Ruben Amaro may be employing his Hey, I Know That Guy strategy again. According to a report in the New York Daily News, the (once-)Big Poker has talked with the Yankees about trading Michael Young for Joba Chamberlain. Why, in the world, the Phillies would dump an expiring contract for a reliever with an expiring contract and 5.75 ERA – and not, you know, prospects – is unknown to me.
Mark Feinsand of the NY Daily News tries to explain:
National League sources say the Phillies are amenable to dealing Michael Young and have expressed interest in Joba Chamberlain, a salary-dump swap that would save Philadelphia roughly $7 million. The sources also say Carlos Ruiz can be had before the deadline, too.
That’s inaccurate. $10 million of Young’s $16 million salary this year is being paid by the Rangers [see update]. The Phillies are only on the hook for $6 million, and now that the season is half over, that number is down to around $3 million (and I’m not even good at math!). Chamberlain, who is fat, and who makes $1.88 million, is in the last year of his contract and would be owed just under $1 million. So, swapping Young for Chamberlain is hardly a salary-dump– it would save the Phillies about $2 million, not $7 million.
The report is as dumb as the trade would be. And that brings us to: WHY THE HELL WOULD YOU WANT JOBA CHAMBERLAIN? Corey Seidman of Beerleaguer:
The Phils should instead be looking for prospects in return for Young or Ruiz. Not that they’d get a ton — Yankees GM Brian Cashman’s interest in Young and Ruiz is “lukewarm at best,” according to Feinsand — but a rental reliever serves no purpose. Not unless Ruben Amaro Jr. A) Works out some kind of cheap extension with Chamberlain as a deal is being reached, or B) Thinks subtracting Young and/or Ruiz but adding Chamberlain is a net positive that would help the Phillies make a second-half push.
Exactly. Dumb, all-around.
UPDATE: It’s actually unclear if the Rangers are paying $10 million of Young’s contract, or if they simply sent the Phillies $10 million to do with what they will. Young is still listed on the Rangers’ payroll. If the Rangers simply gave the Phillies money, though, then Feinsand’s salary dump aspect would, in fact, be accurate. But trading Young for a fat reliever would still make little baseball sense.