Adding veteran infielder Michael Young to the Phillies roster does not actually make the team younger, but it does fill the hole at third base. Young is owed $16 million in 2013 and the Rangers are reportedly picking up at least $10 million of that. The Phillies sent right-handed reliever Josh Lindblom and minor league pitcher, Lisalverto Bonilla to the Rangers.
Lindblom had little to no impact when he came to the Phillies in July of last season in the Shane Victorino trade. He had a 4.63 ERA in 26 games with the Phillies, so this seems to be a good move. And Bonilla is a prospect who probably has a future as a middle reliever. This was also not a bad price to pay for the return.
As for Young, he is no so young (36), but may still have some ammunition left. A 7-time All-Star, Young is the Rangers’ all-time leader in games, at-bats, runs, hits, doubles and triples. He has hit over .300 7 times in his career, with the latest being in 2011.
2012 was not a great year for Young as the Rangers severely reduced his playing time. Young had graciously moved all over the infield in prior years, playing 2nd, short and 3rd, to accommodate his team. But he felt slighted when he was bumped down to basically a DH and utility role, despite hitting .338 in 2011. As a result, the relationship with Young and the Rangers was strained and he wanted out.
Young’s performance suffered as a result; he hit only .277 with 67 RBI in 2012 which is a steep drop-off from his usual numbers. The Phillies are banking on this change in scenery to have a positive impact on Young.
The likelihood of Young bouncing back to 2011 form is high. He is a starter once again, which should make him happy. This is also a contract year for him and his final chance to show he can still be an impact player. Young will be 37 in 2014; getting a descent contract at that age is not easy. He will need to impress in 2013 in order to make that happen.
So Young will fill the void at 3rd, with Kevin Frandsen filling in as needed, which should be a good thing for the Phillies. Young is also touted as a great clubhouse guy, which is also a perk. He joins another new edition, Ben Revere, who will take over in center. And I have it on good authority that Revere will be loved in Philly. Take it from the Mayor of Minneapolis, Minnesota, R.T. Rybak, who told me, “You’ll love him.”
Welcome, Revere and Young!
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Young photo by Keith Allison