Originally posted on Fangraphs  |  Last updated 12/7/12
The Phillies have a hole at third base, and Michael Young is a man without a position in Texas. These two problems look to be coalescing into a trade between the Rangers and Phillies, where Texas would ship Young to Philadelphia in order to give him the chance to have a regular gig again, and they’d receive a little bit of salary relief in the process. The Rangers would still be on the hook for $10 million of the $16 million he’s due in 2013, a natural response to the fact that Young was Major League Baseball’s worst regular player in 2012, but they’d free up a roster spot, save a bit of money, and give one of the franchise’s most popular players a chance to keep his career going in a new city. From that perspective, the deal makes a world of sense for Texas. But, despite Young’s dismal 2012 season, I like this deal for the Phillies as well. As I noted on ESPN Insider yesterday, there’s a decent list of recent performers who have apparently fallen apart in their mid-30s, only to rebound the next season and regain most of their pre-faceplant production. While Young was genuinely terrible last year, we also need to keep in mind that single year performance isn’t the best indicator of future performance, and any decent projection should be informed by his success prior to 2012 as well as his failure last year. Even if we just take the most basic projection possible and do a 5/3/2 weighting system on his last three season WARs, we’d still come out with a projection of around +1 WAR for 2013. Interestingly, of the 19 players I identified in that ESPN piece who had negative WAR seasons between 34 and 36 and then played another season, their average WAR in the follow-up year was +1 WAR, and a good chunk of the guys in the sample were above average players in their rebound season. There’s reasons to think Young could be one of those bounce back players as well. Young is a high contact line drive hitter who rarely hits infield fly balls, which is the main reason he’s posted a career .334 BABIP despite not being the fastest guy around. Last year, his BABIP fell to .299, the lowest he’s posted since his rookie season back in 2001. If you prefer, here’s the graphical form. He’s already had two recent declines that weren’t predictive, as his drops in both 2008 and 2010 were followed by seasons where he put up a BABIP over .350. The Phillies shouldn’t be betting on that for 2013, but there’s real reason to think that his average will get a bump from basic regression to the mean next year. Even if he’s not hitting for a lot of power, Young’s high contact/gap power skills make him not that dissimilar from Jeff Keppinger, who was also in the mix to play third base for the Phillies before he signed a three year, $12 million contract with the White Sox. Both are roughly average hitters with poor defensive skills at multiple positions in their mid-30s. Both have enough value to be a nice stopgap third baseman on a contender, especially at a marginal price. Young’s $6 million pricetag next season is a little higher than Keppinger’s $4 million, but it’s only a one year commitment, so the overall deals aren’t that far apart in value. I’m sure there’s going to be a subset of folks who mock the Phillies acquisition of Young if he accepts the trade, based on the fact that Young was truly awful for the Rangers last year. However, at $6 million for one year, Young is a decent fill-in for a team in win now mode, and there is historical precedent for these kinds of players rebounding to prior form. Young might not be what he used to be anymore, but we shouldn’t just assume he’s done because he had one lousy season. For the Phillies, this is not a bad risk to take, and assuming it goes through, looks like a win-win for both sides.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Brady would be 'very jealous' if Manning wins Super Bowl

John Elway takes swipe at John Fox

Jets DT: I won't watch a Super Bowl 'until I play in one'

Hall of Fame coach: Stephen Curry is the best of all time

Reggie Bush on NFL future: ‘I’m not retiring’

Derek Fisher blasts Rondo over triangle offense criticism

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Report: Marshawn Lynch hasn't spent any playing money

Ex-King says he could do 'much better job' than George Karl

Trainer thought Thomas Davis would not play in Super Bowl

Todd Gurley named NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year

Durant, Westbrook on loss to Warriors: We're not scared

Report: Eagles interested in bringing back Nick Foles

WATCH: Tom Brady booed during Super Bowl 50 MVP ceremony

Cam Newton's cleats have 'MVP' and stats written on them

Concession prices incredibly high at Super Bowl 50

Fan at Super Bowl 50 wears awesome dual-team jersey

Skip Bayless whiffed badly on Cam Newton prediction

Stephen Curry to serve as guest drummer for Panthers

Charlie Sheen tweets advice for Johnny Manziel

Cardale Jones predicts he will play in Super Bowl

QUIZ: Name the winning starting quarterback from every Super Bowl

Marcin Gortat fires back at critic on Twitter

WATCH: Kerr told Warriors he was happy to have close game

Broncos could have tough decision with franchise tag

WATCH: Steph Curry does 'Dab' on court on eve of Super Bowl

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Curry to serve as drummer for Panthers

Report: Marshawn Lynch plans to retire

The 14 biggest plays in Super Bowl history

Five outrageous predictions for Super Bowl 50

QUIZ: Name the winning starting quarterback from every Super Bowl

The top six matchups that could decide Super Bowl 50

Seven unheralded players set to make major impacts in SB 50

10 underrated performances in the NBA Slam Dunk Contest

X-factors in Super Bowl 50

NHL nightmare: No Canadian teams in playoff hunt

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker