With the deadline of Saturday, August 31, at 9 p.m. PDT for newly added players to be eligible for postseason play looming, the Los Angeles Dodgers acquired veteran infielder Michael Young, as well as cash considerations from the Philadelphia Phillies late Saturday evening. In return, the Phillies received minor league pitcher and former UCLA Bruin, Rob Rasmussen.
On the surface, the acquisition of Young may have confused some since the former shortstop now spends his time primarily playing first and third base — two positions where the Dodgers already have every day starters in Adrian Gonzalez and Juan Uribe.
Furthermore, in the final year of his contract, the 36-year-old Young is in the twilight of his career and is no longer the prolific player he was while a member of the Texas Rangers. However, Young does have World Series experience, a batting title (2005), a Gold Glove (2008), and as a native of Covina, Ca., waived his no-trade clause so he could return home to play for the team he grew up rooting for.
As a team with World Series aspirations, the addition of Young could prove to be critical for the Dodgers. With the American League having won the All-Star game, whichever AL team that reaches the World Series will have home field advantage. Meaning, should the Dodgers reach the World Series, they won’t have the luxury of sending their pitchers to the plate anywhere from two to four games in a potential matchup with the winners of the AL.
Yes, you read that correctly.
Unlike most pitching staffs, the Dodgers’ is compiled of pitchers who are potent with a bat in their hands. Led by Zack Greinke who is batting .340, and including Clayton Kershaw and Hyun-Jin Ryu, the three Dodger pitchers have combined for 36 hits and 17 RBIs.
With the usage of a designated hitter in AL stadiums, the Dodgers would have to use an extra position player to bat in their lineup, which would have left them with only three remaining options off the bench. Adding Young means an extra person added to the bench and more versatility.
The Dodgers acquiring Young is a minimal risk-big benefit move. Considering the teams has already taken on Ricky Nolasco and helped turn his season around, as well as Brian Wilson, and Carlos Mármol, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Young exceed his production thus far now that he too is in a Dodger uniform.