3B, SS, 2B, OF Young Can Fill A Lot Of Holes On Any Given Day

Michael Brian Young is a Major League Baseball infielder for the Philadelphia Phillies. He has been named to Major League Baseball All-Star Game seven times. In 2005, he was the American League batting champion.

Born: October 19, 1976 (age 36), Covina
Nationality: American
Salary: 16 million USD (2012)
TeamTexas Rangers (#10 / First baseman)

Phillies’ deal for Young finally official

Veteran infielder ticketed to fill ballclub’s hole at third base

By Paul Hagen / MLB.com

PHILADELPHIA — It wasn’t easy, and it certainly wasn’t quick, but the long-simmering deal that made Rangers icon Michael Young the Phillies’ new third baseman finally became official on Sunday.

With that, after a cautious start to the offseason, the Phils addressed their two most pressing offseason needs within a matter of days. They had also been seeking a center fielder, and checked that off the list as the Winter Meetings in Nashville, Tenn., were wrapping up on Thursday, with the deal that brought Ben Revere from the Twins for right-handers Vance Worley and Trevor May.

Young, 36, the Rangers’ all-time leader in games, at-bats, runs, hits, doubles and triples, had the right to veto any trade. However, staying in Texas would likely have meant a utility role and less playing time. With the Phillies, he’ll be penciled in as the everyday third baseman. Injuries to Placido Polanco meant the team had seven different players start at least one game at the hot corner in 2012: Polanco, Kevin Frandsen, Mike Fontenot, Ty Wigginton, Pete Orr, Michael Martinez and Hector Luna.

He’s a seven-time All-Star, who didn’t have his best offensive season in 2012. Young played in 156 games for the Rangers last season, batting .277 with eight homers, 67 RBIs and a .682 OPS.

“Clearly, this brings a wonderful package to what we’re trying to do here in Philadelphia,” said Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. “One, he’s a very, very good ballplayer. He has a tremendous track record. He has all the elements we’re looking for.

“First of all, the make-up is extraordinary. He’s the ultimate team player. He knows how to play baseball. He’s a winning baseball player. He’s had the opportunity to be in big games in the playoffs, and he just fits real well. The fact that he hits right-handed helps balance our lineup out a little bit, as well. I just think all the elements he brings to the table for us are very, very positive.

“I think [having a down year is] just part of the process of being a Major League player. You don’t have a great year every year. But at the same time, even when his numbers aren’t extraordinary — and they were still pretty darn good last year, maybe better than anybody we had on our club — the fact of the matter is, he’s a professional hitter. Even when he’s not having productive hits, I know he’s the kind of guy who makes productive outs. So there’s a lot of pluses to this guy.”

“He made an adjustment in September and bounced back some [with a .361 batting average and .897 OPS in his last 20 games],” said Rangers general manager Jon Daniels. “We fully expect him to have a better offensive year than he did last year. He’ll be better in Philadelphia than he was last season. The opportunity for him to play third base in Philadelphia was more than we could promise here. As the Phillies pushed for Michael and we got comfortable with the return, we presented the option to Michael and his family for them to make the decision.”

The Phillies hope he can rebound, but are also trying to stabilize the third base — while giving Cody Asche, who played last season at Double-A Reading, more time to develop.

“This is a very tough situation,” Rangers manager Ron Washington said. “He has always been my go-to guy in my six years here. He has always done a lot for me. He has been a leader for the organization on the field, in the clubhouse and in the community. He certainly will be missed.”

The Rangers received right-handed reliever Josh Lindblom and a Minor League pitcher, Lisalverto Bonilla in return. The guidelines of the trade were agreed to in Nashville, but it took days for Young to agree to waive his no-trade clause and for the Commissioner’s office to approve the money involved.

The Phillies will pay $5.5 million of the $16 million Young will make in the final year of his contract next season. In addition, the teams will split the additional $1.2 million that Young negotiated to accept the trade, in part to cover the difference in state income tax between Texas and Pennsylvania.

