So it begins. With the Phillies mired in an ugly eight-game losing streak, and any designs on making the playoffs this season dashed along with it, the organization has promoted third-base prospect Cody Asche to the big club. It was only the first in what is likely to be a series of moves made in the next 24 hours by a front office that suddenly has all eyes fixed on next year.
The logical question now is what’s in store for Michael Young, who has started 90 of 105 possible games at third for the Phils this year. We don’t imagine they brought up Asche so he could warm the bench, while Young – 36 and a free agent at season’s end – is one of the franchise’s prime candidates to deal before Wednesday’s 4 p.m. trade deadline.
Unfortunately it’s not as simple as that. Young has a full no-trade clause, and although he was willing to waive it for Texas over the offseason in order to join the Phillies, he may not be as cooperative this time around. According to FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal, the only move the seven-time All Star will approve is back to the Rangers.
It’s unclear what Ruben Amaro Jr. could get in exchange for Young, a two-to-three-month rental who’s batting .277 with a respectable .342 on-base percentage but dismal .402 slugging. It’s probably going to be significantly less as long as the Rangers have the Fightins over a barrel though.
Assuming Rosenthal’s report is accurate, it seems Young is trying to strong-arm his way back to Texas even at the risk of getting stuck in Philadelphia for the rest of the season. Curious decision, but that’s what the man wants. Perhaps that played some role in the club’s decision to call up Asche before Young was actually dealt – a way of sending a message to the veteran that he could wind up sitting if he stays.
While it remains to be seen how all of that plays out over the next 24 hours, the future is here now. Asche is the projected starter at third base next season, and was in the midst of a strong year at Triple-A Lehigh Valley. A fourth-round pick in 2011, the 23 year old is batting .295 with 15 home runs and 68 runs batted in for the IronPigs. Something called Steve Susdorf was designated for assignment to make room on the Phils' roster.
If nothing else, watching how Asche develops at the big-league level will gives fans a reason to keep in touch with the Phils over the last couple months. And one way or another, Young’s role on the diamond is about to be marginalized. Don’t expect a big haul in return, but it’s hard to believe he’ll be here much beyond this time tomorrow.