"I was kind of getting nervous about it, but I prayed about it and I thought about it and I just stayed calm," said Youman, who went 3-5 with a 5.97 ERA in 16 appearances (eight starts) for the Pirates last season. "It was going to work out either way. I'm sure the Phillies will be a great organization to play for, and I'm looking forward to seeing how things are run in another organization."
The change from black and gold to red and white marks the end of Youman's six-year professional career in the Pirates organization. Drafted in the 43rd round of the 2000 First Year Player Draft, Youman spent five seasons slowly making his way through the Minor League rungs before earning a September callup in 2006.
This past year, he joined the big league roster on July 2 and picked up his first Major League win one day later. The 28-year-old southpaw made five more starts before finishing the last two months primarily as a long reliever out of the bullpen.
His overall Major League numbers include a 3-7 record, a .273 opponents' batting average, 33 walks and 34 strikeouts in 79 total innings.
Speaking over the phone from his home in Louisiana, Youman said that he has made it his goal to earn a spot in the Phillies rotation out of Spring Training. Still, even after talking to Huntington on Wednesday and ending the conversation on good terms, Youman said it will take some time to begin letting go of the numerous relationships that he has formed within the Pittsburgh organization and start to embrace his role on another team.
"I want to thank everyone who was in the organization during my time there," Youman said. "It's going to be kind of tough because I am always going to appreciate what that organization did for me. This is where I got my start. This was my first encounter with professional baseball."
Minor matters: Yurendell de Caster and Humberto Cota, two of 37 players within the Pirates organization to declare Minor League free agency, have both signed Minor League contracts with the Nationals and have been guaranteed an invite to Washington's Spring Training.
Having been in the Pirates organization since 1999, Cota spent parts of seven seasons in Pittsburgh. In all, the 28-year-old catcher batted .233 with 39 extra-base hits and 61 RBIs in 196 games with the Pirates. He appeared in 14 games during the middle of the 2007 season, going 4-for-14 with three RBIs.
De Caster, who was a Rule 5 Draft selection back in 2000, spent the last three seasons with the Triple-A Indians. In 2007, the versatile infielder/outfielder played in 120 games and hit .280 with nine homers and 54 RBIs.