Dmitri Young is a house on fire. He can’t be stopped. He won’t be stopped. And pitty the poor fool who tries to stop him, because he will get steamrolled.
Young is a legitimate all-star playing for baseball’s worst team, and as such is a prime candidate to be traded before the July 31 trade deadline. The fact that Young is signed to a one-year contract makes him even more likely to be dealt.
You’d think that teams would be lining up for Dmitri’s services. After all, the man is hitting .342 with nine HR and 52 RBI — not bad for somebody who’s hitting in a pitcher’s park with almost no lineup protection.
What’s more, I don’t think Dmitri’s numbers are a fluke. True, he’s well above his career averages. But he’s also sober, which is something he couldn’t claim in the past. Also, his contact rate in 2007 is higher than usual which should keep his batting average around .270-.280 the rest of the way, which is respectable. And he’s hitting more flyballs this year with a fewer % of them going over the fence, which shows his HR total is no fluke.
But as the trade deadline looms, I’m having a hard time figuring out who, if anyone, will trade for Dmitri. Let’s look at the Contenders:
Mets: They’ve got Delgado
Braves: They’ve got Salty and just traded for Julio Franco. On the other hand, if it quickly becomes apparent that Franco can no longer hit, Young might start looking like a real good option.
Phillies. They’ve got Ryan Howard.
Brewers: They’ve got Prince Fielder.
Cubs: They’ve got Derrek Lee.
Dodgers: They’ve got James Loney.
Padres: They’ve got Adrian Gonzalez, though he’s been slumping mightily of late.
Diamondbacks: Young would provide an upgrade over Connor Jackson, at least offensively. This could happen. But of all the areas the D-Backs might want to improve, I doubt 1B is at the top of their list.
Yankees: The Yanks have shown an interest in trading for a first baseman. I think this is Young’s most likely destination, though the name you hear most frequently associated with New York is Mark Teixeira. Still, Young could help the Yanks as either a 1B or a DH.
Red Sox: Boston has also been mentioned as a possible destination for Teixeira, but I don’t see why they’d consider messing with first base. Youkalis has been great this year. I don’t see Young (or anybody else) taking Youk’s place.
Indians: Ryan Garko doesn’t hit for as high an average as Young, but his OBP is pretty decent and his HR, RBI and runs scored numbers are similar. The Tribe will stand pat.
Tigers: I just don’t see Young going back to Detroit. Not after the team cut him in the middle of last season. Even though Dmitri would make a lot of sense as a replacement for the aging Sean Casey.
Angels: The Halos could use Young, either at 1B or at DH. But the team won’t bench veteran Garrett Anderson. And they’ll probably choose to add a guy with more power, if they make a move.
Mariners: Young would be a definite improvement over Richie Sexton and his .200 avg. But I don’t think the M’s are ready to bench Sexton, who is making $15 million this season. Then again, the Phillies have shown a willingness to bench Pat Burrell and his $13 million salary, so anything is possible.
Ultimately, I think it will come down to the Yankees and the Angels, with the Yankees being the best fit and the Angels being the most likely destination.
Young, in my opinion, is unlikely to end up with the Yankees because Nationals GM Jim Bowden will surely ask for prospects in return, and the Yankees are thin on prospects and trying to grow their farm system, not deplete it.
The Angels have a ton of talented prospects and could afford to part with a AA kid in return for a bat that could help them lock up the devision.
**Thanks Paul for the research.