Texas Rangers Trade Rumors: Michael Young Reunion Would Be Wise Move
The Texas Rangers have been mentioned as a potential suitor for several of the top bats (Alex Rios, Hunter Pence, among others) on the trade market recently after slumping at the plate for the past two months.
Young, who has a batting average of .279 in 99 games with the Philadelphia this season, is reportedly open to the idea of returning to the club with which he spent the 13 years of his professional career.
That information comes from Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports, who posted this tweet on Tuesday:
If the Rangers and Phillies can iron out the framework of a deal that includes the 36-year-old Young returning to Ron Washington's lineup without a top prospect being shipped to Philadelphia, Texas would be wise to pull the trigger.
As noted by Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports, it's clear that the Phillies are trying to move Young (and his $16 million salary, roughly $10 million of which is already being paid by the Rangers from the original Young-to-Philadelphia trade) before the deadline:
Source: Phillies plan on calling up 3B Cody Asche. Points to Michael Young being traded today.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) July 30, 2013
ESPN's Jayson Stark reported earlier in July that the two teams had exploratory talks about Young, but that nothing was imminent in terms of completing a trade.
With the Rangers sitting five games behind the Oakland Athletics entering Wednesday and needing a spark to mount a playoff push over the next two months, Young could give the team a much-needed boost of momentum at the plate.
Rosenthal reported on Wednesday morning that the Rangers are expected to make a trade before the deadline passes:
Call it the Peavy trade. Or call it Biogenesis Trade I. Biogenesis Trade II is expected Wednesday from the Texas Rangers, who—according to major-league sources—are working feverishly to compensate for the likely suspension of their right fielder, Nelson Cruz.
In mentioning this, Rosenthal brings up another key storyline in Texas' attempts to bolster its lineup. If MLB suspends Cruz, one of the team's best hitters (24 home runs, 72 RBI), that will leave another hole to fill.
In retrospect, David Murphy, Mitch Moreland and Elvis Andrus have struggled at the plate this year. If the Rangers lose Cruz, you could argue that their playoff hopes are dead without reinforcements being brought in.
Fort Worth Star-Telegram beat writer Jeff Wilson reported on Monday that the Rangers were not seriously pursuing Rios anymore, lending to the idea that other options—like Young—are being explored:
#Rangers no longer seriously pursuing Alex Rios as trade deadline nears. GM Jon Daniels doesn't expect to make big splash.— Jeff Wilson (@JeffWilson_FWST) July 29, 2013
That being said, there are other teams who have expressed interest in Young.
The Boston Red Sox are one of those teams. Needing to bolster their infield depth and add a right-handed bat for their playoff push, the Sox are reportedly considering making a pass at Young in the wake of trading for starting pitcher Jake Peavy.
ESPN's Jim Bowden tweeted that report on Tuesday night:
Red Sox are now either going to promote Xander Bogaerts or Will Middlbrooks or trade for Michael Young #Domino'softhePeavydeal— JIM BOWDEN (@JimBowdenESPNxm) July 31, 2013
Young's no-trade clause has thwarted interest from other clubs so far, but Boston's place as a contender could help sway the utility infielder to consider a switch to the American League East if Philadelphia prompts him to do so.
Stark also pondered if a financial kickback would help change Young's tune:
One question I've heard teams ask about Michael Young: Would he waive no-trade to go to team besides Texas if that team kicks in extra $?— Jayson Stark (@jaysonst) July 31, 2013
All that said, the general consensus around baseball appears to be that it's Texas-or-bust for the seven-time MLB All-Star. ESPN New York's Andrew Marchand confirmed that idea on Twitter:
A person who spoke with Michael Young today said he has crossed off Yanks, says only would go to Texas.— Andrew Marchand (@AndrewMarchand) July 30, 2013
Although Texas doesn't have an atrocious batting average in the month of July (.263), it has dropped them to the middle of the pack in the AL.
To make matters worse, hitting with runners in scoring position continues to be a weakness. The Rangers have a .244 RISP batting average during 2013. The only team with a worse mark in that department still in strong playoff contention is the Pittsburgh Pirates, with an RISP batting average of .222.
Young can help the Rangers turn both problems around. He hasn't been the consistent .300 hitter over the last two seasons that he was during the middle of his career, but it's clear he can still hit. In 99 games, Young has 102 hits and has produced 34 RBI for Charlie Manuel's club.
Secondly, and maybe more importantly, Young won't cost the Rangers a top prospect the way that a guy like Rios or Pence would. You have to give up something to get something in any sport, but at age 36, Young's value isn't high enough to pry high-level talent from general manager Jon Daniels' clutches.
As a veteran leader, Young can also help Texas. Lance Berkman, Adrian Beltre and Ian Kinsler understand the clubhouse side of the game, but Young has been Texas' emotional leader before and he knows how to keep the team focused during a playoff push.
That kind of impact is invaluable.
If Young came to Texas and offered nothing more than at-bats against left-handed pitchers, the price the Rangers would have to pay would be worth it. Heck, they're already paying most of his 2013 salary. He's a free agent this winter, and the Rangers have been all about making noise this season.
If you're Jon Daniels, do you pull the trigger on a trade for Young?
The Matt Garza trade proved that much. Texas gave up top prospects Mike Olt and C.J. Edwards along with a one-time member of its 2013 rotation (Justin Grimm) to give Ron Washington another pitching weapon heading into the final two months of the season.
The time has come to add a weapon at the plate.
Simply put, it appears increasingly likely that Young will either stay in Philadelphia or return to Texas. Although it's a minor move for the Rangers, Young adds depth in the infield and is a right-handed bat with experience as a designated hitter.
Fans who held off on trading in their No. 10 Texas Rangers jerseys just might be rewarded on Wednesday. Young won't fix all the problems his former club has had scoring runs, but his return to the lineup would be a step in the right direction.
Follow Bleacher Report's Ethan Grant (@DowntownEG) on Twitter.
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