Michael Young started at third base for the Phillies on Tuesday night with MLB's non-waiver trade deadline less than 24 hours away. (USA Today Images)
The Phillies remain in trade talks with several teams about infielder Michael Young. There’s a hitch, though.
“He only wants to go to one team,” a person with knowledge of Young’s thinking said on Tuesday.
Young, who has a full no-trade clause, would OK a trade to the Texas Rangers. That was the word 24 hours before Wednesday’s 4 p.m. non-waiver trade deadline. Whether Young softens his stance as the deadline approaches remains to be seen. If he did, he wouldn’t be the first player to do so. In addition to Texas, Young has drawn interest from the Red Sox, Yankees and Orioles.
Young started at third base for the Phillies on Tuesday night. Before the game, he would not answer specific questions about which teams he’d accept a deal to and which ones he would not, but he did acknowledge speaking with GM Ruben Amaro Jr. about the topic Tuesday afternoon.
“I had a talk with Ruben today, but we’ll keep that confidential,” he said. “Those things deserve to stay between me and the Phillies. The last thing I want to do is make this thing bigger than it needs to be. The Phillies have been straightforward with me and I’m trying to do the same thing with them.”
Young was asked whether he believed he would still be a Phillie after Wednesday’s 4 p.m. deadline.
“It’s difficult to say,” he said. “I really don’t know. I don’t know.”
Texas is an attractive destination for Young, 36, because he spent 12 seasons with the Rangers before joining the Phils in a trade last winter. Young’s wife and young children have remained in the Arlington, Texas area while he has played in Philadelphia. The Rangers are looking for a right-handed bat and Young could fill the need.
However, the Phils are not going to give Young away and so far have been underwhelmed by the Rangers’ offers.
Despite this hurdle, signs still point to Young being dealt. The Phillies on Tuesday afternoon recalled third-base prospect Cody Asche, 23, from Triple A Lehigh Valley and they did not bring him up to sit (see story). Manager Charlie Manuel said Asche would start at third on Wednesday night. Young could still find playing time at first base. However, Asche’s promotion makes it pretty clear the Phillies are banking on dealing Young. The team was under no pressure to bring up Asche.
During Young’s brief time with the Phillies, he has proven to be classy, mature and professional. He said he was not troubled by Asche’s arrival even though it could pinch his playing time if he remains with the Phillies.
“I love Cody,” Young said. “I think he’s a great kid and I’m going to help him any way I can. I hope Cody has a fantastic career. We worked together a lot in spring training. He bounced a lot of ideas off me and I want to help him any way I can. He’s a great kid and I hope the best for him. He’s going to have a great career. I want him to stay healthy and be the best he can be and, like I said, I’ll help him any way I can.”
Young said it was not difficult to concentrate on baseball during such a frenzied time.
“The only thing on my plate right now is tonight’s game and that’s what I’m focused on,” he said. “I want to win tonight. Whatever happens down the road happens down the road. The last thing I want to do is hamstring the team I’m playing for. I want to make sure this is a good relationship from start to finish. Like I said, I don’t think there is anything right now that is imminent, so my thoughts are on the game right now.”
Amaro, in an interview with MLB Network, said he did not expect Young to be traded. He also said he did not expect Cliff Lee to be traded. In Young’s case, that might be posturing. As for Lee, the Phillies are seeking a huge return in talent and that could spell Lee’s staying put. Boston has interest in Lee, but is reluctant to give up top prospect Xander Bogaerts. The Phillies would require him in any deal involving Lee.