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Utley's Injury Could Solve the Young Problem

Wednesday, Mar 9, 2011  |  Updated 2:00 PM CDT
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Utley's Injury Could Solve the Young Problem

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Things have been very quiet on the Michael Young front since he reported to camp and went to work following February's trade demand. That could change quickly if bad news keeps flowing out of Phillies camp.

Chase Utley's knee has kept him from playing this spring and Wednesday brought more bad news about the second baseman. The trainer for the Phillies issued a statement saying that Utley's knee isn't responding to treatment and that he'll be looking for more opinions about why there's no progress. While he put no official timetable on a return, there's so little positive news that it is hard not to start wondering if Utley is going to make it back in time for Opening Day.

Given the way the Phillies threw all their cards on the table this winter by signing Cliff Lee, they can't really sit back, throw up their hands and stick Wilson Valdez into the breech if Utley is out for a significant amount of time. That means there will be a need to add an infielder and that's where Young comes into the picture.

The Rangers already discussed a Young trade with the Phils, a deal that would have reportedly brought them back Placido Polanco and Joe Blanton. Blanton still makes sense as part of the deal as he's superfluous for the Phils and would solidify the back end of the Rangers rotation. Polanco might not work if we're under the assumption that the Phillies need infield help (and that Young's not really an upgrade), but there's still plenty of reason to believe a deal could work.

The change in Philly needs might also mean that the biggest stumbling block from the winter goes away. That would be the amount of Young's salary that the Rangers are willing to swallow and, again, it is hard to see the Phillies letting money stop them from making a deal that would help them make good on the expectations created by their other transactions.

Utley's status is still too uncertain to expect something to happen quickly and this is mostly guesswork. There are reports of Phillies scouts following the Rangers, however, and there aren't likely to be many options better than this bubbling up until we're well into the regular season.

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