The Philadelphia Phillies are still in striking distance in the National League East only 6.5 games out of first place and closed out the first half of the 2013 season on a bit of a roll. Why trade Michael Young? Why not keep the veteran for the stretch run? For one, Young is drawing a lot of interest and sometimes that is just too hard to pass up. Secondly, Young is 36 years old in the last year of his contract.
The Phillies could play Kevin Frandsen at third base and really not drop off in a dramatic fashion. Frandsen is hitting .297 with three home runs and 16 RBI in 101 at bats. Young is hitting .288 with six home runs and 28 RBI in 333 at bats. Although in a smaller sample, Frandsen has a higher slugging and on base percentage than Young. Either player is merely holding serve until Maikel Franco is ready to take his rightful spot at the hot corner in Philadelphia after some more seasoning.
But who would they consider trading Michael Young for? To me the answer lies in the American League and his name is Job Chamberlain. Confused? You shouldn’t be it makes sense. The Phillies are 28th in Major League baseball in bullpen ERA at 4.39, 29th in bullpen strikeouts, and allowed the ninth highest amount of walks this season. Chamberlain has not developed into the stud the Yankees thought he would be but he is more than serviceable to the Phillies.
Chamberlain has a 2:1 strikeout to walk ratio in 2013 and is striking out hitters at a 9.6 SO/9 inning rate. Both stats are an upgrade in Philadelphia. Another bonus to Chamberlain is that he is a rental who can become a free agent next season. For the Phillies that makes it a win/win proposition. If they feel they are contenders with a chance then they have increased their bullpen effectiveness while not destroying their chances at third base. If it turns out they are not then they can either give up Chamberlain or probably sign him at a reasonable price. No harm and no foul for a team that would not resign Michael Young after the season anyway.
The Yankees might even be willing to throw in Phil Hughes, who is free agency eligible at the end of this season, to sweeten the pot. Sure the Phillies would probably not put him in the rotation but Hughes has shown he can pitch out of the bullpen in the past. In that scenario the Phillies add two arms to the bullpen that can improve any run at the post season this year. If they do not make the post season they can just let them become free agents just like they would do with Michael Young.
Could the Yankees really be willing to trade away to previous pitching prospects on an 80 game rental of Michael Young? They are in fourth place in the American League East (51-44) and six games out of first. The Bronx Bombers (not this season) believe there is still a chance at a division title or wildcard birth. Have Phil Hughes and Joba Chamberlain lost that much value to the that they are will to trade them away? Yes it has come to that point. Chamberlain will not be back and Hughes is close to losing his rotation spot for good.
Phil Hughes is 4-9 with a 4.57 ERA so far this year and is currently the fourth starter in the Yankees rotation. The top three in the Yankees rotation are not going to change with Sabathia, Kuroda and Pettite. Nova is 4-2 with a 3.63 ERA in 10 starts this season giving up three earned runs in his last 17 innings pitched (both wins). Michael Pineda is progressing through rehab and is close to making his much anticipated debut. Also David Phelps is due to return for the DL soon as well. There is no room for Hughes and no current plan to resign him.
There are two concerns I can see in a possible deal. First is the no trade clause that Michael Young possesses. Although given the chance I believe he would wave it seeing that the Yankees have a better chance to make the post season than the Phillies at this point in time. The Yankees have players returning from injury and are in striking distance for either a division title or wildcard position. Secondly is the sheer interest in Young. It has been reported that the Red Sox, and other teams are interested in Young as well. Could someone make an offer that Philadelphia cannot pass up? Anything is possible as the trade deadlines approaches. However, from a logic perspective this deal would benefit both the Phillies and Yankees without mortgaging their futures or any long term commitments. I cannot see how this deal does not get done.