Twice in the previous four off-seasons Michael Young was asked by the Texas Rangers to switch positions to make them better, and he eventually did so each time.
Last week the Rangers asked Young to make another switch, this time to another team in another city, presumably to make them better again.
Once again, Young has obliged.
The franchise's all-time hits leader is headed to Philadelphia in a trade he approved around lunchtime Saturday.
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Young becomes the starting third baseman for a contender in the National League East, and his old team adds bullpen candidate Josh Lindblom and minor-league pitcher Lisalverto Bonilla to help them get back to the top in the American League West.
The $6 million that was freed up in the trade, after the Rangers agreed to pay $10 million of the $16 million Young is owed this season, could be used to sign Josh Hamilton, but Zack Greinke is no longer available.
Official word of the trade should come today as each side spent Saturday clarifying the wording and details of the contract, which includes a $1.2 million payout to Young to account for the state income tax Young will pay in Pennsylvania.
But major league sources confirmed that the trade has been agreed upon, and Young will become a member of a team other than the Rangers for the first time in his 13-year big league career.
"The Phillies got an All-Star player with a lot of baseball left in him," said second baseman Ian Kinsler, who was told by Young that he had accepted the deal. "Michael is a great player and a steady presence. He will be missed by our clubhouse."
Young leaves with 2,230 career hits, 483 more on the Rangers' list than second-place Ivan Rodriguez. Young is also the franchise leader in games played, runs, at-bats, doubles, triples, total bases, multi-hit games and infield hits.
Acquired in 2000 as a minor leaguer in the Toronto organization, Young is a seven-time All-Star and a five-time Rangers Player of the Year as voted by the local chapter of the Baseball Writers Association of America.
But a decline in his range defensively and one of the worst seasons in his career in 2012 put his 2013 playing time in jeopardy. So did the emergence of top prospect Jurickson Profar and the Phillies' need for a third baseman.
Profar hasn't been anointed as an everyday player in 2013. He figures to play second base, which would move Kinsler to first and Mitch Moreland to designated hitter.
Young likely would have had to split time with Moreland had he not waived his 10-and-5 rights and accepted the trade. But it wasn't an easy decision for Young, who has three young sons and recently moved his parents to the Metroplex from the Los Angeles area.
The money the Rangers save on Young won't go toward Greinke, who was in agreement with the Dodgers on a six-year, $147 million deal.
That's the kind of money the Rangers could use on Hamilton, though they remain interested in re-signing the five-time All-Star to a three- or four-year deal.
The Rangers will continue to seek an upgrade to their starting rotation, and could pursue a trade for Tampa Bay right-hander James Shields or New York Mets ace R.A. Dickey, the reigning National League Cy Young winner.
Ultimately, though, Saturday will be remembered in Rangers lore as the day the franchise's all-time hits leader and its captain was traded.
"Mike is the type of guy and player that every organization in professional sports wants on their team," outfielder David Murphy said. "He wins you games, is a clubhouse leader, is active in the community, and is simply a great guy in all aspects."
Jeff Wilson, 817-390-7760