Anyone who has been watching MLB trade rumors in the past month knows about the Michael Young situation.
After the signing of Adrian Beltre and being moved to primarily a DH role, Young has since requested a trade. Now, half the teams in the league have been linked to Young.
Hidden beneath all the trade possibilities is the question of whether or not the Rangers should actually let him go. After all, Young is a big part of their deep lineup, and he's been with the team forever.
Should the Rangers actually trade Michael Young and give him what he wants, or hold down the fort and see if he changes his tune?
Simply put, you have a main player in your lineup who's not happy.
If he's not happy, he's not going to perform. So you might as well trade him and get what you can for him, right?
Young is a career .300 hitter who can approach 100 RBI seasons without any issues. If he wants to be traded and isn't happy, why not do so?
When the Rangers originally signed Adrian Beltre, Michael Young was entirely fine with becoming the DH. However, he changed his tune after a while.
If he changed his mind once, couldn't he change it again?
Once the team plays a couple weeks of spring training, maybe he'll like the position he's in, and the situation might work itself out.
If this was some random player who was unhappy with his role, then these trade rumors would not be gaining traction. But Michael Young isn't some random person. He's a multi-time All-Star who has consistently performed year in and year out.
The Rockies were originally interested in Young before pulling out, and so were the Florida Marlins. That says a lot about this guy.
Part of the reason that trading Young would be difficult is his contract. He has three years left on his deal and will make $16 million each year. Even if the Rangers halve the deal, that's still a hefty contract to pick up this late in free agency.
If the Rangers are going to trade him, they would want to get rid of as much of that contract is possible. I can't see any teams taking on all that much, which could stop some trade rumors before they start.
Currently, Michael Young can block a trade to 21 different teams. That sounds like a reason that the Rangers would not be able to trade him, and normally that would be the case. However, because Young had requested the trade, he is willing to consider trades to those teams.
While that doesn't necessarily mean he could go to any of the 30 teams, it opens up things for the Rangers, and makes it far more likely that he will be traded.
There have been a few hypothetical trade scenarios thrown around, but I don't really see them working out.
For example, one trade scenario had Michael Young going to the Phillies for Raul Ibanez and Joe Blanton. Ibanez doesn't help the Rangers, and the Rangers need a better pitcher than Blanton, and there's also nowhere for the Phillies to put Young. The only place this trade works is with all three contracts.
Another trade situation had Michael Young going to the Brewers to replace Yuniesky Betancourt there, but that ended up making no sense because the Brewers have nothing left to give other teams.
The ideal trade for the Rangers just does not exist.
With the depth in the Rangers lineup, they can afford to lose Michael Young if he wants a trade.
The Rangers have Josh Hamilton, Ian Kinsler, Nelson Cruz, Elvis Andrus, and many others who make for a well-rounded, dangerous lineup. Oh—and they have Adrian Beltre too.
While they would rather keep all their pieces, they could still compete in and win the AL West without Young. It's not too much of a hit.
When most people think about the Texas Rangers nowadays, they think of Josh Hamilton. For a long time, that wasn't the case.
Instead, Mike Young was the guy who came to mind. He has been with the Rangers since 2000, battling through good and bad times, and has been a guy who you knew would be there.
Losing Michael Young to another team extends beyond losing that spot in the lineup. Anytime you lose a player who's been there for a decade, it's going to hurt. That may end up being the difference between him moving elsewhere and staying in Texas.
The weakness for the Rangers heading into this season is likely their pitching. Colby Lewis and C.J. Wilson had very good years in 2010, but those were their first good starting seasons. We have no idea how they'll pitch in 2011. Tommy Hunter is in that same boat, and baseball fans can only hope Brandon Webb stays healthy.
Needless to say, the Rangers need a proven guy in that rotation who can help lead the team back to a World Series. Trading away Michael Young could do just that, as long as he was traded to the right team.
The problem with this whole situation is that the Rangers want Mike Young to pretty much take over DH duties. Young is an infielder that can play second, shortstop, and third—so why not use him?
Young could play third base when Beltre needs a break there, and Beltre can DH. Swapping Young and Kinsler or Andrus makes a lot less sense, since I don't know why you would have those two DH, but if they were to want a day off, then Young can start in the field.
There's ways to use him even if it's not playing in the field every day. It might be messy, but that could keep him happy.
The question of whether or not to trade Michael Young is a tough one, as noted. But will the Rangers actually end up trading him?
I don't see how they could.
Young's salary is going to ward off a lot of teams. Plus, those that want Young probably don't have the pieces that the Rangers are looking for, and they're certainly not going to trade him for nothing.
The Rangers will keep an unhappy player around if there is no trade they find worthy, and I don't think any will be good enough for the Rangers.
Trade rumors will continue to pour in over the next couple weeks, but they should be taken with a grain of salt. Michael Young will still be a Ranger on opening day.