Inbox: Are the Angels a fit for Young?
Beat reporter Lyle Spencer fields Halos fans' questions
I am probably at least the 100th email you have asking about a possible trade for Michael Young, but what do you think? I know he isn't a Gold Glove third baseman, but how would you compare him to Howard Kendrick at second if, hypothetically, they made a multi-team trade and used Kendrick as trade bait since they are deeper in middle infielders in the Minors than third basemen? Young would be a great fit in the No. 2 spot in the order.
-- Jeff R., Fresno, Calif.
I haven't counted the emails, but 100 is probably conservative. As I've mentioned many times on this site, Young is one of the game's most respected players, and with good reason. He's a leader, a gamer, a clutch hitter, a total player. He'd enhance any lineup and clubhouse. But there are a lot of issues to consider here, and a deal for Young might not be the slam-dunk game-changer many fans seem to believe.
Defensively, Young and Kendrick are about equal. I'd give Maicer Izturis the edge over Young with the glove at third, and Brandon Wood and Alberto Callaspo are at least Young's equal defensively. So, to make this move, you'd need to be secure that Young is not just better, but significantly better, offensively than what you have. I'm not convinced that's the case.
As good a hitter as Young has been over the years, his home and road career splits are weighted heavily toward production at hitter-friendly Rangers Ballpark.
Career home: .322 batting average, .372 on-base, .487 slugging, 90 home runs.
Career road: .279/.322/.411, 68 homers.
In 2010, the splits were .307/.361/.509, with 16 homers at home; .260/.299/.380, with five homers on the road.
Young's declining defensive metrics -- range factor, zone rating -- were the main reason the Rangers signed Adrian Beltre to play third base. I still admire and respect Young, but when you break it all down, $48 million for three years is a risky investment for even a player as good as Michael Young at age 34.
With the Angels possessing the fifth-highest payroll in the Majors at the moment ($122.8 million) -- with Jered Weaver's arbitration still to be resolved -- taking on Young seems prohibitive. Only the Yankees, Phillies, Red Sox and Mets have higher 2011 payrolls, according to Baseball-Reference.com. The Angels would have to unload significant salary in the swap or get millions coming back in a deal -- highly unlikely. A deal could be done, but I have my doubts.
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Do you think Mark Trumbo and Hank Conger are ready to compete at the big league level? If not, when are they?
-- Kyle I., Yorba Linda, Calif.
Opportunity is all that is holding back Trumbo and Conger, a couple of local kids with superior talents. Trumbo, knowing he is blocked at first by Morales, is making an effort to become a corner outfielder. How quickly he develops those skills could figure in how quickly he draws Major League at-bats. He could be a right-handed DH right now, having impressed over the winter after a huge season at Triple-A Salt Lake.
Conger has everything in place to be a quality catcher for a decade: developing defensive skills, nice arm, the potential to direct a pitching staff, and power and discipline from both sides of the plate. My guess is that they'll emerge as important pieces in 2012, but injuries, slumps or trades could hasten their arrival this season.
It has been said the Angels could be a suitor for Albert Pujols if the Cardinals do not work out an extension and he becomes a free agent at the end of the year. Given owner Arte Moreno's recent comments about huge contracts, is this possible?
-- Jason M., Huntington Beach, Calif.
I wouldn't classify a Pujols signing by the Angels as impossible -- but it's close to that. Pujols is going to be looking for about $30 million a year for eight-to-10 years. I can't see how the Angels could do that, especially given that their best position player, Morales, is a first baseman. Morales could move to the outfield, yes, but I don't see this as a realistic possibility.
With all the money problems the Mets are having, how about a trade for Jose Reyes? Give the Mets Erick Aybar and a prospect, and now the Angels have their leadoff hitter.
-- Steve B., Chino, Calif.
From all indications, the Mets plan to hold onto Reyes and see how the season goes. If they're out of contention by midseason -- a possibility given how loaded the Phillies are -- they could put him on the block and see what they can get in return. Reyes is a spectacular talent, and he'd be an upgrade at the top of anybody's lineup. I would say that is a possibility for the Angels in late July, but I wouldn't bank on it. I anticipate a return to form by Aybar, who is in Reyes' class defensively and batted .312 just two years ago.
Would the Rockies trade Ian Stewart to the Angels for Maicer Izturis/Brandon Wood/Alberto Callaspo, along with prospects?
-- Michael C., Cypress, Calif.
Stewart, a local athlete with power and athleticism, is an impressive talent who hasn't quite lived up to his potential in Colorado. The Rockies value him and would require something significant in exchange. He's a middle-of-the-order brand of hitter, not the leadoff type the club seems to be focused on acquiring if it makes a move.
Do you think landing Scott Podsednik to bat leadoff would be a smart move?
-- James B., Orange County
If signing Podsednik means sending Peter Bourjos back to Salt Lake for more seasoning, and playing Vernon Wells in center, I'm not supportive of the move. Bourjos is too valuable to the defense, in my view, and he has the potential to hit on Podsednik's level given some time to develop.
Lyle Spencer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.