10 make-or-break players this spring
February, 21, 2013
By Jim Bowden | ESPN.com
Michael Zagaris/Oakland Athletics/Getty ImagesNo longer a Ranger, Michael Young must prove he's got something left in the tank for Philly.
Baseball is a results-oriented business. Players who do not produce do not last long. Some young players, however, are afforded more time and multiple chances to establish themselves because of the potential they’ve shown or their formidable physical skills. Others are veterans clinging to roster spots -- trying to prove they’re not washed up -- or injured players trying to re-establish themselves as starters.
For the following 10 players, spring is the start of a make-or-break season. If they succeed, they stave off critics and age for another season. If they don’t, this could be their last in the major leagues.
1. Michael Young | 3B | Veteran trying to prove he’s not in decline
At 36, Young is coming off his worst offensive year in more than a decade, hitting just .277/.312/.370 with 27 doubles and eight home runs. The Rangers couldn’t promise him a full-time role in 2013, so Young waived his trade veto rights to become Philadelphia’s everyday third baseman. Young served primarily as the Rangers’ DH and super-utility player, but his range has diminished, and some scouts question if he still has the first-step quickness needed to be adequate at third base. Young is still a clubhouse leader and is just one year removed from leading the AL with 213 hits. To many baseball evaluators' eyes, it looked as if his bat was slowing down. The Phillies are hoping that’s not the case.