According to three major league sources, the Rangers were in advanced talks with Philadelphia about a deal for the 36-year-old Young that would include the Rangers eating more than half of his remaining $16 million in salary. The Rangers would likely receive a young major league reliever along with a lower-level prospect.
Young is a seven-time all-star and has experience playing all over the infield, but the Phillies would plan to install him as their everyday third baseman. Though he has spent the past two years as a utility infielder and DH, Young was a primary third baseman in 2009 and 2010. He is signed through 2013 and the Rangers, it seems, have been in discussions about trading him every off-season for the past several years.
He’s been one of the more consistent hitters in baseball throughout his 13 year career, at one point putting together five consecutive seasons of at least 200 hits, but his 2012 campaign was well below average at the plate. Young posted his worst slash line in a decade at .277/.312/.370.
There certainly is the very real possibility that age is simply catching up to his, but Young is also just one year removed from an eighth-place finish in the MVP vote stemming from a league-best 213 hits and .854 OPS in 2011. Though his home run power has rapidly vanished, Young did collect 58 extra-base hits in 2011. That number fell all the way to 38 last season and his slugging percentage dropped more than 100 points as well.
The Phillies have employed Placido Polanco as their third baseman for the past three seasons, so they’re no strangers to having a someone who lacks the power that position is traditionally known for. Young has full no-trade rights as a 10-and-5 player, but indications are that he would approve a trade to Philly, notes Jim Salisbury.
If they can get the Rangers to eat as much of Young’s salary as Grant indicates, this might not be a bad deal for the Phillies. He’s not an elite third baseman, but the rest f the market is very thin and they’d likely have to commit more dollars and more years to someone like Kevin Youkilis and probably get similar production.