Michael Young, Texas Rangers at Odds About Third Base Switch

Matthew IrbySenior Analyst IJanuary 12, 2009

When the Texas Rangers made the trade that sent superstar Mark Teixeira and relief pitcher Ron Mahay to Atlanta and got in return the Braves' top five prospects, we knew that in return we were getting back players that would help this team in the future.  Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Matt Harrison, and Elvis Andrus are quickly becoming the top three candidates that could help return the Rangers to the playoffs.

I'm not going to focus on Salty and his trade talks or the big year that I think Harrison will have, but rather the development of Andrus.

This kid is being considered one of, if not our top prospect in the entire Texas Rangers minor league system.  He batted .295 with 82 runs scored and 54 stolen bases last season, but did have 32 errors while spending the entire season at Double-A Frisco.

These are solid numbers and the kid is only 20 years old, so his upside is incredibly high.  But is it high enough to jeopardize the team's most consistent player the past five seasons?

The face of the franchise, the All-Star selection every single season since 2004, Mr. 200 hits a season (except for last year), and maybe the hardest worker on the team.

Is this 20-year-old phenom worth all that?  Right now, I say no.

First off, I think that Andrus will become not only one of the best shortstops, but one of the best players in baseball in the near future. 

If the Rangers keep him, he is the starting shortstop of the future, he is the best candidate for a legit leadoff hitter, and he could quickly become another MVP candidate out of Arlington.

But not in 2009.

In my opinion, the young man needs another year of the minor leagues, and Young should continue to be the starter for the Rangers this season.

General manager Jon Daniels and manager Ron Washington first presented this option to Young in December, and even since then, Michael has been 100 percent against the decision.

I will have to side with Young right now.

The Rangers need to keep Andrus very close to the major league organization, have him play significant time during Spring Training, let Young work with Andrus on a daily basis for the entire month and a half, and then send Andrus to Triple-A Oklahoma City.

From there you can reevaluate the situation as it progresses, and as Ranger fans will tell you, during the season anything can happen.

In 2004 Michael Young moved from second base to shortstop after Alex Rodriguez was traded for Alfonso Soriano.  He did this because he felt it was the best thing for the team.  He is not doing it right now because he does not feel it is the best thing for the team.

Young stated that he believes that he has worked hard and earned the right to be the shortstop of now, and I have to agree with him 100 percent.

After spending time working with Andrus, maybe next year or later this season Young will feel that moving to third and bringing Andrus up to shortstop will be best. 

The man has been our most consistent player over the past five seasons. He is the face of this franchise, and I believe he has a very good case.

Daniels and Washington have done some really good things for this franchise, but if you piss off Young and/or trade him away, it will be the biggest mistake by the organization since the free agent signing of Chan Ho Park, probably bigger.