A few words about Vlad, Young

Judging by comments I’m receiving from readers, I should apologize for writing a story about Vernon Wells — tying his football past into the Super Bowl in his hometown — rather than commenting on something that didn’t happen (the return of Vladimir Guerrero to the Angels) or something that in all likelihood won’t happen (a deal for Michael Young).

I won’t apologize for doing my job, but I will comment on Guerrero and Young.

As for Vlad, one of the best guys I’ve ever covered, when the Wells deal was made, any chance of the great slugger coming back to Anaheim effectively disappeared. There’s no way Guerrero was going to agree to come back and share the DH and swing outfielder role with Bobby Abreu. That’s what would have awaited him in Anaheim.

The Angels are committed to giving Peter Bourjos every shot at center field, and that is wise. His sensational defense will save dozens of runs over the course of the season. With Bourjos flanked by Wells and Torii Hunter, the Angels have a potentially great outfield – two wise veterans with Gold Glove histories guiding and tutoring a rising young star with the ability to be the premier defensive centerfielder in the game.

That leaves Abreu, a necessary component to the offense with his ability to get on base and drive in runs, as the primary DH. The only way Vlad could have come to the Angels in a meaningful role was to return Bourjos to Triple-A Salt Lake and play Hunter or Wells in center, with Abreu at a corner and Guerrero the DH.

At a cost of roughly $8 million, bringing the payroll to about $150 million, that would have improved the offense. But the defense would have slipped significantly — and one of the most exciting young talents in the game (Bourjos) would have been toiling again in the Pacific Coast League.

As for the highly respected Young, the three years and $48 million left on his contract realistically make him difficult to move. The Rangers would have to eat a chunk of that salary or accept a big salary in exchange.

At $16 million a year, Young would be an upgrade at third base for the Angels, obviously, but the truth is, this isn’t Mike Schmidt or Evan Longoria or Ryan Zimmerman. Young is a good player and a great leader. Maicer Izturis is also a good player. If he makes five starts a week to remain healthy, backed by Alberto Callaspo and Brandon Wood, it’s not going to cost the Angels a division title. If Wood relaxes and claims the job, performing to his talent level, the Angels will be in fine shape at third base.

From Texas’ end, unloading your unquestioned clubhouse leader by kicking in millions of dollars makes little or no sense – especially if it would mean improving the club you’ve spent five of the past seven seasons chasing. Young figures to emerge as the first baseman in Texas or the primary DH and all-purpose role player. In either case, he remains a vital part of their attack in the No. 2 spot in manager Ron Washington’s lineup.

Unless he has become extremely unhappy with the turn of events in Texas, starting with losing his third base job to Adrian Beltre, and wants out, Young should adapt yet again to another new role and continue to be a productive player — and hero to young kids in Texas. That’s really the way it should be, if you can look at it objectively. – Lyle Spencer     


  1. gandc

    Maicer Izturis staying healthy and playing 120 games this season is going to be a big part of the Angels potential success. If he’s injured again all season long, they have Callaspo and Wood, but Izturis is their best bet with the tools that he has to offer.

    I sincerely hope that I’m wrong, but I just don’t see Wood coming around much more than he did last year, especially in a more limited role. But like I said, I hope I’m wrong.

    The biggest holes on this team, like it or not, are at catcher and third base. I still feel like the Angels really shot themselves in the foot by sticking themselves to Jeff Mathis behind the plate for a MINIMUM of 100 games this season. Until he can prove that he’s the defensive phenom that the Angels brass keep swearing he is, the automatic out that he basically is every second or third inning just isn’t worth what he does behind the dish.

    If Izturis stays healthy, and the Angels can figure out a way to improve behind the plate and in the 8 hole in the lineup, I actually really like this seasons team the way it’s shaping up.

  2. whitebean49

    Lyle Spencer, what is your problem? As fans, we shouldn’t apologize for wanting to hear about baseball over Vernon Wells’ football past. Why wouldn’t we want to hear about Michael Young leaving, which could help our chances against an already overpowering Texas Rangers club? Why wouldn’t we want to hear about one of the last remaining DH’s on the market when we’re a team in need of some offense?

  3. jhstoneca

    I liked the Wells article; interesting piece on a new (soon to be) fan favorite.

    I actually am posting this in regards to a comment above about Mathis catching 100 games this year. I don’t see that happening. With Napoli gone the Angels have room to potentially carry 3 catchers (Which they did last year for about half the season) giving Wilson and Conger a chance to catch 40-60 games each. There is every chance that should one or the other deliver at the dish that they move Mathis into a late inning defensive sub/reserve role. It’s an if as big as Brandon Wood, but if either works out then the Angels should be in pretty good shape.

  4. vermontreign

    So now that Michael Young has come out and stated publicly that he wants to be traded, do you think it is possible we might see him in Anaheim? I’d really like to see that for a few reasons. 1. I truly believe he’s a better player than Beltre. 2. Taking any offensive weapons from Texas is a good idea. 3. He is a proven leader and is a consistent 300+ hitter (Yes, I am aware he only hit .284 last season). I just really like the guy and I believe he could be a significant addition to the line-up. Its a shame the Rangers have treated him the way they have in the past few years (I understood the moving him over to 3rd for Andrus, but kicking him for Beltre doesn’t make sense to me). Arte and Tony should jump to make this move (P.S.Try not to trade Maicer to accomplish this). Go Halos!

  5. sirmixer

    Lyle, do you see a possibilty of Trout out playing Bourjos in spring training and claiming the center field job???? because I do

  6. sirmixer

    Lyle,, just a quick question or two,, I would love to see Young at 3rd base, though that scenerio seems HIGHLY Un-likey…. Whats YOUR opinion on Brandon Wood? Do you ever think he will produce at the major league level?? He just seems to me,( an outsider looking in) that he is WAY to intimidated and severly lacks the confidence.. i get this simply by the look on his face when at the plate.. It’s always, strike 1- strike 2- strike 3……. what do You feel is his problem with playing in “The Show”?? and I’m also curious to Your thoughts about Callaspo,, I like him, what do you think? Thank You for your time,
    Cheers, Dominic

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