Lindblom 25, was acquired from the Dodgers along with Ethan Martin and a player to be named, which turned out to be Stefan Jarrin, for Shane Victorino at the Trade Deadline. He spent the remainder of the season with the Phillies, going 1-3 with a 4.63 ERA in 26 appearances.

Bonilla, 22, is an intriguing player. After being converted from starter to reliever, he pitched himself onto the Phillies’ radar this season. After starting the season at Class A Clearwater, he was promoted to Reading and was named to the Eastern League Mid-Season All-Star team. He was a combined 3-2 with a 1.55 ERA when he was picked for the Futures All-Star Game in Kansas City, and was ranked as the team’s No. 15 prospect by MLB.com.

However, he injured his right thumb while involved in what was reported as “horseplay” the night before that game and didn’t pitch again in ’12. He’s currently 1-4 with a 6.92 ERA in 15 games for the Leones del Escogido in the Dominican Winter League.

“Lindblom was one of the guys who was very important for us when we traded Shane Victorino,” Amaro said. “I think, just by virtue of the fact that we didn’t have an eighth-inning guy, we put him in a position to pitch in the eighth. He may very well do that very proficiently at some point, but he’s probably not ready to do that quite yet. He’s probably more comfortable in the sixth and seventh [innings]. That may be his bailiwick. That may change moving forward. But we had to put him in a position he probably, frankly, wasn’t ready for. He had a tough time of it at times. But he’s a very good pitcher.

Michael Young Michael Young #10 of the Texas Rangers at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on August 27, 2012 in Arlington, Texas.

“As far as Bonilla goes, he has a tremendous arm. He’s still a little raw. Great [fastball-changeup] combination. He’s going to be a big league pitcher, and an effective one. There’s no question he’s going to be an effective big league pitcher. No question. Again, we feel like that’s one of the areas we’re dealing from a position of strength … so we felt like we were comfortable enough that to get this type of everyday player, this was the right thing for us.”

Now, Amaro will turn his attention to addressing other needs.

“Obviously, with the hole that was created by the move with Vance Worley to get Ben, we’re looking at the possibility of getting a little bit of depth there. [Tyler] Cloyd and [Jonathan] Pettibone will fight it out. Maybe Martin or somebody else will step up at some point. Or maybe even [Adam] Morgan.

“But we’ll probably look to add a low-risk, high-reward type of guy or somebody who’s come back from an injury or someone like that who can battle for that fifth spot. A lot of teams have had some success looking for that guy late in the season and finding that productive guy. So that’s one possibility. We’re still looking into the bullpen and trying add a veteran presence there, as well. And if we can do a little bit more for our outfield, we’ll consider that, as well.

“We’d love to add more home runs. But for me, again, it’s about production. If we can produce runs — and I know that Ben can and I know that Michael can — and we have to get production out of the middle of our lineup, the guys we’ve paid to produce those runs. If we can get complementary [contributions] from Ben and Michael and get the kind of production we expect out of Ryan [Howard] and Chase [Utley], I think we’re going to be fine.”

Paul Hagen is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Young will feel at home with Phillies

Veteran is joining a team filled with players who are all about winning

Richard JusticeBy Richard Justice

Phillies manager Charlie Manuel is going to love Michael Young — and so will Jimmy Rollins, Ryan Howard, etc. Young will fit nicely on a team that prides itself on playing the game right, on playing hard and on competing like crazy.

If that sounds like basic stuff, it is. At least it is for the good teams. And some teams do it better than others. When the Phillies were winning five straight National League East division championships between 2007 and 2011, they played with toughness and an edge.

Young plays that way, too. There are legitimate questions about how good he still is, about his power and defense and all the rest. But he did hit .277 and have 27 doubles in 2012 in his worst season in a decade. In terms of presence and being a good teammate, the Phillies simply couldn’t have found anyone better.

Young’s legacy with the Rangers should not be underestimated. First, he’s one of the most decent people you’ll never meet. It’s almost impossible to imagine anyone disliking Young.

He led the Rangers out of the Alex Rodriguez years — back to a clubhouse environment that was about 25 guys instead of one. He helped lead them back to winning, too, as Rangers general manager Jon Daniels began accumulating talent and doing his job better than almost anyone.

