Chris Young was on his way to a fantastic season. At least it seemed that way. The Diamondbacks' outfielder was hitting .410 with five home runs on April 17th when he was injured. He spent time on the disabled list and did not return to action until May 18th. His average and his power numbers slowly dipped from there to the end of the season. By the end of may he was hitting .286. By the end of the season, he was hitting .231. But none of that discouraged Oakland A's GM Billy Beane from pulling off a three-team deal that sent Young to Oakland.
According to Matt Snyder of CBS Sports, the Diamondbacks sent Chris Young to Oakland in exchange for Cliff Pennington, a light-hitting middle infielder. The Diamondbacks then immediately flipped Pennington to the Miami Marlins for Heath Bell.
Young going to the A's for an infielder who hit .215/.278/.311 last season should be the highlight of this trade. It could be one of the signature moves made by the always savvy Beane. However, with Young's injury history, it could also be a bust. Last season's injury was to his right shoulder. He hurt himself while crashing into the wall in center field trying to make a catch. He didn't tear the shoulder, but he bruised it, and it clearly affected his play.
Young has always been a streaky player as well. Perhaps it's related to injuries, but he has been up and down - both at the plate and literally in where he plays. In 2010, the Diamondbacks were fed up with his struggles and sent Young to Triple-A for a good chunk of time. They gave him time to work on his swing and cut down on his strikeouts. Maybe it worked, maybe it didn't. It depends on how you judge a player's value to the team.
Young is a career .239/.318/.437 hitter. He strikes out a lot. He goes down swinging (or looking) 22.7% of the time. His best season for strikeout percentage came in his rookie season when he played only 30 games. He struck out just 15.4% of the time. Despite the strikeouts, there is no denying Young has power. He has 132 home runs in seven seasons, but remember, he did not play full seasons each year. In fact, Young played in 150 or games just three times in those seven seasons.
The A's are getting an interesting player with a lot of potential, but they are getting a player who will come with a lot of frustration. Young is still just 29 years old and can play the outfield with the best of the them. The trade, though, shows a continued shift in Billy Beane's front office philosophy. This season's A's, who won the American League West, were not the same type of team from the early 2000's that got on base a lot. In fact, OBP was clearly not a focus for this year's team. Power seemed to be a focus. Young brings that power.
The A's certainly did not get any worse with this trade. If Young can perform like he did in 2010 when he hit .257/.341/.452, the A's will be getting a smoking deal on the trade.
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