Needing to address an opening at third base, the Philadelphia Phillies have acquired veteran infielder Michael Young from the Texas Rangers in exchange for a pair of right-handed pitchers, Josh Lindblom and Lisalverto Bonilla. The two teams first agreed to a deal late Thursday but were not able to finalize things until early Saturday afternoon as they waited for Young to waive his no-trade clause. Major League Baseball gave their final approval early Sunday morning.
Having resolved their need in center field earlier in the week, this deal marks the second time within a few days that the Phillies have traded a pair of pitchers to address a need.
Young brings a strong veteran presence and a ton of experience to the Phillies roster, solidifying the team’s infield as among the game’s best (Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins, and Young). Young, who just turned 36 in October, had spent his entire 13 year career with the Texas Rangers after joining the organization in a July 2000 trade with the Toronto Blue Jays. Over that span he’s become one of the greatest players to suit up for the organization, becoming the franchise leader in numerous offensive categories including games played, at bats, hits, and doubles, among others. Young has seen time across all four infield positions during his tenure in Texas, but spent most of this past season serving as the team’s designated hitter. In 651 plate appearances in 2012 he hit .277/.312/.370 with just 8 HR and 67 RBI, his lowest totals since the 2002 season.
Lindblom will offer the Rangers an intriguing option out of their bullpen. The 25 year old has thrown 100.2 innings over the past two seasons, going 4-5 with a 3.31 ERA and 1.262 WHIP. He’s intrigued some with his work in the minor leagues, though he’s long looked as though he’s better suited for a bullpen role rather than working out of the rotation. Philadelphia had acquired him just this past summer from the Los Angeles Dodgers in return for Shane Victorino, but he largely struggled over the remainder of the season. Lindblom has long had trouble keeping the ball in the park, allowing 1.2 HR/9 in his career to date, which may be a concern in Arlington.
Bonilla, 22, pitched 46.1 innings this past season, splitting time between High-A and Double-A. He’d go 3-2 with a 1.55 ERA on the year, adding 12.4 K/9. Baseball America listed him as the Phillies’ 12th best prospect heading into the 2012 season, though his future role remains uncertain. His numbers in the minor leagues suggest he’d be best suited for a role out of the bullpen.
Texas will cover approximately $10 Million of the $16 Million that Young is owed this coming season, his last before reaching free agency next winter. Young also received $1.2 Million in benefits from the Phillies as compensation for approving the deal (i.e. waiving his no-trade clause). The amount reportedly covers the difference in income tax that he’ll now be subject to.