MLB Trade Rumors: 10 Reasons the Rangers Will Regret Alienating Michael Young
A week ago, Michael Young was demanding to be traded by the Texas Rangers, the only team he has ever played for at the Major League level.
He was quoted as saying that team management had "lied" to him, and "misled" him in regards to his role with the team after the offseason acquisitions of third baseman Adrian Beltre and designated hitter/first baseman Mike Napoli, two players who would seem to cut drastically into Young's chances for a regular role with the 2011 Rangers.
At the time, Texas brass had promised to explore potential trade options, which could appease the longest-tenured Ranger, while still protecting the best interests of the club.
Young had gone on the offensive, lambasting club officials in a very public manner, something which seemed wildly out of character for the usually reserved infielder. His demands through the media caught many off-guard and led many fans to side with the longtime Ranger fan-favorite.
Though we have yet to hear from the Rangers' front office in a direct response to Young's comments, his side of the story doesn't paint a pretty picture. His tales of lies, broken trust and underhanded dealings by the Texas front office present a sordid view of his situation with the Rangers, and the implications may reach well beyond the simple question of "who will DH for the current AL Champions in 2011"?
Whether he will be traded remains to be seen, although at this late juncture, it is appearing less likely.
No matter if he stays or goes, the Texas Rangers have run the risk of alienating one of their team leaders and a vital member of their franchise over the last decade.
Let 's take a look at some of the key reasons the Rangers might regret their handling of the Michael Young situation in Arlington.
Young Is The Derek Jeter Of Texas
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Whether you like the comparison or not, Michael Young is like the Yankee shortstop in many ways.
Jeter and Young both personify an old-school, throwback type of mindset that many fans appreciate. They each play every day, they give their best effort on every play, and they have both done it well for a long time.
Each star infielder steers clear of controversy, leads his team in a quiet manner, mostly by example and for the most part, always do and say the right things in the media.
Interestingly, each of them found themselves in the most difficult situations of their careers during the same offseason. Jeter and the Yankees ran into difficulty when attempting to work out a new contract, and the two sides had opposing views regarding the aging shortstop's future moving forward.
Young and the Rangers differed in their opinions on his position and value to the team for 2011 and beyond.
Both players have long represented much of what is good about baseball.
Do the Rangers really want to do harm to the goodwill they generated with their highly successful 2010 season?
Potential Fan Backlash
Following the 2010 run to the World Series, the Rangers turned the most successful season in team history into the ninth-best year in franchise history according to attendance numbers at home.
Shortly after the season, the team signed a new $3 billion television deal with Fox Southwest to televise Rangers' games for the next 20 years. This influx of cash should serve to make the team major players in player signings and a threat to the usual major market franchises for at least the foreseeable future.
With a rising tide of confidence, revenue and on-field success in Arlington, the Rangers have a great opportunity to build a massive AL power in the heart of Texas.
The last thing the team wants is to alienate a fan base that so fervently supported the Rangers on their quest for baseball's ultimate glory. A newfound hunger for victory has been born in Arlington and the expectations have been raised significantly.
Often, fans side with the player when disputes arise between them and the franchise. Although fans strongly support their team, the players are the actual on-field product that brings crowds out to games. No member of the front office provides the thrills that baseball's greatest stars can.
If the fans in Texas feel that Young has been treated unfairly by the Rangers, they very well may side with the player and feel that he has been dealt with unjustly.
After all the positivity in Arlington recently, the last thing the team wants is a protracted battle with a fan-favorite that could last into the season as they look to build on the success of 2010.
Potential Impact On Future Signings
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Although money usually does the talking, players are a tight-knit fraternity in more ways than one.
First, they are a uniquely skilled group of men who are a small group of the best in the world at what they do.
Although it may seem a glamorous life filled with opportunity, lavish lifestyles and the ability to live out one's boyhood dreams, it is also hard work and life full of personal sacrifice that only fellow players can truly understand.
The required dedication to the sport often interferes with living a normal family life, and the hours of constant work necessary to excel at the Major League level makes the life of a ballplayer much more than just getting rich playing baseball.
Major League Baseball players are also union members, in a very specific, exclusive group and their fortunes and those of future players are closely interconnected.
Though it may not seem like it on the surface, players do pay close attention to how their peers are treated. Respect plays a major role in the careers of professional athletes and any perceived slight, whether real or imagined, can significantly alter attitudes and their feelings toward a franchise.
With an influx of revenue from their rich television contract, the Rangers expect to be players in the free agent market over the next several years. They also have several arbitration eligible players and guys who are marching toward free agency themselves, several of whom they likely desire to retain.
If players perceive that a player of Michael Young's stature is treated unjustly by the franchise that allegedly values him so highly, what would keep the Rangers from doing the same to them?
Not that Young's side of the story is the only side of the issue, but if the players draw certain conclusions from the situation, it could certainly have a detrimental effect on the team's ability to draw players toward Texas while under control of the current managerial regime.
They Can't Get Maximum Value If They Trade Him at This Point
Considering Young's recent trade demands, the team is reportedly exploring options to work out a deal that would benefit the player, as well as strengthening their squad.