Along the way, Young became the face of the franchise and its most popular player. He was one of baseball’s best players for about seven years. Between 2004 and 2010, he averaged 18 home runs and 50 walks a season, while compiling an .819 OPS. He leaves the Rangers as a seven-time All-Star who twice finished in the Top 10 of American League Most Valuable Player balloting.

His numbers can’t be measured just in his play on the field. He was the leader of the Rangers, their spokesman and the guy who set a tone. When Yu Darvish joined the Rangers last offseason, some of us wondered how comfortable he’d be, given the cultural leap from Japan to Texas.

“He’ll be fine,” Young said. “Believe me, if you can’t get along with the guys in here, you’re the one with the problem.”

Young was a large reason for that environment. Third baseman Adrian Beltre probably took on more of a leadership mantle last season as Young’s play declined. But the Rangers probably don’t win back-to-back AL championships in 2010 and ’11 without Young’s contributions, both measured and otherwise.

Daniels had toyed with trading him twice before. Young had a tough time swallowing those discussions, and also the moves from second base to third to first. He always did what the Rangers believed was best for the team, but he didn’t always agree. He twice asked to be traded, but rescinded both demands and apologized to teammates for being a distraction.

When fans would criticize his defense, Young would say, “Well, I would have liked to have spent my entire career at one position, but those aren’t my decisions.”

Because Young was the face of the franchise, because his power declined dramatically the last two seasons — from 21 home runs in 2010 to 11 and eight the last two years — Young became the No. 1 target of criticism from fans on talk radio and blogs in Dallas-Fort Worth.

It’s always odd to see fans turn on some of the guys who’ve performed the best and attempted to do everything correctly. But Young never lashed out. If he was angry — and he surely was — he never showed it.

He has agreed to be traded to the Phillies, as Daniels is attempting a dramatic reshaping of the Rangers. Part of that reshaping is moving second baseman Ian Kinsler to first and inserting highly-regarded rookie Jurickson Profar at second.

Meanwhile, the Phillies have an opening at third base. It’s a no-risk move, since the Rangers are paying most of Young’s salary. Knowing how prideful Young is, there won’t be many more motivated players next season.

He’ll love Philadelphia because the ballpark will be filled and the clubhouse has a bunch of guys — Howard, Rollins, Cole Hamels, Chase Utley — who are accustomed to winning and know how to win.

That’s what Young has always been about, too. He had a terrific 13-year run with the Rangers. Regardless of what he does in this next chapter of his career, he’ll always be a Texas Ranger, one of its most popular and productive players ever. Here’s to another great season or two or three from one of the really good guys.

Richard Justice is a columnist for MLB.com. Read his blog, Justice4U. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MICHAEL YOUNG STATS SUMMARY

G AB R H TB 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG  
SEASON 156 611 79 169 226 27 3 8 67 33 70 2 2 .277 .312 .370
MLB Totals 1823 7399 1085 2230 3286 415 55 177 984 532 1152 89 30 .301 .347 .444
Minors Totals 524 2015 330 597 906 132 21 45 325 222 367 83 30 .296 .367 .450

Awards and Honors

MLB PLAYERS CHOICE MAN OF THE YEAR
2008: Texas (AL)
2011: Texas (AL)
ALL-STAR
2004: Texas (AL)
2005: Texas (AL)
2006: Texas (AL)
2007: Texas (AL)
2008: Texas (AL)
2009: Texas (AL)
2011: Texas (AL)
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
6/16/2002: Texas (AL)
8/24/2009: Texas (AL)
6/27/2011: Texas (AL)
RANGERS HEART AND HUSTLE AWARD
2006: Texas (AL)
2007: Texas (AL)
2009: Texas (AL)
2010: Texas (AL)
RANGERS MVP
2004: Texas (AL)
2005: Texas (AL)
2007: Texas (AL)
2009: Texas (AL)
RAWLINGS GOLD GLOVE
2008: Texas (AL)
RANGERS HAROLD MCKINNEY GOOD GUY AWARD
2003: Texas (AL)
RANGERS ROOKIE OF THE YEAR
2001: Texas (AL)

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