Well, is he? Probably not seeing as Michael Young has been playing more first base than third since the trade deadline.
Okay, but apparently up until three weeks ago, Young was the worst everyday third baseman in the Majors, this according to wins above replacement. Ryan Fagan for The Sporting News compiled a position-by-position list of the worst everyday players based on WAR, which found Young at the bottom of the pile over at the hot corner – after a little tiebreaker anyway.
WAR (and other stats): 0.1, .271/.334/.393, eight homers, 37 RBIs
2013 salary: $16 million
The question of why the Phillies didn’t trade this free agent-to-be at the non-waiver deadline has to flummox Philadelphia baseball fans, but that’s neither here nor there.
Technically, Young and Matt Dominiguez are tied with a 0.1 Fangraphs WAR, but using Baseball-Reference as a tie-breaker, Young gets the nod.
Still though, was or is Young really the worst starting third baseman in baseball? There are six qualifying third basemen who have been less productive at the plate this season based on OPS, which are your on-base and slugging percentages added together. And while he wasn’t winning a Gold Glove or anything, I’m not sure fielding cuts into the difference between Young and a few of these guys all that much.
It should also be noted the Phillies aren’t paying him $16 million, either. The Texas Rangers reportedly picked up the tab for $10 mil or so of that when they traded him to Philly in the offseason. That takes some of the sting away.
I guess the argument is moot anyhow. Cody Asche is seeing most of the action at third these days, and Young will not be retained once he reaches free agency at season’s end – so one area we do have to agree with the writer, again, is how dumb it is not to have dealt the 36 year old for whatever basically.
Of course, had the Phillies been contending at this point in the year like they originally planned, at least they had an everyday third baseman. Whether he was the worst or not – and I’d lean not – they were still better off than they’ve been in recent years with Placido Polanco, who’s always in and out of the lineup and conveniently did not have enough ABs to qualify for this dubious honor.
Oh well. WAR says Michael Young is the worst, so clearly he is.