Michael Young's acquisition by the Philadelphia Phillies wasn't overly hyped this offseason. Many mid-30s baseball players, who appear to be on the downside of their careers, also suffer similar public treatment.
This gritty guy will bring more than just his bat and glove to the Philadelphia Phillies' clubhouse this season. Long known as a leader, Young's continued passion for the game (and two years of World Series' experience) is sure to be a positive addition to a locker room that grew a bit stagnant during recent seasons.
In an attempt to reverse a downward trend, general manager Ruben Amaro, Jr. has employed a cost-conscious approach to all of his offseason moves. Obtaining Young from the Texas Rangers, while having them assume $10 of his contract, was a smart decision for on and off the field reasons. The remaining payroll flexibility that Amaro retained should allow him to meet any challenges that present themselves as the 2013 schedule plays out.
Some have questioned Young's ability to play third base on a regular basis this season. His defensive experience at shortstop, second base, the “hot corner” (and a modest amount at first base) should prove to be valuable. It wouldn't be surprising to see him play 30 to 40 games at positions other than Placido Polanco's old corner spot this season.
While Young's body does have 13 major league years and 1,823 games in it, he has retained a youthful desire to win. So, it's not that he needs to find the fountain of youth somewhere in south Philadelphia this season. Instead, the career American Leaguer will likely show a number of aging teammates how they can feel young again this spring and summer. With that, fall ball may lie straight ahead.