Wednesday, February 9, 2011
Sources: Phillies talked Michael Young
By Jerry Crasnick
The Philadelphia Phillies recently contacted the Texas Rangers to express an interest in infielder Michael Young, three Major League Baseball sources confirmed to ESPN.com. But the trade talks failed to yield much common ground, and discussions between the clubs are no longer active.
One source said the discussions were "brief'' and amounted essentially to "tire kicking'' on the part of the Phillies.
The Rangers are currently fielding offers for Young, who has asked to be traded in the midst of a rift with the team's front office. Young told reporters Monday night that he felt "manipulated and misled'' in his dealings with the club, and general manager Jon Daniels and president Nolan Ryan have publicly said they will try to accommodate his request to be dealt.
Young, who will make $48 million over the next three years, has a limited no-trade clause that allows the Rangers to deal him to only eight designated clubs. The list includes the Colorado Rockies, Los Angeles Dodgers and Angels, San Diego Padres, New York Yankees, Minnesota Twins, Houston Astros and St. Louis Cardinals. Since the Phillies aren't on that list, Young would have to expressly sign off on any deal to Philadelphia.
But Young told ESPN.com's Jayson Stark on Monday that he might be willing to consider teams that aren't on his list.
"As of right now, no. But I think those things are handled on a case-by-case basis," Young said. "Those are things my family and I would talk about and see what's ultimately the best fit for us."
The Rangers' efforts to move Young are complicated by the size of his contract and the team's desire to get a decent haul of talent in return. The challenge is compounded by the fact that spring training begins in less than a week, and the team would probably want a veteran hitter to replace Young. Jim Thome and Vladimir Guerrero -- two free-agent designated hitters who were possibilities in Arlington -- have already signed with other clubs.
Two baseball sources told ESPN.com that it's entirely possible the Rangers will keep Young and try to smooth over any hurt feelings once spring training gets under way in Arizona. On Tuesday, Rangers manager Ron Washington expressed disappointment over Young's situation and expressed hope that Young will be back with the team in 2011.
"Michael Young is Michael Young," Washington told ESPNDallas.com. "He has a reputation and I respect that reputation. I know exactly what Michael Young brings. He can bring a lot to us in defending our American League championship. I certainly want him around here.''
Young hit .284 with 21 homers and 91 RBIs in 157 games for a Texas club that won the American League pennant last season, but he lost his starting third-base job when the Rangers signed free agent Adrian Beltre. The Rangers have been planning for Young to spend some time at DH and assume a "super utility'' role in the field, but the recent acquisition of Mike Napoli in a trade with Toronto could cut into Young's at-bats at DH.
Sources wouldn't reveal which names were discussed in talks between the Phillies and Rangers, but one likely candidate is pitcher Joe Blanton, who will make $17 million over the next two seasons and has been relegated to the fifth starter's spot behind Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Roy Oswalt and Cole Hamels in Philadelphia. It's also uncertain what the acquisition of Young would mean to incumbent Phillies third baseman Placido Polanco. Unless talks between the clubs are revived soon, that point is probably moot.
Jerry Crasnick is a senior baseball writer for ESPN.com.