Ignore the naysayers. Pay special attention to the cynics who actually think they know better (and always think they know better) than the professionals in the front offices of major league baseball clubs, most of whom have worked their entire adult lives to rise to those positions. Turn away from the nonsense with as dismissive a wave of the hand as you can muster.
Don't listen to this, don't buy into this (and note the near-compulsive use of word “I” in the writer's posts), and with the exception of the comment about defense, really really really don't listen to this and this, from a Sports Illustrated writer who is smart enough to know better.
The first place and playoff bound Dodgers acquired veteran infielder Michael Young from the Phillies in a last-minute deal for minor league pitcher Rob Rasmussen Saturday, with Young set to join the team in Colorado tomorrow. The Dodgers know what they're doing. Just don't listen to the critics.
Do listen to Ned Colletti when he talks about character and experience. Listen to Colletti when he sums up his thoughts about Young like this: “I think he's a professional player who has a chance to help us…We have a long way to go and when you can add people this time of year who bring what he brings, we've gone for it and will continue to go for it.”
Listen to Don Mattingly's complementary comment here: “He makes us stronger. He gives us more options. Gives us a chance to spell Adrian [Gonzalez], if we want to spell Juan [Uribe]”
Because that's it exactly. Exactly. Young isn't taking Uribe's job. Not at all. Los Angeles leads by 10 ½ with 27 games left on the schedule. They're going to clinch with somewhere between 10 days and two weeks to go. Young will play a few games for Gonzalez at first base and spell Uribe a handful at third after the division is decided, and perhaps man one position or the other a couple times in the meantime.
Two or three or four games or parts of games in the field with the crown on the line (and it isn't really) is all we're about talking. Just enough to keep everyone both rested and sharp.
He'll pinch hit in place of Scott Hairston here, instead of Skip Schumaker there and even in place of Dee Gordon someplace else. It's an extra bat and a good one. Fine naysayers, perhaps Young's lifetime .300/.346/.441, with 2359 hits, 439 doubles, 185 homers and 1230 RBIs don't apply perfectly because he's 36, that was then and this is now.
They don't disappear from the equation entirely either. Not in the least. Neither does his participation in seven postseason series, two of them of the “World” variety, and all of them in the last three seasons. And while it's an admittedly small sample size, Young's .409 average, with two home runs and eight RBIs in 22 career at bats at Dodger Stadium doesn't hurt matters either.
Maybe what it all comes down to for the 14-year veteran is a DH appearance in a World Series game in the American League city, of which there can be up to four this year. Maybe he gets three at bats in a single AL game, or a dozen over three, or maybe he pinch hits in key spot in the National League Division Series the first week of October.
There were a couple of opportunities where Young could have contributed just last night in a pinch hitting role, had he been acquired 48 hours earlier. Those are great options to give Mattingly, and are equally important in giving the opposing manager something to ponder a batter or an inning in advance.
That's what this trade for Michael Young is about. Options for the skipper; options for the club. Experience, depth, hitting, character, and more experience. Division Series and League Championship Series and World Series experience.
Props to Ned Colletti for pulling the string. Ignore the naysayers. Fine, I'll say it. Ignore them and listen to me, essentially. All eyes here, and on the Dodgers, as they enter September. Because all they did in August is go 23-6, best in baseball, while registering the most wins in a month in Los Angeles history.
The Dodgers know what they're talking about, OK. They know. The naysayers don't.