|The Phillies completed their Christmas shopping over a three-day span in early December, trading four young pitchers for a new center fielder and a new third baseman in a pair of deals. In their most recent exchange, Philadelphia acquired 36-year-old corner infielder Michael Young from the Rangers for a pair of upper-levels righty relievers, Josh Lindblom and Lisalverto Bonilla. The Rangers also sent $10 million in the deal.
Philadelphia acquired the Twins’ Ben Revere in trade two days earlier.
Young (age 36 in 2013) will replace Placido Polanco as Philadelphia’s everyday third baseman, joining a grizzled infield corps of Jimmy Rollins (34) at shortstop, Chase Utley (34) at second and Ryan Howard (33) at first. If all four Phillies infielders accumulate 400 plate appearances in 2013, then they will join the 2009 Astros as the only clubs to ever rely on four regulars that old (source: Baseball-Reference.com). That Houston core four was Lance Berkman, Kazuo Matsui, Geoff Blum and Miguel Tejada.
The Rangers selected side-arming righty Coty Woods in Thursday’s Rule 5 draft, and the additions of Lindblom and Bonilla in this trade gives them two more potential bullpen options for 2013. Texas might have to rely on its three new acquisitions as well as its pitching depth in the high minors—power righties such as Roman Mendez, Wilmer Font and Neil Ramirez—seeing as it will have a 38-year-closer (Joe Nathan) and a young closer on the mend from Tommy John surgery (Neftali Feliz). The Rangers also face the possible free agent defection of Mike Adams and the actual defection of Koji Uehara (to the Red Sox), and the club also intends to shift Alexi Ogando from the bullpen to the rotation.
|Josh Lindblom, rhp
Age: 25. Born: Jun 15, 1987 in Lafayette, Ind.
Ht.: 6-4. Wt.: 240.
Bats: R. Throws: R.
Career Transactions: Selected by Dodgers in second round of 2008 draft; signed June 20, 2008 … Traded by Dodgers with RHP Ethan Martin and a player to be named to Phillies for OF Shane Victorino, July 31, 2012; Phillies acquired 2B Stefan Jarrin (Sept. 28, 2012).
Part of the bounty received from the Dodgers for Shane Victorino at the trade deadline, Lindlbom completed his first full season in the big leagues in 2012. He topped out at 95 mph but sat more comfortably at 92, while mixing in three other pitches that give him a different look from most relievers. Lindblom leaned on his 83-85 slider more and more as the season went on, but he gave batters a different look with the occasional curveball, two-seamer and changeup. He’s at his best when working up and down in the zone with a four-seamer and curve. (John Manuel)
|Lisalverto Bonilla, rhp
Age: 22. Born: Jun 6, 1990 in Samana, Dominican Republic.
Ht.: 6-1. Wt.: 164.
Bats: R. Throws: R.
Career Transactions: Signed as nondrafted free agent by Phillies, Dec. 19, 2008.
Bonilla’s breakthrough 2012 season got sidetracked when he had surgery to repair a small broken
bone in his pitching hand. He injured it horsing around with teammates the day before the 2012 Futures Game. He missed the rest of Reading’s regular season but got back on track in the Dominican League.
With his 92-96 mph fastball that’s picked up velocity out of the bullpen and his 82-84 changeup, Bonilla has a pair of plus-plus
pitches. He’s also worked to develop a 78-82 slider that has above-average flashes but is inconsistent. Wiry and athletic, Bonilla has a clean delivery, though there’s some effort involved. (Matt Forman)
|Michael Young, 1b/3b
Age: 35. Bats: R. Remaining Commitment: 1 year, $16 million (Rangers send $10 million).
Contract details courtesy of Cot’s Baseball Contracts.