Unfortunately for the Rangers, any potential suitors know that the team is suddenly desperate to move him, and they won't have to offer the same type of player package in exchange if the circumstances were different.
With Spring Training beginning today, time is running out for the Rangers to work out a deal to move the star infielder. Teams know that they can offer a deal that the Rangers will either take or leave, without much room to negotiate due to time constraints and limited options.
The Rangers have understandably stated that they won't move him unless a potential trade stands to improve their squad while appeasing the player.
For a player of Young's talent level, they could normally expect to receive a significant haul, but since they appear to have alienated their quiet leader, the Rangers have likely done serious damage to their ability to receive the type of players that they would require in exchange.
If They Can't Trade Him, They Could Have an Unhappy Presence In The Clubhouse
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Michael Young doesn't seem like the type of player to disrupt a clubhouse, and he never has.
However, his willingness to air his grievances through the media over his perceived slights by the Rangers' front office may have altered the way many people think of him.
To have a detrimental effect on the clubhouse and team chemistry though, one doesn't have to be Manny Ramirez or Milton Bradley. The mere presence of a respected team leader sulking in the dugout can have a subliminal effect on his teammates, whether he's vocal about his displeasure or not.
With a seemingly happy clubhouse and a tight-knit group of players fresh off a march to the World Series, Texas certainly doesn't want anything to tarnish the mood around the Ballpark in Arlington.
Who Plays Second When Ian Kinsler Gets Hurt?
Okay, first of all, I am a big fan of Ian Kinsler's game. He is a dynamic player, capable of potent offensive outbursts, havoc on the base paths and solid, rangy defense at second.
However, the fact is that during his five-year MLB career, Kinsler has only managed to play more than 130 games once, when he played 144 games in 2009. Last season, various injuries limited him to 103 games, and it took him a while to return to form once he was able to take the field.
Removing a potent bat and his presence from the lineup is something the Rangers would rather not have to do again.
With Michael Young around, they have an experienced infield option to spell Kinsler, to help him stay healthy, and to potentially cover if the injury bug resurfaces again.
Young provides a valuable cover they could miss severely if they have offended him beyond repair.
They Need His Production In The Lineup
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The Texas Rangers still boast a deep lineup loaded with potent bats as they head toward the 2011 season.
With the additions of Adrian Beltre and Mike Napoli the Rangers welcome two new offensive threats to their ranks.
However, with the departure of Vladimir Guerrero, the Rangers will be losing their 2010 RBI leader and an accomplished run-producing bat who is destined for the Hall of Fame.
Though he is not quite as dynamic as he once was, Vlad's 29 home runs and 115 RBI provided significant pop and protection for Josh Hamilton in the heart of the order.
If Young is to depart, the DH duties will apparently fall to Napoli primarily, and he is best suited for a platoon role facing mostly left-handed hurlers. Though powerful, he is nowhere the versatile bat that Michael Young provides
The Rangers truly need to find a way to come to an understanding with Young in order to avoid creating a hole in their powerful offense.
First Base and Designated Hitter Would Be Manned By Unknown Quantities
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Despite Mitch Moreland's breakout performance in the 2010 playoffs, the 25-year-old first baseman had only 173 plate appearances during the second half of the year. With only 1,587 plate appearances as a minor leaguer, the converted pitcher is not yet viewed as a sure thing in Arlington.
His .833 OPS and OPS+ of 121 offered reasons to be hopeful, and he stepped up his production with an OPS of .900 in the postseason.
He will reportedly be given every opportunity to win the first base job in Spring Training, but the Rangers don't seem convinced yet.
Mike Napoli also has some experience at first but, with only 70 big league appearances there, is not a proven commodity and may be best suited for DH.
Even then, his powerful bat profiles best as a right-handed platoon partner against left-handed pitching. Against left-handers, he is a career .289 hitter with a .931 OPS, but against righties he drops off to a .238 hitter with a .795 OPS.
Michael Young, while not extremely powerful, still boasts adequate pop, and is a proven performer in Texas, putting up All-Star caliber numbers for nearly a decade in Arlington. Though Napoli or Moreland very well could step up to fill the potential void, the Rangers know what Young will provide the team.
Young Would Be The Best Utility Infielder In Baseball
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Though $16 million is much more than most teams are willing to spend on a versatile utility infielder, the prospect of having a six-time All Star on your team who has already proven his ability to play second, third and short has to be tempting.
Michael Young is purported to be the team's DH for now, but if he is to stay, it is highly likely that he would spend time at any of the four infield positions in order to provide rest and injury cover for the inevitable physical issues that afflict every team.
Without Young around, who is the backup at any of the infield positions?
Of course, numerous players are capable of backing up a few infield positions, but certainly very few are of the caliber of Michael Young.
Seriously...are you willing to risk it?
Who knows what type of karmic retribution the gods have ready to rain down upon the Texas Rangers if they proceed upon the current path of alienating their longest serving team member.
John Lennon once wrote a song about karma, of the instant variety in fact.
You may not believe in it, but karma believes in you.