DALLAS — Even though Michael Young had become known as the Face of the Texas Rangers, he knew it was time to go.
The Rangers started making that clear around Thanksgiving, when they informed Young through his agent Dan Lozano that the club’s all-time hits leader would get somewhere in the neighborhood of 300 at-bats in 2013.
Young was OK with that, as long as he would have a chance to earn more by performing well. When it didn’t look like that would be the case, Young was ready to move on if the right situation arose.
That situation came about during the winter meetings last week in Nashville with the Philadelphia Phillies. The deal was closed Sunday as the Rangers sent Young, 36, and approximately $10 million to Philadelphia in exchange for right-handers Josh Lindblom and Lisalverto Bonilla.
Getting a chance to be the everyday third baseman for the Phillies was the opportunity Young was looking for, once he knew that it would be okay with his wife and three children.
“Baseball was easy,” said Young at a news conference Monday. “I wanted to go. I don’t mean that to be harsh at all. It was a great opportunity in Philly. Having an opportunity to move from one great team to another one, I was ready. I was ready for it to be a challenge.”
And he was ready for the playing time at one position, something that hasn’t been the case since 2010 when he was the team’s third baseman. Young hit .277 this year for the Rangers in 611 at-bats and has been an everyday player since 2002.
Young was okay with getting 300 at-bats because he felt like he could get another 300 with his play. But he never got the assurance from the Texas front office that was a possibility.
“I was ready to earn my at-bats,” Young said. “At that point, the chance to work for those at-bats wasn’t going to be provided. That’s just the way they (the Rangers) were going to go. That was fine. They have to do what’s best for the Rangers. That’s when Philly started making more and more sense.”
Young talked Monday about his love for his teammates, his coaches and the Texas fans. That wasn’t the case for the front office. Young said he talked to manager Ron Washington Sunday when the trade became official but hasn’t talked to another member of the front office since his name started surfacing in trade talks.
As for his relationship with the front office?
“There’s no relationship there but that’s fine with me,” Young said.
That doesn’t mean he won’t miss his time with Texas. Young lauded his teammates and the coaches that he’s played and worked with over his 12 years in Texas. He’s proud of where the organization has come from since he started with the team in 2000. He also admitted he’s made mistakes, like the way he handled his trade demands when the club moved him from shortstop to third base following the 2008 season. As for his trade demands when the team made him a super utility player following 2010? He wouldn’t change that.
Despite some of the ups and downs, Young sounded appreciative of his time in Texas.
“It starts and ends with my teammates but obviously what I’ve been able to have here with the fans in Texas is really special,” Young said. “I don’t take that for granted. It’s a fan base that saw every inning I had in the big leagues. There’s no hiding it. I’m going to miss that.”