It was made official Sunday morning that the Phillies acquired 3B Michael Young and cash from the Texas Rangers for reliever Josh Lindblom and prospect Lisalverto Bonilla.
It was a good fit for both teams, with the Phillies needing a third baseman and Young wanting to continue to compete as he waived his no trade clause to Philadelphia.
“The baseball part was easy,” Young told reporters on Monday in Texas. “I have a great opportunity in Philadelphia, having the opportunity to go from one great team to another. They have a position for me; I was ready for a new challenge. I like a new challenge. As a competitor, I want to see what it’s like. The hard part was my family and what it would be like for them, being away for a summer. But once we embraced that, the baseball part was easy.”
The Phillies filled a huge hole at third for one season, prolonging their search for a more permanent solution at the hot corner. They did so without giving up too much, especially while boasting a deep and rich farm system of pitchers.
Lindblom was acquired in the Shane Victorino trade to the Dodgers before the deadline last season. He didn’t really wow the Phillies coaches, especially in late-game situations where they wanted him to pitch. Lindblom posted a 4.19 ERA in 38 2/3 innings of work in the 8th inning or later during the entire season.
With the Phillies, Lindblom was an unimpressive 1-3 with 4.63 ERA in 23 1/3 innings of work after the acquisition.
Lindblom is still only 25, and is a very green player with Major League experience. Lindblom could either turn into a great relief pitcher for the Rangers, who already have a good closer, or he could turn into a middle-relief guy with untapped potential.
As for Bonilla, he’s still just a prospect despite posting one of the best pitching performances in the Phillies farm system this year.
Bonilla, 22, was named a Double-A All-Star despite not playing in the game due to an injury. He earned those honors by pitching an impressive 1.55 ERA in 46 1/3 innings spanning 31 appearances.
That is what the Phillies gave up for Young, a very good player, even at his rip old age of 36.
Last season, Young partook in a down year for the perennial .300 hitter, hitting only .277 with eight home runs and 67 RBIs. These numbers are a year removed from his American League-leading .338 average along with 11 homers and 116 RBIs.
His 67 RBIs, .277 average and .682 OPS were his lowest totals since 2002, while his eight homers were a career low.
Manuel loves the acquisition. Probably his favorite thing about Young is the fact he can place him anywhere in the lineup and he’ll produce.
“I could hit Michael Young in quite a few places,” Manuel said.
The Phillies are hopeful for a rebound season for Young, who enters the last year of his current contract.
“He definitely has a chance to hit .300 for us,” manager Charlie Manuel said. “I look for him to have a big season. He’s excited about coming. He’s a good player.”
Wherever Young hits in the lineup, Manuel hopes he can play a big role in the Phillies climb back to relevance. After an 81-81 season that saw them miss the playoffs for the first time in five years, a repeat would be a huge disappointment.
With Ruben Amaro still looking to improve, a disappointment is the biggest thing Amaro wants to avoid.