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Phillies confirm trade for INF Michael Young

Phillies confirm trade for INF Michael Young

PHILADELPHIA (AP) Michael Young's leadership skills were as attractive to the Philadelphia Phillies as his hitting ability.

The Phillies acquired the seven-time All-Star infielder from the Texas Rangers for two relief pitchers, filling a void at third base. The deal was announced Sunday, a day after Young agreed to waive his no-trade clause.

``Michael brings a lot to our team, not just on the field, but off it as well,'' Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said. ``He has been one of the premiere hitters in the American League for a decade and is someone who has a tremendous presence in the clubhouse. We couldn't be happier that he has accepted the assignment to come to the Phillies.''

Young is known for being an unselfish player and a true professional - two qualities Philadelphia's front office values in a player.

``He has all the elements we're looking for,'' Amaro said. ``First of all, the makeup is extraordinary. He's the ultimate team player. He knows how to play baseball. He's a winning baseball player. He's had the opportunity to be in big games in the playoffs and he just fits real well.''

The Rangers get right-hander Josh Lindblom and minor league righty Lisalverto Bonilla. The Rangers also will pay a significant portion of Young's salary for 2013. Young is due to earn $16 million. Reports said the Phillies will pay him about $6 million.

``If there was crying in baseball, I guess I would cry,'' Rangers manager Ron Washington said of losing Young. ``This is a very, very tough situation. He's always been my go-to guy in the six years I've been here, and he's not only done a lot in that respect for me, but leadership that he brought to the clubhouse and the leadership that he brought on the field, and the leadership that he had in the community is something that we sorely will miss.''

Young batted .277 with eight homers and 67 RBIs in 2012, a down year for him. He hit .288 with runners in scoring position and .333 against left-handed pitchers. He made 40 starts at first base, 25 at third base, 14 at second base and four at shortstop.

``I think that's just part of the process of being a Major League player,'' Amaro said. ``You don't have a great year every year. He's had some years where he hit .280 and others where he hit .330. But at the same time, even when his numbers aren't extraordinary, and they were still pretty darn good last year, maybe better than anybody we had on our club, but the fact of the matter is he's a professional hitter. He's a guy who we know will strive to be the best player he can be. And even when he's not having productive hits, I know he's the kind of guy who makes productive outs. So there's a lot of pluses to this guy.''

From 2003-11, Young hit at least .300 seven times and averaged 17 homers and 90 RBIs. A former AL Gold Glove winner at shortstop, Young hasn't played third base regularly since 2010. Seven Phillies started at third base last year, including often-injured former All-Star Placido Polanco.

Young was originally selected by the Toronto Blue Jays in the fifth round of the 1997 amateur draft. He was traded to the Rangers on July 19, 2000 for pitcher Esteban Loaiza. Young has a .301 average with 177 home runs and 984 RBIs in 1,823 major league games - all with Texas. He is the club leader in games, at-bats (7,399), runs (1,085), hits (2,230), doubles (415), triples (55) and total bases (3,286). Young has a .248 average with 3, homers, 10 doubles and 19 RBIs in 34 postseason games.

Young began his career at second base with the Rangers. He moved to shortstop to accommodate Alfonso Soriano, who was acquired in the trade that sent Alex Rodriguez to the New York Yankees. Young won his only Gold Glove at shortstop in 2008 and then moved to third base to make room for Elvis Andrus in 2009. He played two seasons at third before moving to designated hitter and a utility role after Adrian Beltre arrived in Texas.

The emergence of rookie infielder Jurickson Profar meant even less opportunity for Young to play to in the field this season. Profar, who turns 20 in February, is the Rangers' top prospect played second base and shortstop in nine games down the stretch last season and had a hit in his only at-bat in an AL wild-card loss to Baltimore.

``Both on and off the field, this guy is one of the most accomplished players in the history of the franchise and been part of the last few years where they were basically the best teams in the history of the franchise,'' Rangers GM Jon Daniels said. ``As we looked at it, given the makeup of our roster, some of our internal options, we felt this was the right way to go.''

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AP Sports Writers Stephen Hawkins in Arlington, Texas, contributed to this report.

