Michael Young has told Texas he wants out. He told the press he wants out.
One would think he has earned the right to leave with dignity after Texas told him they wouldn't try to deal him, as they were trying to, and then told him they would deal him, after they had severed negotiations.
That being said, this isn't the NBA. No player has ultimate power over ownership. Young will stay in Texas, and will play the season out like the consummate professional that he is.
But why does Texas need him?
Young has 787 career games at shortstop, 416 at second base and 293 at third base. He has a .978 career fielding percentage combined.
Consider the fact the team's starting second baseman, Ian Kinsler, has topped 130 games once in five seasons, they will have a 22-year-old starting shortstop in Elvis Andrus, and Adrian Beltre's .957 career fielding percentage at third.
Young could see considerable action at each spot. Also, Beltre and Kinsler are likely to see time at DH to keep them healthy.
Having a guy that can play three positions well, and give you (career 162 game averages) .300, 17 HR, 87 RBI and 99 runs scored, is invaluable.
Who knows what you will get from the rest of this infield?
Beltre's 2010 AVG was 56 points higher than 2009, and 46 points higher than his career average. In his last three years, he has hit 25, eight and 28 home runs.
Andrus might be a budding star, but he was caught stealing 15 times last season, and hasn't shown the ability to hit over the .260s. He flashed some power as a rookie with six home runs in 145 games, but then hit ZERO in 148 last season.
Mitch Moreland hit nine home runs, while batting .255 in his rookie 2010 year. Texas loves him, but who knows what he will do this season.
Kinsler hit 31 home runs and stole 31 bases in 2009, but managed just nine and 15 in only 103 games of 2010. His health is always a concern.
Meanwhile, Young has hit .300 in six of the last eight years. He has 80 RBI in six of the last seven. And he scored 90 runs in six of the last eight.
Young is owed $12 million this year, $12 million next year and $13 million in 2013. That may seem expensive considering he is getting into his mid-30s, but as a reliable utility guy who hasn't showed much in the way of regression, it is a salary they are comfortable with.
Also, considering the market of infielders right now, its a price they can live with for the production they will get in return.
A report surfaced that the Rangers offered Michael Young to the Twins for Francisco Liriano. If that's the kind of return they want, no wonder he hasn't moved. The Rangers want young pitching back, and they simply are not going to get it, as young pitchers are often cheaper, and more valuable to organizations.
There just isn't much for a team to justify sending a budding future ace (or current ace like Liriano) for a mid-30s utility man. It is telling that there was never much in the way of a close call, even.
Michael Young loves to play baseball. And, as I said before, this is not the NBA or NFL where a player will simply refuse to show up if he doesn't get what he wants (I'm looking at you, Vincent Jackson and Ricky Rubio).
The game will go on, and Young will continue working hard and playing hard. Don't expect a big drop-off in his numbers from lackadaisical play. Young is a professional. Expect to see that from him this year.
This is a team that just went to the World Series. There isn't much desperation to change things up, especially by dealing one of the keys to their success. There is still the argument that they are the best team in the division (though you won't hear that argument from me).
A lineup in the way of Andrus, Young, Kinsler, Hamilton, Cruz, Beltre, Napoli... is pretty fearsome. If they could deal Young for a high-end pitcher, obviously that would be optimal, but that isn't likely, so they are satisfied with the team as is.
There were rumors of prospects being offered, but the Rangers think they can win right now, and plan to do so.
Nolan Ryan took over the Rangers with big plans. And he doesn't want to begin by dealing one of the team's best players ever. Yes, there is work to do to get the club out of its financial messes, but on the field, Ryan plans to compete consistently, and that means having having Young in the fold.
It remains to be seen what kind of owner Ryan will be, but he was willing to pay Cliff Lee a competitive salary, so it seems he is willing to do what is necessary. That won't make everyone happy all the time, but it could lead to many wins in the organization's future.
Show me Derek Jeter in a Red Sox jersey. Now show me Albert Pujols in a Cubs jersey (actually, we might see that shortly). Let me see Tom Brady in Jets green, or the late great Dale Earnhardt in Richard Petty's No. 43 car.
Now show me Michael Young in another uniform. For those of you pulling your hair out, no he isn't Jeter or Pujols or Brady. That being said, take a look at his rankings among Rangers all time.
At Bats: First
Runs Scored: Second (Needs 40, will get it in 2011.)
Doubles: Second (Needs five for first, will get it in 2011.)
Games Played: Third (Needs 65 for first, will get it in 2011.)
Total Bases: Fourth
Batting AVG: Ninth
Barring injury, he will lead the Rangers, all-time, in six major categories by the end of this season.
The Rangers are young (no pun intended). Their starting shortstop is 22 (Andrus). Their closer is 22 (Feliz). Their starting first baseman is 25. Center field is 25 (Borbon). Second base is 28 (Kinsler). Left field is 29 (Hamilton).
Having a guy who has been there before is invaluable in a club house full of potentially budding stars. His experience will come in handy during a long season in which the unexpected is commonplace.
This might seem like a childish one, but the Rangers need to keep Young in town just to show the rest of the team who is in charge. If Michael Young, arguably the organizations best player, can't tell them what to do, then no one will cop an attitude.
This is especially important for Ryan and the new regime. They must assert their control. They have to show the team they will not be toyed with. Whether Young was dealt with as dishonestly as he claims is unclear, but regardless, the Rangers stood fast and refused to move him for a discount.
For the time being, expect Young to stay a Ranger, and to continue to do Texas proud.