Cardinals rumors: Michael Young, Mark Reynolds, and other 25th men

Eric Christian Smith

Can you figure out how to get excited about Michael Young?

Here's an interesting thing about Michael Young, if you're looking for one: His 2005 season on Baseball-Reference. This is like the season Adam Dunn would have at shortstop. Start off with a 28-year-old future Gold Glove winner costing 32 runs on defense, and finish with him at 3.2 wins above replacement anyway. That requires 221 hits, 40 doubles, five triples, 24 home runs, 159 games, and a career-high 58 walks, or at least it did in 2005.

He's not going to do that now, of course. But the St. Louis Cardinals did all of their renovations a little too fast. The Winter Meetings are not for talking about Michael Young, or at least they aren't in 2013, but there's nothing left. Now Young is a guy who might possibly help the Cardinals steal the platoon advantage a little more often.

The problem isn't that Young can't really play second base anymore—the problem is that he's taken spectacularly badly to third base, where guys who hit like this are supposed to land. If Mike Young were an average third baseman, he'd be a great fit; as things stand now, he's the kind of reach you make when you've run out of things to talk about.

Here's an interesting thing about Mark Reynolds—well, you know the interesting thing about Mark Reynolds. Mark Reynolds hit 44 home runs once, and he not-hit 200 strikeouts three times. He would probably keep doing that second thing, except he's no longer good enough to get the 250 at-bats he typically needs to do that.

The problem isn't that Mark Reynolds strikes out 200 times a year—that's a feature. The problem is that he's never really been a third baseman, and only in his one beautiful 40-homer 20-steals 200-strikeouts season did he really hit well enough to make up for it. Since then he's bounced around among teams who are entranced by the awesome tools that he uses to build replacement level, much like I am. As things stand now, he's the kind of reach you make when you've run out of things to talk about.

The Cardinals could use a right-handed infielder who can hit, and if they sign one of these marginally interesting veterans I won't really be put off by it. But they could also get a lot of mileage out of, say, Shane Robinson and/or Greg Garcia. They aren't as perfect a fit, but that isn't the problem. The problem is that the Cardinals are done—they don't leave us much else to talk about.

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