Itís not even baseball season yet and already the National League East looks like itís going to be a very close race.
And it all comes on the heels of the trade the Philadelphia Phillies made with the Texas Rangers to acquire veteran infielder Michael Young.
With Youngís addition to the Phillies, they are very solid with veteran presence, experience, determination and most importantly leadership. Youíre not going to see any other infielder work harder than Michael Young, and thatís the honest truth. This guy does everything to be prepared for any position heíll have to play. He prepares physically and mentally, and what makes him stand out above all of the other utility infielders out there is that thereís not one position heís better at than the other. Michael Young is as tough as nails, nose to the grindstone defensive player at every position he plays.
The way things look right now, Young is going to be the teamís every day third baseman ó a position the Philadelphia fans will very much appreciate him at ó however if heís needed, whether it be a situational thing, because of someone elseís injury or whatever, donít be surprised to see Young spend some innings at shortstop, second, or first. The only thing he canít do in the infield is pitch and catch, but if Phillies Manager Charlie Manuel has no one else to turn to, Iím confident Young will do it with full potential, athleticism and grit. Young works hard in the field and at the plate and Philadelphia fans are going to notice that immediately.
At the plate, Young is aggressive and so selective he doesnít go down without a fight ó something else the Philadelphia fans will appreciate.
Mix that will and desire in with guys like Ryan Howard, Cliff Lee (whoís cooled off a bit, but still has impact), Roy Halladay, Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley, and you have a team to fear throughout 2013.
Washington and Atlanta are also competitive favorites in the NL East (Washington more than Atlanta) which is why this is going to be a tight, three-team race to the title and a postseason berth. The Mets and Marlins arenít expected to do much of anything.
By the way, another reason to be excited about Philadelphia, is the coaching staff. Not only has Manuel turned the franchise around with a World Series Championship and postseason appearances, the team has brought in former stars Ryne Sandberg and Wally Joyner.
Hit a ground ball against the Phillies this year and you might as well just head back to the dugout because with guys like Sandberg and Joyner on the staff the infielders are going to be very solid.
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