12/18/12 6:30 PM ET
Young excited for fresh start in Philadelphia
By Todd Zolecki / MLB.com
The Phils hope he feels just as comfortable in their lineup.
They introduced Young at a news conference on Tuesday afternoon at Citizens Bank Park. He will be their everyday third baseman when the club opens Spring Training in Clearwater, Fla., although he had not played the hot corner regularly since 2010 and suffered a dip in production offensively in '12. But Young spoke optimistically about his future in Philadelphia, while Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. spoke about unfinished business as the calendar flips to 2013 in less than two weeks.
"I couldn't be more excited to be a member of this organization right now," said Young, whom Philadelphia acquired in a trade. "This is a team with a really strong history of winning over here the past five or six seasons. Great history and a great fan base. A loud, intense and fun ballpark. All those things really appealed to me.
"When the trade was presented to me, I heard from Chase [Utley], I heard from Cliff [Lee], I heard from Laynce [Nix]. A lot of guys went out of their way to say hello, and I appreciated that. I heard from Jimmy [Rollins] right when the trade went down. These are all guys I have a past history with, and guys I felt very comfortable with. I knew this is a place I could fit in really well. I knew this was a place where I could step into Clearwater and call it my home."
Young certainly can make things a lot better for the Phillies, if he plays a capable third base and returns to form offensively. He hit .277 with 27 doubles, three triples, eight home runs, 67 RBIs and a .682 OPS last season. It was the lowest OPS of Young's career, following a 2011 season in which he hit .338 with an .854 OPS.
If there is reason to be optimistic, Young said he figured out a flaw in his swing last September. He hit .313 with an .838 OPS the final month of the season.
"I feel like at the end of the year, I was there," Young said. "I don't like to scuffle. But I've been in the league long enough now that, as competitive as I am, if I make a mistake that I can't let it consume me. I make adjustments and I go from there. At the end of the day, the numbers were nowhere near what I expected them to be this year. But I stayed with it, battled hard, and from September on the rest of the way, I felt like me. I felt that last year was a great learning experience and I want to play like I was at the end of last year for 2013."
And playing third base regularly again?
"My time at third will be easier because I can donate all my reps to third," Young said. "The toughest part of playing different spots is dividing your reps -- taking 25 percent of your balls at third because you have to go to short, second and first. I'm looking forward to that and getting down to Clearwater and getting a lot of reps under my belt."
Young joins Ben Revere as the Phillies' newest additions to the lineup. If they do what the Phils hope they can do, the team should be improved offensively, although there remains a glaring need for a right-handed corner outfielder with power.
"We're still trolling through the possibility of adding another piece there," Amaro said. "And we're also considering the possibility with a double platoon. That's a possibility as well. We've done some things that have helped our club at a couple of different levels. I don't think the process of trying to help improve our club stops until the end of the season. It's very possible that we have the answers internally. I feel comfortable with the way our club is today, and if there's a way to improve it, we'll try to do that."
A double platoon would seem to include Domonic Brown, John Mayberry Jr., Darin Ruf and Nix. But that would be relying on a lot of players without much of a track record. For a team trying to win a World Series, a little assurance with a veteran outfielder like Cody Ross, who is available in free agency, or Alfonso Soriano and Vernon Wells, both of whom could be available in a trade, could help.
If the Phillies fall short in that pursuit, more pressure falls to Young. He might not have the home run numbers, but they need a solid right-handed bat somewhere.
"I'm looking forward to it," Young said.
Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.