By Justin Adkins:
Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com is reporting that per multiple sources the Phillies recently contacted the Texas Rangers about the possibility of trading for infielder Michael Young. Young has asked the Rangers to trade him due to Young being upset that the Rangers told him they weren’t shopping him last season but they secretly were.
Crasnick classifies the discussions as “brief” and nothing more than a “tire kicking” per his sources. Still, the Phillies possible interest is intriguing.
Young is a career infielder who can play second, third, and short. A career .300 hitter on the nose, Young hit .284 with 21 homers and 91 RBIs in 157 games for the 2010 American League Champion Rangers. He also bats righty.
Adding that type of right-handed punch is exactly what the Phillies‘ lineup needs. The problem is, where would Young play?
Chase Utley is going nowhere, either via trade or in a position move.
Jimmy Rollins is set at short, but this is the last year of his deal. It’s pretty much impossible to consider the Phillies moving Rollins, but could they be thinking that Young would play the position full time come 2012, with 2011 serving as a utility-role stopgap?
Lastly, Placido Polanco would be the only other option for change, but even that’s a case that’s tough to make. Polanco is only a year older than Young, is a better defensive player who really wouldn’t make sense to move to the outfield, and who himself is a career .303 hitter. A trade of Polanco to make room for Young would make zero sense.
So really, that leaves two options — Young would have to be a super utility bench guy, which at the money he’s making and with his offensive skills is highly improbably and really a complete waste, or move to the outfield. If Ibanez is traded, can Young play left? Should Young platoon with the developing Domonic Brown in right? Would Young even be willing to make that type of move?
Young has a limited no-trade clause, which allows him to choose up to eight teams for the Rangers to trade him to. The Phillies are not one of those teams. So Young would have to actually approve a move to the Phillies before he could consider a move to the outfield.
The other, likely biggest problem is money. Young is scheduled to earn a staggering $48 million over the next three seasons. With the Phillies payroll already stretched way thin after adding the fourth Horsemen, not to mention upcoming 2012 free agency for Brad Lidge, Ryan Madson, and Raul Ibanez, the possibility seems remote that the Phillies would willingly take on that type of contract. Even if they send the Rangers Joe Blanton, who is owed $16 million over the next two seasons, Young’s contract still represents an incredible amount of money to commit to a guy who will turn 35 during the 2011 playoffs.
Even if Texas could also be duped into taking Raul Ibanez and his remaining 1 year, $11 million contract, that still won’t help to offset the future years in Young’s deal.
Oh yeah, and Cole Hamels will be eligible for arbitration in 2012, and he won’t be coming back cheap, that’s for sure.
Really, the only way a deal gets done is if the Rangers take Blanton and possibly Ibanez and also agree to eat a huge chunk of Young’s salary. That’s unlikely, which is appropriate, because that’s the same possibility of Michael Young actually getting traded to the Phillies. Unfortunately.
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