Can Michael Young Help Make Aging Philadelphia Phillies Contenders In NL East?

By Michael Terrill
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Philadelphia Phillies traded for Michael Young in December of last year after the third baseman waived his no-trade clause. Now that Young is almost guaranteed the starting job with the Phillies, is it possible for him to help the team contend in the National League East this season?

Young was traded from the Texas Rangers to the Phillies for reliever Josh Lindblom and a minor leaguer. It was certainly disappointing for Young to leave the only team he has ever known in his 12-year career but at the same time the 36-year-old desperately wanted to go somewhere he could help a team win on a consistent basis.

“The last couple years I was working hard but I’m getting 25 percent of my workload where I should be getting 100 percent, which is hard,” Young said. “Before I was getting 25 percent of the reps because I had to keep bouncing around making sure I keep sharp at all four spots. This year I can put everything I have into third.”

Young demanded a trade two seasons ago after the Rangers acquired Adrian Beltre to help bolster an already powerful offense. However, Beltre was signed by Texas to play third base, which means Young was the odd man out except for when he was lined up as the designated hitter or relieved someone of their infield duties. Obviously, the Rangers did not trade Young and it worked out well for both parties as the right-handed batter was named an All-Star that year.

Unfortunately, Young was going to take on an even less role in 2013 with Texas which is why the team graciously traded him. This was all about respect on their part and it was a classy move by the organization, especially after all the good Young has done for them.

Young has yet to be named the everyday starter in Philadelphia but manager Charlie Manuel has no one else in mind.

“I think he’s trying to show us how good he is at third base,” Manuel said. “He says `I can play third base. I don’t want to tell you I’ll show you.”’

With third baseman Placido Polanco leaving the team via free agency to play for the Miami Marlins, Young will most definitely be the starter on the left side of the diamond. His unbelievable offensive abilities and solid defensive skills give the Phillies another great weapon to be utilized this year. Philadelphia still has an outstanding starting rotation, quality veteran experience and plenty of offensive firepower to not only make some noise in the East but in the National League in general.

Young’s career .301 batting average and 984 RBIs in nearly 7,500 at-bats is something the Phillies will not take for granted. Not to mention, even though he had a down year in 2012 for his standards it was only two seasons ago in which he batted .338 with 106 RBIs in 631 plate appearances.

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