasonable conclusion that Placido Polanco is a much better option than Micheal Young.
Nearly one year to the day older, but with half the amount of money due him in 2013 than Micheal Young and a fielding percentage at 3B of .986 with 65 games played at 3B this year (that's 2 errors), no one in his or her right mind would believe that Young is a better second option than the 2014 free agent Polanco. That conclusion is simply based on facts, not on reports from unknown second and third sources. This is what one would have to guess is the clear, second option after minor leaguers.
Of course, management across the major leagues tend to play their cards close to their chest, but it is possible to do better than simply surmise as to what they might be up to. Placido Polanco has to come before Micheal Young when rationally discussing any trade rumors surrounding 3B and the Boston Red Sox. Time will tell if indeed this hunch is accurate.
Patrick Bernier is a freelance writer who has been following the Boston Red Sox for 25 years.
You can follow Patrick on Twitter @PatrickBern7.
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