In about 30 days, the Philadelphia Phillies would have been saying goodbye to Michael Young anyway, so Phillies fans have to applaud the 11th-hour deal GM Ruben Amaro Jr. made late Saturday night.
Amaro would have walked by Young’s locker, thanked him for the season, shaken his hand and told him he was not in the team’s 2014 plans. The reality is that the Phillies have the players to replace Young under contract and need to free up his current $16 million salary to fix other issues.
What the Phils got for him, minor-league pitcher Rob Rasmussen, might not be what is considered equal value, but there is at least a future with Rasmussen that did not exist with Young. Rasmussen is a double-A pitcher now, and he was 3-4 for the Chattanooga (Tenn.) team in the Los Angeles Dodgers‘ farm system.
The losing record, like a lot of minor league losing records, is somewhat deceiving in that Rasmussen had a very respectable 2.55 ERA. By comparison, another lefty in the Phillies’ double-A system, Jesse Biddle, is widely considered the team’s top overall prospect at any position, and his current record is 5-14 with a 3.64 ERA.
Rasmussen is a pitcher good enough to be drafted in the second round of the 2010 MLB June draft by the Florida Marlins after a somewhat dominating career as a collegiate pitcher for UCLA. He was 12-10 with a 3.64 ERA for the Marlins’ Class-A team in Jupiter (Fla.) and had a rough 2012, splitting his time equally between Class-A and double-A (8-11, 4.25 ERA).
This year, he was rushed up to triple-A Albuquerque and that proved to be a disaster, where he went 0-7 with a 6.25 ERA before heading back to Chattanooga to regain some of his confidence. However, the scouting reports on Rasmussen were strong, that he has a plus-90 mph fastball and only needs to harness his control issues.
Since lefties are notoriously late bloomers, the Phillies have to hope that a good pitching coach with experience in working with left-handers will be able to bring Rasmussen along through the system. Right now, he’s just a warm body, and that’s more than the Phillies figured to get for Young 30 days from now.