ARLINGTON -- The Rangers have traded seven-time All-Star infielder Michael Young to the Phillies for right-handed reliever Josh Lindblom and Minor League pitcher Lisalverto Bonilla.
Young departs after 12 seasons with the Rangers and is their all-time leader in games, at-bats, runs, hits, doubles and triples. He was considered the undisputed clubhouse leader on a team that went to two straight World Series in 2010-11 and was five times voted as the club's Player of the Year.
Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus tweeted: "Super sad that our captain Michael Young is gone wish the best for him and his family."
The Rangers, who have emerged as the favorites to sign free-agent pitcher Zack Greinke, discussed the trade for Young with the Phillies at the Winter Meetings. Young had the right to reject any trade because he has at least 10 years of Major League experience and five years with the Rangers.
But accepting this trade allows him to play third base for the Phillies rather than be stuck in a utility infielder role for the Rangers that would likely have reduced his playing time. The Rangers are expected to pick up as much as $10 million of Young's $16 million salary for 2013.
Lindblom, 25, was a second-round pick by the Dodgers in 2008 First-Year Player Draft and was traded to the Phillies, along with two other players, on July 31 for outfielder Shane Victorino. He was 3-5 with a 3.55 ERA in 74 combined games, allowing 7.7 hits, 4.4 walks and 8.9 strikeouts per nine innings.
Bonilla, 22, was 2-1 with a 1.64 ERA in 21 relief appearances at Double-A Reading this past season. He allowed six hits, 4.6 walks and 12.5 strikeouts per nine innings. Bonilla started the year at Class A Clearwater and had a 1.35 ERA in 10 games, with 6.1 strikeouts, 2.7 walks and 12.2 strikeouts per nine innings. He was ranked No. 15 by MLB.com among the Phillies' top prospects.
Young hit .277 with the Rangers, his lowest since 2002, with eight home runs and 67 RBIs. His .682 OPS was the lowest of his career.
The Rangers are looking to revamp their lineup. They still want to re-sign Josh Hamilton, but they have also talked to the D-backs about a trade for right fielder Justin Upton. If the Rangers acquire Upton, then it could mean that Nelson Cruz ends up as their designated hitter.
The Rangers have also been trying to sign Greinke, the top free-agent starting pitcher on the market. The Dodgers and the Angels have been viewed as their primary competition. But both Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti and Angels GM Jerry Dipoto left the Winter Meetings in Nashville, Tenn., this week expressing doubt that their club would be able to sign Greinke. Dipoto said the Angels were ready to "move on" from the right-hander.
There could be other teams quietly involved on Greinke. But Rangers CEO and president Nolan Ryan has made it clear from the beginning how much he likes Greinke, and general manager Jon Daniels has said all along the club is trying to add a starting pitcher.
Greinke, 29, was 15-5 with a 3.48 ERA in 34 starts for the Angels and the Brewers this past season. He was 6-2 with a 3.53 ERA in 13 starts for the Angels after being acquired on July 27. The Rangers also tried to acquire Greinke at the Trade Deadline.
It's still unclear if the Rangers would be able to sign both Greinke and Hamilton. Ryan said that would be a decision made by Ray Davis and Bob Simpson, the co-chairmen of the Rangers' ownership group.
If the Rangers don't acquire Hamilton, they could still trade for Upton, move Cruz to DH and go with a platoon of Craig Gentry and Leonys Martin in center.