Amaro: Young knows what it takes to win

FILE - In this Oct. 5, 2012, file photo, Texas Rangers' Michael Young watches from the dugout during an American League wild-card playoff baseball game against the Baltimore Orioles in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez, File)
December 9, 2012 8:47:11 PM PST
Michael Young's leadership skills were as attractive to the Philadelphia Phillies as his hitting ability.

The Phillies acquired Young from the Texas Rangers for two relief pitchers, filling a void at third base.

The team announcement came a day after Young's agent confirmed the deal to Action News' Jeff Skversky, after the seven-time All-Star infielder agreed to waive his no-trade clause.

"He's a very good player, he's been a very good player for a long time, a very highly respected player. Anytime you can get a guy this caliber person and player that bodes well, especially for teams who are trying to be contenders," Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. told Action News Sunday night.

Young is known for being an unselfish player, a true professional, and a leader - qualities Philadelphia's front office values in a player.

"There's no question about it. We have our fair share of leaders in our clubhouse, but anytime you can get a guy of this make up, it's going to be a plus, especially when you're trying to win," Amaro said.

Young batted .277 with eight homers and 67 RBIs in 2012, a down year for him. He hit .288 with runners in scoring position and .333 against left-handed pitchers. He made 40 starts at first base, 25 at third base, 14 at second base and four at shortstop.

"As long as he produces the same way, that would be a plus. Much of the production he put on the field is better than any production we had, quite frankly. When we talked to him, I don't want Michael to think he has to do anything special, just be himself and he'll be fine. I believe the numbers will all even out," Amaro said.

The Rangers get right-hander Josh Lindblom and minor league righty Lisalverto Bonilla. The Rangers also will pay a significant portion of Young's salary for 2013. Young is due to earn $16 million. Reports said the Phillies will pay him about $6 million.

"If there was crying in baseball, I guess I would cry," Rangers manager Ron Washington said of losing Young. "This is a very, very tough situation. He's always been my go-to guy in the six years I've been here, and he's not only done a lot in that respect for me, but leadership that he brought to the clubhouse and the leadership that he brought on the field, and the leadership that he had in the community is something that we sorely will miss."

From 2003-11, Young hit at least .300 seven times and averaged 17 homers and 90 RBIs. A former AL Gold Glove winner at shortstop, Young hasn't played third base regularly since 2010. Seven Phillies started at third base last year, including often-injured former All-Star Placido Polanco.

Young was originally selected by the Toronto Blue Jays in the fifth round of the 1997 amateur draft. He was traded to the Rangers on July 19, 2000 for pitcher Esteban Loaiza. Young has a .301 average with 177 home runs and 984 RBIs in 1,823 major league games - all with Texas. He is the club leader in games, at-bats (7,399), runs (1,085), hits (2,230), doubles (415), triples (55) and total bases (3,286). Young has a .248 average with 3, homers, 10 doubles and 19 RBIs in 34 postseason games. "He knows what it takes to win. He's been on winning teams. He's had a lot of success in the leadership role and it's great to bring a guy like this on board," Amaro said.

Young began his career at second base with the Rangers. He moved to shortstop to accommodate Alfonso Soriano, who was acquired in the trade that sent Alex Rodriguez to the New York Yankees. Young won his only Gold Glove at shortstop in 2008 and then moved to third base to make room for Elvis Andrus in 2009. He played two seasons at third before moving to designated hitter and a utility role after Adrian Beltre arrived in Texas.

With the Phillies filling the holes in centerfield and third base, Amaro says there a few more gaps to examine.

"We'll look at our pitching. We may look at some more outfield help, perhaps. But probably pitching intensive, right now, either somebody to fill a gap that was left with Vance Worley or add to our bullpen if we can," Amaro said.

"I like where we are right now as we sit. I like where we are right now compared to where we started this offseason and hopefully, we can add a little bit more to the puzzle, but I'm pretty pleased with how we've gone so far."

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AP Sports Writers Rob Maadi in Philadelphia and Stephen Hawkins in Arlington, Texas, contributed to this report.

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