Thursday, February 10, 2011

Should the Toronto Blue Jays Go After Carlos Delgado or Michael Young?

Carlos Delgado and Michael Young are both former Dunedin Blue Jays. Should Toronto ensure a reunion in 2011?

Yes and No. 
No offense to Vernon Wells (or anyone from the 90's championship teams)... but Carlos Delgado is the best position player in Toronto Blue Jays history by a long shot. And maybe the best player as well.

Delgado's 2000 season is drop-dead off the charts, and may be the best non-steroids-enhanced campaign ever by a batter (or at least among players not named in the Mitchell Report, I don't want to be called naive or anything). That summer he hit .344/470/.664 while launching 41 homers, walking 19 times more than he struck out. He played all 162 games and would do so again in 2001.

There's no question that his skills have dropped off the table significantly since then, but he can still put up a .500 SLG and I believe would be a great bench player who occasionally could fill in at first base against lefties for Adam Lind. But it's about more just his still-present tools. 2011 is likely his last season, and the Blue Jays should induct the Hall of Fame-hopeful into their Level of Excellence. He's more deserved than most of the players currently on it, despite never winning a World Series or even playing in the post-season for Toronto.

Delgado wouldn't really cost anything to start with either, it's very likely that Minor League contracts will be all he'll be choosing from in the first place. Alex Anthopolous has said that he still has some work to do regarding the Blue Jays bench, a Carlos Delgado signing would be a great place to start.

On the other hand, the Blue Jays need absolutely no part of Michael Young. Nothing about him makes sense - the contract, his defense, and his rapidly declining batting skills that were never great to begin with. Michael Young, the proclaimed 'face of the Rangers', has never put up a WAR over 4.2, and that was back in 2005.

His defense is much worse than that of Edwin Encarnacion, Young's UZR/150 in 2010 was -5.8, to EE's -2.3, so a better idea would just be to stick Encarnacion back at third base and sign a DH (would have worked if AA had decided on this plan in early January). 

This idea would have been much cheaper, which brings up to his contract. Michael Young is owed $16 million annually through 2013. Yes, I'd be fine with the Jays acquiring Young if the Rangers kicked in about $30 million (granted, with nobody heading to Texas), but that's not happening.

And even if the Blue Jays could get Michael Young with the Rangers paying Toronto that much cash, would it even be worth it? Will Michael Young even eclipse Juan Rivera in production in 2011, if both were given 500 at-bats? I'm skeptical. 

Or will a Young/Bautista 3B/RF combo even play better defense than a Bautista/Rivera 3B/RF combo? In short, I don't think so. Bautista is, by most metrics, a tad below average defensively at third. The difference between Rivera and Bautista in right field is probably a wash, which Bautista clearly edges Young in defense at third base.

By now it should be fairly obvious that in no way will acquiring Michael Young help the Blue Jays, and by 2013 Young's middling skills will probably be so faded that he's not even worth giving a bench spot to.

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