Michael Young’s name has been popping up in trade rumors for much of the month, particularly given the apparent need across multiple playoff contenders for help at the corner infield spots. Philadelphia has shown a willingness to move him in the right deal, as well. A trade appears like a near certainty, but one of the most talked about possible destinations – the Boston Red Sox – appears to be out of the mix as Gordon Edes of ESPNBoston.com is reporting that the team won’t be pursuing a trade for Young.
Philadelphia’s willingness to move Young has been apparent for a few weeks, but the infielder reportedly was only willing to waive his no trade clause to facilitate a return to the Texas Rangers. Once a deal never materialized on that front, it became unclear what the Phillies might do. Boston appeared as a logical fit, given the team’s perceived need at third base, but it was uncertain if Young would be willing to approve a deal there.
Will Middlebrooks, Jose Iglesias, Brandon Snyder, Brock Holt, Pedro Ciriaco, and Jonathan Diaz have all seen time at third base for the Red Sox this season with varying degrees of success. Middlebrooks and Iglesias have seen the bulk of that time, but the former is struggling to adjust his swing back at Triple-A and the latter was traded last night to Detroit, prompting a renewal in the speculation that Young could be next name penciled into the lineup. From what Edes is hearing, however, such a move is doubtful.
On offensive potential alone, Young would be an upgrade over any of the options that Boston has trot out to the position this season. He’s hit .279/.345/.411 in 403 PA on the year, with 8 HR and 18 2B. It’s a step back from his career numbers, but still respectable production. His value defensively, however, has somewhat diminished. Young’s seen ample time at second, third, and shortstop in his career but isn’t nearly as versatile as he once was.
It was never clear what the Phillies might be looking to obtain in return for Young but presumably the price tag wouldn’t be high.
Perhaps more importantly, however, the Red Sox don’t need Young to fill in at third for the rest of the season. They still have options. Holt was the first recalled to take Iglesias’ place on the roster, though he might be a stopgap solution at best. Snyder will also likely continue to see some time at the position. The combination will ideally hold the spot down until Middlebrooks is ready to return or until the team is comfortable promoting top prospect Xander Bogaerts. Bogaerts is a natural shortstop, who’s future with the organization might have just become clearer with Iglesias being moved, but he could help fill in at third for the season’s final two months if need be – similar to what the Orioles did a year ago with Manny Machado. He’ll likely be the team’s shortstop a year from now, but they’d already been teaching him to play third as well in an effort to get him into the lineup as soon as he’s deemed MLB-ready.