The Phillies elected to hang onto veteran third baseman Michael Young past the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline, buying them time to evaluate talented rookie Cody Asche at the hot corner. That decision was not without its drawbacks, however. Keeping Young cost Philadelphia about $2.6 million in salary, but they won’t maintain that status quo for September, not after dealing Young to the Dodgers for 24-year-old lefthander Rob Rasmussen, a prospect with ample experience at the upper levels of the minors.
After making several high-profile trades in 2012 for the likes of Josh Beckett, Carl Crawford, Adrian Gonzalez, Hanley Ramirez and Shane Victorino, the Dodgers had been comparatively quiet in 2013. Before acquiring Young, their only in-season addition had been righty Ricky Nolasco from the Marlins.
Rob Rasmussen, lhp
Career Transactions: Selected by Marlins in second round of 2010 draft; signed July 7, 2010 … Traded by Marlins with 3B Matt Dominguez to Astros for 1B Carlos Lee and cash, July 5, 2012 … Traded by Astros to Dodgers for RHP John Ely, Dec. 19, 2012
Traded for the third time in little more than a year, Rasmussen is a 5-foot-9 southpaw with three major league pitches and a solid performance record at Double-A over 136 innings (3.45 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, 8.0 SO/9, 3.1 BB/9). His time at Triple-A Albuquerque this season, though, is best forgotten. In 10 starts he went 0-6, 5.98 with 35 strikeouts, 30 walks and 60 hits allowed (including nine homers) in 52 2/3 innings. Rasmussen spots an 88-94 mph fastball to both sides of the plate and adds and subtracts from a solid curveball and slider. His low-80s changeup has developed into a strong secondary pitch, and it allowed him to hold Double-A righthanders to a .199 average this season. Given his feel for pitching, Rasmussen could one day be a back-of-the-rotation starter or quality middle reliever.
Michael Young, 3b/1b
Remaining Commitment: Prorated portion of $16 million salary for 2013, then eligible for free agency.
Teams know what they’re getting in Young: reliability, not upside potential. He’s a capable defender on either infield corner and a contact-oriented righty bat who can play first base, third base, DH or serve as a pinch-hitter. The 36-year-old Young doesn’t hit for profile corner power anymore, but then again he hasn’t had a line-drive rate lower than 22.5 percent (or a strikeout rate higher than 15.2 percent) in any of the past three seasons, during which time he’s hit .299/.344/.759 (103 OPS+).