Young no longer a fit for Rangers
The Texas Rangers still want to trade Michael Young.
That’s an opinion, not a fact — or, at least, not a fact I can prove.
But connect the dots:
• The Rangers acquired Mike Napoli from the Toronto Blue Jays on Tuesday. Napoli fits at two positions at which the Rangers intend to play Young — first base and DH.
• Young is guaranteed $16 million in each of the next three seasons — an exorbitant sum for a super-utility man and part-time DH.
• In May, Young will become more difficult to trade, attaining the right to veto any deal as a player with 10 years of major-league service, five with the same team.
If the Rangers are so intent on keeping Young, why did they pursue one free-agent DH after another — Jim Thome, Manny Ramirez, Vladimir Guerrero — and then trade for Napoli?
Young will never say it, but he cannot be happy with the recent turn of events, not after accepting the move to DH and saying he would do whatever is best for the club.
The Rangers should trade him, clearing at least some of his money and giving him a chance to continue as a full-time regular at one position, whether it’s with the Rockies, Angels or some other club.
Just last Saturday, manager Ron Washington said at the Rangers’ Fan Fest, “Michael Young is the straw that stirs the drink here in Texas.”
Well, the Rangers sure have a funny way of showing it.
Maybe they will find Young enough at-bats, using him at first against left-handers, DH against right-handers and as an occasional alternative to second baseman Ian Kinsler, shortstop Elvis Andrus and third baseman Adrian Beltre.
Kinsler frequently is injured. Andrus faded in the second half and could benefit from days off. First baseman Mitch Moreland is a rookie, and Napoli might be needed most as a catcher if Yorvit Torrealba and Matt Treanor falter.
That’s the most optimistic scenario for Young, getting playing time here and there. But who knows how Young will adapt to all this? At 34, he is too young to be a part-time first baseman, part-time DH.
The Rangers began talking about trading Young in December, when they started exploring a deal for Beltre. Since then, they’ve signed Beltre to a five-year, $80 million free-agent contract and elicited another team-first position change from Young.
Enough is enough.
Young is a square piece in a round hole.
A trade would not be easy to complete, but the Vernon Wells deal proved that nothing is impossible. The sooner the Rangers act, the better. Once Young gains full veto power in May, the team could be stuck with him. Young keeps saying he does not want to leave.
The Rockies represent the best fit. They wanted Young at the winter meetings. They still view him as a potential answer at second base, according to major-league sources.
The Rangers would need to include cash in such a deal. They would also need to take back Rockies infielder Jose Lopez, who is set to earn
$3.6 million and could assume Young’s super-utility role.
The Angels could be another possibility for Young — their miserable offseason continued Tuesday when Napoli landed with their chief AL West rival. It’s doubtful, though, that the Rangers would want to trade Young within the division.
The bottom line: Young no longer fits with the Rangers. He knows it.
The Rangers know it.
A trade would benefit everyone involved.