If you have read anything I’ve written on SDI since its creation or follow me on Twitter, then you have no doubt noticed that I am very optimistic of the Rangers. I’m not a fan boy, because I will call out Wash for bunts, or Elvis for errors. I like the team JD has put together for this season, and even with the injuries to the pitching staff they continue to prevail. The Rangers have six pitchers on the DL, but yet they continue to survive. There is something to be said for that. Either it’s the front office or Wash or the players or “the clubhouse“. That brings me to my point…..“the clubhouse. “
The phrase “good clubhouse guy” or “clubhouse leader” is thrown around in baseball like “locker room cancer” is thrown around in the NBA. I think that there are “clubhouse douches” but very few “clubhouse leaders” unless we are talking about one strong veteran on a team of rookies. The Texas Rangers do not have a team of rookies. They have a mix of veterans, young players and due to injury, a few rookies on the 25 man roster. I think a guy can bring a clubhouse down, but one guy cannot make a great team because of chemistry. (see: any office setting) Here’s my point:
Teams are successful because of their talent on the field. Very little success comes from one person‘s leadership in the clubhouse. Chemistry is one thing, but one person is not the catalyst of it all. A true clubhouse leader can bring individual players together for a common cause on occasion, and we generally call this person “the Manager”.
So far this season I’ve been very quiet on the Michael Young front. I hold the same opinion as my friend and colleague Eddie Middlebrook on his production, but I have refrained from any public comment, hoping that he will break out of this slump. Young has been terrible in certain situations, and the perception is a 6-4-3 double play is inevitable with a runner at 1st and MY at bat.
#PADMY (for those of you not on Twitter that is the hashtag Past A Diving Michael Young) has obviously struggled so far. He’s hitting .273, which is not bad, but a far cry from his career average of .302. However he has an OBP of .306, a SLG of .357 and an OPS of .663. What does this mean? Michael Young this year is terrible. He’s batting 5th in the Texas Rangers lineup with 17 extra base hits. Last year Young had 88 XBH, and we are half way through the 2012 season and he has 17. That ladies and gentlemen is a huge decline of approximately 61%.
Young is 35 years old with a declining bat and is a disaster in the field. The PADMY tweets aren’t few and far between when he plays third base, or even first base. He botched a run down two nights ago that a high school player would have made, and his range is less than that of Carnie Wilson at an all you can eat buffet.
Michael Young makes $12 million this year and $13 million next year (according to Scott Lucas). For those of us without math degrees that is $25 million this year and next combined. $25 million for a “clubhouse leader”? A guy who has an OPS of .663? Young’s bWAR (-1.4) is in the negative this year, which means a replacement player is better than his production. For example Ranger fans, Chris Davis has a better OBP at .321 and his WAR is 0.7. People, WE ARE TALKING ABOUT CHRIS DAVIS!!!
I digress. Many people think that Michael Young is “the face of the franchise.” I disagree. Nolan Ryan is the #Face. To think that sending Young down in the order would be a “clubhouse disaster” is asinine. Michael Young comes to play every day. He’s a professional baseball player, and to his credit, he acts like one. MY will hit in any spot in the order, but he’s not MY anymore, he’s a decaying player.
Young hit .302 last year and had a great season. He is a batting champion, and has led the league in hits twice. But his production is way down, and it’s time to face reality. Contract aside, and “clubhouse” aside, it’s time to look in a different direction. The contract is an albatross, we all know this, and nobody will take it. The Rangers are stuck, unless they trade him and pay 75% of it, because that’s what it will take.
JD is smart, and Wash knows his club, but it is time to take a hard look at a guy who can’t play the field and makes way more than he’s worth. I don’t blame Young for this contract, you’d be stupid not to have signed it at the time. However, times change and players decline. Young has declined past the point of hitting 5th in this lineup. He needs to be dropped in the order, or give some of his at-bats to more productive options. The time has come.