Michael Young has a Dodgers offer on the table if he wants it, but with Spring Training now less than a month away, the 37-year-old infielder is still considering retirement.
Whether or not Young decides to return, what’s relevant here is that the Dodgers want him to return. In theory, that’s terrible because rabble rabble double plays hargle bargle veteran presence etc. If he signs, we’ll all laugh and yell and scream, because that’s what we do.
But in practice, I’m really not so sure it’s worth the angst. At this point in his career, Young is woefully overextended as an every day player, but that’s not what his role would be. At the moment, the Dodgers have no good backup to Juan Uribe at third, unless you really believe in Chone Figgins or Justin Sellers. At first base, they have Scott Van Slyke as a decent backup option, but with the outfield glut, there’s no guarantee he even makes the roster. (I’m pretending that the idea of Young playing the middle infield positions is nothing more than a sick joke or something that happens in the meaningless 162nd game of a season.)
If we can put aside our general distaste for him, the reality is this: he had a .320 wOBA last year, and all non-pitchers in baseball had a .318 wOBA. As a hitter, he was a roughly league-average player, and it’s his defense that really ruined his value. Considering the current infield alternatives on the bench — Figgins, Sellers, Dee Gordon, etc. — it’s difficult to get too crazy about this idea.
Right up until Don Mattingly uses Young over Van Slyke or someone in a big situation in the 9th and he grounds into a double play, of course. It might not even be an issue, if he chooses to retire. But the state of the bench is so weak at this point that even Young isn’t a huge detriment. It’s not a great situation, yet that’s the reality.