5 Reasons the Michael Young Trade Won't Help the Phillies Win the NL East
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As young and talented as the Washington Nationals are, there's probably not a single trade the Phillies can make to give them a chance to win the NL East in 2013.
Compared to Placido Polanco, anything has to be an upgrade for the Philadelphia Phillies at third base, but we're not sure Michael Young would even rank as that.
The Phillies and Texas Rangers have agreed to a trade that will send Young to Philadelphia to be the Phillies' third baseman.
This just shows how thin teams are at third base.
The Indians and Yankees are fighting over an over-the-hill Kevin Youkilis. Scott Rolen has been in the league far too long and may finally be done. Career nomad Jeff Keppinger scored a three-year deal to play third for Tampa if (when) Evan Longoria gets hurt again.
So it may just be a sign of the times—teams can no longer rely on free agency to fill major holes in their roster. Or at least they shouldn't.
Here are five reasons why the Young trade will not put the Phillies in contention in 2013.
5. Young Was Shockingly Bad Last Year
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If not for Jeff Francoeur, Michael Young would have been the least valuable player in the American League last season.
Young earned $16 million in 2012 to cost the Rangers 2.4 wins. It's unfathomable that Young only drove in 67 run given that he was allowed to accumulate 651 plate appearances in that high-powered Rangers offense.
Texas was third in the AL with an on-base percentage of .334 while Philadelphia was right at the league average of .317.
Young is not likely to help improve that OBP much, and he's not going to have many RBIs batting in the middle of the lineup.
Perhaps the Phillies are hoping for a season like Young had in 2011 at age 34 (.338/.380/.474/.854). But in this era, every year a player performs past the age of 32 seems to bring a precipitous decline.
At age 36, Young may be on the verge of a free-fall.
4. Phillies Need to Get Younger, Not Older
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The Philles were smart picking up 24-year old Ben Revere from the Twins to replace Shane Victorino. But bringing in Young to play third just further exposes a staggeringly old infield.
Chase Utley and Ryan Howard are in no way a given to remain healthy, and Jimmy Rollins is aging quickly himself.
Adding Young to this crew doesn't make much sense unless the Phillies are doing a cross-promotion of a film about a group of buddies who play infield together and decide to ride motorcycles across the country as a last hurrah.
3. Phillies Needed a Bigger Right-Handed Bat
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The right-handed hitter the Phillies needed was Ryan Ludwick, who just signed a reasonable two-year deal with his current team, the Reds.
The Phils are simply too easily neutralized by left-handed pitching and were ranked 26th in baseball last season with a .235 average against southpaws.
The Phillies could have dropped Ludwick (and his .937 OPS versus lefties) right into the clean-up spot to give some separation between Utley and Howard, making their offense far more balanced.
Instead, they will bat Young fifth or sixth and still struggle against lefties.
2. Phillies' Pitching Depth Still Trails Nationals
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Some pundits are wondering if Dan Haren is an upgrade over the younger, stronger Edwin Jackson, whom the Nationals allowed to walk this offseason.
To that, I can only say, "Are you kidding me?"
Back in the National League, the gutty Haren could well contend for an ERA title as the Nationals' fifth starter. Talk about an embarrassment of riches.
Meanwhile, the Phillies will send two-fifths of a starting rotation to the mound on a regular basis that wouldn't even crack the Nationals' rotation.
One can argue Philadelphia still has the best top three, but the deepest teams tend to survive the regular-season grind the best.
1. Phillies and Nationals Are Still Swinging in Opposite Directions
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The hard truth for Phillies fans is their team has aged poorly since their last World Series appearance three years ago.
Baseball has clearly become a young man's game, and the Phillies have a precious few such players.
They still have some All-Star quality players in Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins and Carlos Ruiz. But players on the wrong side of 30 remain a long shot to repeat past performance.
Fans in Philadelphia are hoping several of the Phillies do not break down this coming year.
Fans in the D.C. area are hoping for a few of their players to break out this coming year.
That's a world of difference.