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Follow Rob Maaddi on Twitter:https://twitter.com/RobMaaddi

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Wizards release statement on the passing of John Wall's mother

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Wizards release statement on the passing of John Wall's mother

The Washington Wizards announced the passing of John Wall's mother, Frances Pulley on Friday. 

Wall's mother had been battling cancer before her passing. She was 58. 

In a statement on Twitter, the Wizards said, "Sending thoughts and love for John Wall and his family after the passing of his mother, Frances Pulley. She will forever be a part of our #DCFamily."

Zach Leonsis, the senior vice president of strategic initiatives at Monumental Sports & Entertainment, also released a statement

"Thinking of @JohnWall and his family right now. Keeping you guys in our prayers. So terribly sorry for your loss and know that she will be remembered forever. #DCFamily

Wall's Kentucky coach, John Calipari also expressed his condolences for his former star: 

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Nationals trading for a third baseman is possible -- as long as it’s not Nolan Arenado

Nationals trading for a third baseman is possible -- as long as it’s not Nolan Arenado

Here’s the list of players on the Nationals’ active roster who could play third base: Wilmer Difo, Jake Noll, Adrián Sánchez, Howie Kendrick, Carter Kieboom. Career major-league starts at the position: Difo, 29; Noll, one;  Sánchez, nine; Kendrick, 25; Kieboom, zero. 

Such is the state of third base for the defending World Series champions. Not good. 

Which makes Josh Donaldson’s agent smile and any semi-skilled third baseman with a pulse a possible target. Possible trades? Count the Nationals in. On most. Not on Nolan Arenado. That’s a non-starter because Washington is not going to send assets (prospects) for a contract it was unwilling to give Anthony Rendon in the first place. Zero chance. Zilch.

However, Kris Bryant is more intriguing depending on the years and ask -- as always with trades. Beyond him and Kyle Seager, is there another third baseman the Nationals could pursue in a trade? The question takes on weight because of the aforementioned toothless list of in-house candidates and shallow free-agent talent pool beyond Donaldson.

Any trade consideration needs to begin with an understanding of the parameters Washington is working from. Last season, Rendon’s one-year deal to avoid arbitration earned him $18.8 million. When Washington looks at the cost for its next third baseman, the number will be similar to last season’s cost for Rendon. A bump in the competitive balance tax threshold, plus savings at first base and catcher, provide the Nationals wiggle room for increases in spots. So, $18-25 million annually for a third baseman is in play.

Second, the Nationals’ farm system needs to be taken into account. Their 2018 first-round pick, Mason Denaburg, had shoulder problems last year. Mike Rizzo said at the Winter Meetings that Denaburg is healthy and progressing. But, the early shoulder irritation for a high school pitcher who also had problems his senior year with biceps tendinitis provides his stock pause. He’s a would-be trade chip. So is Kieboom.

But, what is Kieboom’s value? What damage did it receive during his rocky, and brief, appearance in the majors last season? Did his potent hitting in the Pacific Coast League after being sent back mitigate his big-league struggles? 

Beyond Kieboom, the farm system’s next tier is manned by Luis Garcia, 2019 first-round pick Jackson Rutledge, Wil Crowe and Tim Cate, among others. Only Garcia is part of MLB.com’s top-100 prospects list (which is more of a guide than an industry standard).

So, when Bryant or Seager -- or anyone not named Arenado -- are mentioned, know where the Nationals are coming from. If they are positioned to take on money, they don’t want to use assets to do it (this is the Donaldson Scenario). If they can save money, find a solid player and retain the few high-end assets, then a trade could be in play (this would be the Seager Scenario, if Seattle pays some of the contract). 

The Bryant Scenario is the most appealing and challenging. He’s the best player of the group. However, acquiring him would be high-cost and short-term. Bryant has two years remaining before he can become a free agent -- with an outside shot at becoming a free agent after next season because of a grievance he filed against the Cubs for service-time manipulation. Obtaining him would likely focus on multiple pitching prospects.

There is no Arenado Scenario. Just a reminder.

Piled together, Washington is in a tough spot. What it has is not enough. What it needs will be costly.

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