Michael Young, saying he is “sick” of the way the Texas Rangers are treating him, confirmed his request to be traded from the reigning American League champs Monday but disputed the team’s version of events.
Rangers team president Nolan Ryan and general manager Jon Daniels, speaking earlier Monday on a conference call with reporters, said Young, one of the most popular players in the franchise’s history, “changed” his mind after initially agreeing to be a designated hitter and super-utility player after the signing of third baseman Adrian Beltre.
Young, in an interview with FOXSports.com on Monday night, said his thought process was not nearly that simple and hinted at a wider rift with Daniels.
“The suggestion that I had a change of heart and asked for a trade is a manipulation of the truth,” Young said. “I asked for a trade because I’ve been misled and manipulated and I’m sick of it.
“Other than that, I’m not going to reveal any details about how this process unfolded. It’s not my nature to start blasting people publicly when I don’t think it’s necessary. I don’t think it’s fair or productive for anybody, particularly my teammates and coaching staff.
"But at the end of the day, I know the truth. And so does JD (Daniels).”
Daniels declined to comment when informed of Young’s remarks.
Young accepted a move from third base to a primary DH role after the Rangers, who made the first World Series in team history in 2010, signed Beltre to a five-year, $80 million contract in early January. His stance appeared to change after the Rangers obtained Mike Napoli late last month.
Napoli, like Young, is a right-handed hitter. He plays two of Young’s positions, first base and DH, as well as catcher. But Young said he never was entirely comfortable with becoming a DH, or with the Rangers’ handling of the matter.
“To suggest that there was just a couple of weeks off and I had a change of heart in terms of what position I wanted to play is inaccurate,” Young said.
“I’ll be the first to admit that I was not particularly keen on the idea of being a DH. But I did agree to do it. I wanted to put the team first. I wanted to be a Ranger. But in light of events that happened in the process, I got pushed into a corner one too many times. I couldn’t take it anymore.”
Was the Napoli trade the final push?
“It wasn’t one specific thing,” Young said. “It had nothing to do with any other players. I certainly don’t want to drag other players into this. It’s not fair to them. It’s not necessarily important to reveal the details. I know how this thing unfolded.”
The Rangers first began exploring trading Young at the winter meetings in December, at a time when they viewed the signing of Beltre as an alternative if they failed to re-sign ace Cliff Lee.
Various club officials since have said publicly that Young would be with the team on Opening Day, but the team privately continued to entertain trade possibilities, most notably with the Rockies.
Young said the continued trade talks were “unexpected” but not upsetting.
“I’m not going to sit here and say I’m above anything in that sense,” Young said. “It’s the business of baseball. People explore their options. In no way do I feel I’m above that.”
Young went through a similar experience in 2009, asking the Rangers to trade him after they requested that he move to third base to accommodate rookie shortstop Elvis Andrus. Young rescinded his demand just days later, agreeing to the change.
This time, he said, would be different.
“That’s not going to happen again,” Young said. “That was about baseball. That was a situation where I looked around . . . and moved on.
"This has been a long time coming based on things that occurred off the field. I’m sick of it. It hit a point where I felt it was unfair to me and my family.”
Does he think a trade will happen?
“Yeah, I do,” Young said. “It’s disappointing that it came to this. I would have hoped for this thing to have been hammered out behind closed doors. But in light of today’s events, it wasn’t going to happen.
“I’m going to focus on getting ready for a productive 2011. Anything outside of that is completely outside of my hands, out of my control. But I do think something will happen.”
And if it doesn’t, and Young is still with the team at the start of spring training?