Sunday, December 9, 2012

Young Approves Trade, Phils Deal From Depth

On Saturday, Rangers veteran Michael Young waived his no-trade clause, approving a deal to the Phillies, who sent two righty hurlers to Texas.  The 36-year-old Young has manned third base, first base and second base a considerable amount during his 12-year big league career, all with the Rangers.

Slated to be the Phillies' everyday third baseman, the seven-time All-Star and career .301/.347/.444 hitter commanded a quality return, as the Rangers acquired reliever Josh Lindblom and prospect Lisalverto Bonilla.

Phillies fans got a sizable sampling of Lindblom last season, after he was acquired from the Dodgers in the Shane Victorino trade.  The 25-year-old posted a 1-3 record with 1 save, a 1.53 WHIP and a 4.63 ERA in 26 games for the Phils.  Often critiqued for being a fly ball pitcher, Lindblom was not seen as being an ideal type to dominate at Philadelphia's Citizens Bank Park.

With Justin De Fratus, Phillippe Aumont, Mike Stutes and several other names all having strong reliever make ups and being a similar age to Lindblom or younger, the club didn't hesitate to move the former 2nd round draft selection to help fill a spot in the daily lineup. 

Lisalverto Bonilla in 2011
The youngster given up in this deal, Bonilla, is a strong prospect that would have represented the Phillies in the MLB All-Star Futures Game last season, if he hadn't injured himself while horsing around at the hotel in Kansas City that weekend.

The Dominican native first began to make his name known in 2011 as a member of the Class A Lakewood staff.  In 26 outings that season (15 starts), Bonilla, who stands 6-foot-1 and is listed generously by the Phillies at 175-pounds, sported a 2.80 ERA while striking out 95 batters and walking 29 in 106 innings pitched.  He followed that up with a great campaign in 2012, which saw him posting a 3-2 record along with four saves, a 1.55 ERA and a 12.43 K/9 mark in 31 combined games at Class A Advanced Clearwater and Double-A Reading prior to suffering the season ending injury in July.

Bonilla, who had tallied a 1-4 record with two saves and a 6.92 ERA in 15 outings for Escogido in the Dominican Winter League, features an excellent change up to compliment his fastball that typically ranges from 91-94 MPH and his strong slider.  The 22-year-old Bonilla was ranked as the Phillies' 12th best prospect by PhilliesNation.com last off-season.

Considering that the Phillies gave up another top pitching prospect last week, when they sent righty Trevor May to Minnesota in the Ben Revere trade, fans may wonder if giving up the pair of promising arms will hurt their chances of filling pitching voids from within.  Likely, it will not.  Pitching is the key position where the Phillies have depth in their developmental ranks.  With names like Jonathan Pettibone, Kenneth Giles, Adam Morgan, Ethan Martin, Tyler Knigge and others all doing big things and making an impact in the system, the Phils are comfortable with their ability to continue to develop young arms that can and will take over duties on the big league roster.

Lisalverto Bonilla will be a major leaguer and would have potentially been a tremendous name to help revive Vicente Padilla's long-lost fan group concept (Flotilla, anyone?), but trading from depth and not leaving the team short in another department is perfectly fine.  Along those same lines, expect one of the Phils' well-regarded catching prospects, Tommy Joseph or Sebastian Valle, to become a key trade chip as the weeks and months roll on.  And, just like with their pitchers, the talent that remains put will help the organization to not miss the departed.

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