It Is Possible To Replace The Irreplaceable Michael Young


Jul 11, 2013; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Phillies third baseman Michael Young (10) drives in a run on a fielder

So apparently Michael Young is a lot hotter than any of us realized.

A new report this morning by Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal says the Phils third baseman is a highly sought after target by numerous Major League Baseball teams with playoff aspirations.

"The Boston Red Sox, had their vice president of player personnel, Allard Baird, watch the Phillies in back-to-back series before the All-Star break, sources say.Young, 36, is batting .288 with a .759 OPS after joining the Phillies in an offseason trade from his longtime team, the Texas Rangers. The Red Sox would play Young at third base. The Yankees, another interested team, could play him at third and first. Other clubs, sources say, would use Young at least part-time at second, which he last played in 2012 and last played regularly in ‘03."

Honestly, Young has been better than I thought he was going to be. Yes, he’s not a good defensive third baseman. His range is awful. But he hasn’t been the butcher at third that I thought he was going to be.

He’s also been a bit better at the plate than I think anyone could have had a right to expect. His double plays aside, Young has done a good job getting on base (.344 OB%) and has increased his extra-base hit output a bit over the last month (14 in his last 26 games,  after just 13 in the 63 games to start the season).

He also has a lot of leadershippy-things and playoff experience that baseball executives find kinda dreamy.

As for the Phils, Rosenthal strangely opined that there were no good internal options for them if they decided to trade Young away…

"The demand for Young is rising in part because of the shortage of quality right-handed hitters on the trade market. The Phillies, however, have no obvious internal replacement for Young, particularly if they plan to overtake the Braves in the National League East."

Jul 3, 2013; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Philadelphia Phillies pinch hitter Kevin Frandsen (28) hits an RBI single against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the sixth inning at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Which is kind of a crazy thing to say when you consider Kevin Frandsen has hit .324/.385/.449 with an OPS of .835, an OPS+ 126 and a WAR 2.5 over his last 329 plate appearances, dating back to last year. And keep in mind, many of those PAs came as a starter in 2012.

Not only that, the Phillies have a left-handed hitting prospect wailing at the baseball in Lehigh Valley named Cody Asche, who is hitting .288/.349/.453 for an OPS of .802 with 10 HRs and 21 doubles in 398 PAs.

The two would make a perfect platoon should the Phillies trade Young. Still, as Rosenthal noted to me on Twitter, it’s possible the Phils don’t see that as a viable option.

It would be a huge shock to just about everyone who follows this team if Phillies management didn’t think they have immediate internal replacements for Michael Young, who still has a WAR of -0.1 this year, even given his improvements. Freddy Galvis, while not so great with the bat, is a possibility for third base as well.

And that’s not even to bring up Mikael Franco, who is starting to look like the real long-term answer at third, if not in 2014, then in 2015 for sure.

Even if you’re not a big fan of Ruben Amaro, and I am not, you have to believe that he realizes Young is an expendable commodity who could bring back either the bullpen arm or outfielder he needs to make the Phillies better right  now. And if Amaro is able to trade Young for something useful, both of the big trades he made in the off-season, for Young and Ben Revere, will have been total successes.

Apparently, Michael Young is the new hotness. Time for the Phillies to sell high.