At this time last year, former Chicago Cubs general manager Jim Hendry was exploring the option of trading for Michael Young, the Texas Rangers' second baseman. In the end, the Rangers decided to not trade their star second baseman, who was beginning the process of becoming a designated hitter.
The Rangers once again had a great season, making the World Series, but they lost—again. That raises the question of whether they will be exploring the possibility of moving Young once again.
If they do, Theo Epstein should come calling.
If the Rangers do look to explore options for Young, the Cubs should be one of the first teams to request his services. While Young's age (35) does pose a problem, if the Cubs make the other right moves, he may be a great help in making the Cubs instant winners.
The Cubs' second baseman last year was Darwin Barney.
Barney did a satisfactory job for what was expected of him, but he is definitely replaceable. Without a doubt, Young is an upgrade. Perhaps it isn't Barney whom the Cubs need Young to replace.
Over his career, Young has played 333 games at third base. With that in mind, the Cubs could look to add Young as their new third baseman. That way, they could keep options at second open, with players such as Barney or whomever else the Cubs may choose to pursue in their future.
Epstein could greatly benefit his team by adding a guy like Young.
He is a veteran and a proven player, and he is definitely better than any other potential third baseman on the market not named Aramis Ramirez. Since it is likely that the Cubs will not offer Ramirez the kind of money he is looking for, it is imperative that they replace him as soon as they can.
The difficult part is that Young will not come cheap. He is also making $16 million in 2012, and the Cubs would be looking for the Rangers to perhaps eat up some of that money, or make a deal that washes out the extra costs.
After he hit a career high of .338 in 2011, the Rangers will likely be asking for something pretty big in return. One would imagine they would initially ask for Starlin Castro, but the Cubs would not pull the trigger on that deal.
Instead, everyone else on the roster is pretty much up for grabs, and a combination of prospects and cash should work.
It would be tough to give up on a star prospect like Brett Jackson, and it would be hard to imagine Epstein approving that type of deal. Instead, pieces like Andrew Cashner and Marlon Byrd with prospects could make a deal happen.
Perhaps the Rangers would even be interested in Alfonso Soriano for their DH role. That is, as long as the Cubs are willing to eat up a lot of his contract.
It isn't clear-cut on what the Cubs' position will be on Young going into this offseason, but considering his increased stats and age, the Rangers may be looking to sell him at the highest possible price before his value could go down again.
If the Cubs were to acquire him, hopefully the Rangers' potential worries wouldn't come true.
Jeff Chase is from Chicago and is an undergrad at Arizona State University. He currently is interning with B/R and is in process of becoming a Featured Columnist for Arizona State football.
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