Michael Young could soon be a Philadelphia Phillie. After days of speculation, Evan Grant confirmed this morning that Michael Young has agreed to waive his no-trade clause. He will be traded to Philadelphia for reliever Josh Lindblom and pitching prospect Lisalverto Bonilla.
Bob Nightengale verified the report and also said the Rangers were giving Young an additional $1.2 Million in benefits. He also said the Rangers will pay around $10M of YOung's $16M 2013 salary.
Always a fan favorite, Michael Young is coming off of his worst season since his first full year in the majors in 2002. While many defenders of Young point to his .277 average as only being barely sub-par, they fail to focus on the makeup of those hits, which are almost exclusively singles. Michael struggled with his bat speed in 2012, which led to his normal opposite-field line drive power dwindling.
Combine very little power with his typically low walk rate, and Young had his worst on-base percentage in 10 years last season. Given his lack of range in the field, and his inability to produce at the plate in the designated hitter role led to Young being marked as the worst player and second worst player in the bigs last season according to FanGraphs and Baseball-Reference per their respective Wins Above Replacement stat, commonly referenced in MLB front offices as a fair barometer of performance.
Angry fans of the Young move could conceivably pin their angst on manager Ron Washington, who refused to reduce Young’s plate appearances last year. Even while in the middle of his worst season in a decade, Young still had the fourth most plate appearances on the Rangers, leading to a vacuum of production from a position that is traditionally focused solely on providing offensive production.
Just two days ago, Washington still refused to acknowledge the problem, excusing Young’s performance as “you take his standard of what he put together last year and put (it) on a player where the expectations aren't so high, it's not a bad year.”
GM Jon Daniels has been public about wanting to get younger. But Washington's stance when asked last year if he would create more playing time for top prospects Jurickson Profar and Mike Olt at Young's expense: "If by chance the Michael Young ship is going down, then Ron Washington is going down with it." With the Rangers not wanting to create a situation where management has to force its manager not to run a player out to the plate almost every day when better bench options exist, Texas has been forced to take one of Washington’s toys away, at an expensive cost to the team.
Young could have had value on the Rangers in 2013 as a bench bat and utility infielder, but not in the role Washington would have obviously continued to use him. Now, the Rangers are potentially trading away Young for a few Philadelphia assets and about $4M in contract savings simply so they can avoid another year of way-too-many plate appearances for the aging veteran.