Last week, I tried to make cases for the Phillies to be both buyers and sellers. It still isn’t clear which route they will take, (although it’s hard to envision them selling at this point) but regardless of what they do, there is one move that should be made: Trade third baseman Michael Young.
I think the offseason trade for Young was a good move. Aside from some issues hitting into double plays, his bat has been better than expected, and he hasn’t been a complete disaster in the field. If the rumors are to believed, other teams have been asking about him, and I think the Phillies should certainly listen.
Normally, a team that is buying won’t trade veteran players, mostly because the trade usually creates a new void. But if the Phillies do decide to trade Young, they appear to have strong options to replace him.
For the past year, the Phillies have touted minor leaguer Cody Asche as their third baseman of the future. Most people projected him as the Opening Day third baseman in 2014, and his presence was one of the reasons the team chose a short-term option like Young in the first place.
Asche has done nothing to change the Phillies’ minds this season. He was recently named to the International League All-Star game, and at 23 years of age, he is probably close to being major league ready. While it’s always tough to replace a veteran with an unknown rookie, the hope is that Asche can at least replicate Young’s decent offensive numbers and possibly improve on Young’s sub par defense.
The team also has a safety net in the form of Kevin Frandsen. The Phillies’ utility man has been one of the best reserve players in the majors, and many people would like to see him receive even more at bats. Considering Asche bats left-handed and Frandsen bats righty, the two have the makings of a platoon that could easily compensate for Young’s loss.
I’m not advocating trading Young simply to get rid of him. His salary isn’t exorbitant (At least not the portion that the Phillies are paying) and he’s still been a positive contributor. The key is that they get something in return that can help the team this season. If a team is willing to give up a useful center fielder or relief pitcher – or perhaps trade the Phillies a prospect that makes a subsequent trade possible – then the Phillies should definitely act.
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