“The Face” Becomes “The Story”

Michael Young.jpg
                                   “The Face” of the Texas Rangers

It’s amazing what a World Series appearance does for a team on the national stage. Just in the past week alone, two of the top stories in baseball have been “The War of Words” between Rangers owner Chuck Greenberg and the Yankees and “The Michael Young Trade”. I don’t remember the Rangers ever getting this much oress from the national media in January. Heck, I don’t even remember the Rangers getting this much press in January from the LOCAL media!

I really don’t know if the Rangers are getting ready to trade Michael Young or not. What I DO know is that NONE of the speculation being reported by national writers and broadcasters has come from the Rangers side!

The story first cropped up during the Winter Meetings and was quickly quashed as just names being brought up as they always are when possible trades are discussed. Hey, if you don’t ask about someone you’ll never know, right?

It came up again the day the Rangers signed Adrian Beltre to a 6-year contract and announced that Young would, in 2011, become the Rangers primary DH and play a “Super Utility” role on the Rangers infield. Young said it wasn’t an ideal situation for him, but he was a Ranger through and through and was willing to make the move, with the hope of becoming a fulltime field player again in the future.

“The Story” took on a life of its own, however, the day the Rangers traded Frank Francisco to the Blue Jays for Mike Napoli. As I stated in a post at the time, I didn’t see it as a threat to Young. I saw it as a great way to give the Rangers incredible versatility in their line-up on a day to day basis, as a platoon first baseman, a DH when Young plays the field and a catcher if one of the other two catchers went down with an injury.

Harold Reynolds of MLB TV was the first of the national media I heard chime in that day, saying Young should now DEMAND a trade because there was no reason to obtain Napoli except to take at bats away from Young. Since then, we have heard a deal with the Rockies is imminent, but then again maybe it isn’t. That maybe the Rockies aren’t the only ones in the mix for Young, that he could go to the A’s… or the Angels… or the Blue Jays… or the Dodgers!

The only way trading Michael Young makes sense is if 1) he demanded a trade; 2) if they don’t deal him by May, Young becomes a 10-5 player who can veto ANY trade if he so desires; and 3) if they either get a frontline starting pitcher in return or a DH who can equal his 20+ HR’s and 90 RBI in the offense.

The reasons a Young trade DON’T make sense are 1) Young is the Rangers bona fide leader on the field, an intangible that could have a disastrous effect on the clubhouse; 2) every piece of media speculation indicates the Rangers would have to add dollars to the deal to help the other team offset Young’s $16 million salary over the next 3 years, which means any deal would make little financial sense; and 3) if they don’t get a frontline pitcher or replacement DH, as most reports indicate they won’t, the Rangers won’t be improving the team, which GM Jon Daniels says is the goal of every deal the Rangers make.

Replacing Young with Napoli straight up at the DH slot doesn’t add up. Young routinely is in the line-up for 600+ AB’s every year, while Napoli’s only had a high of 453, which was last year. He also hit only .238 last year. Platooning Napoli with David Murphy at DH? Maybe, but then the Rangers lose the versatility the line-up has right now with Young still on the team.

Maybe Young is unhappy. Maybe he does want a trade. The thing is, in all the reports making the news these days, who are we not hearing from at all? Young and the Rangers, that’s who.

The Rangers have become famously tight-lipped over the past two years. Cliff Lee? Everyone assumed he was going to be a Yankee at mid-season last year until the Rangers came in and got him. Adrian Beltre? Assumed to be an Angel, until the day before the Rangers announced his signing. January’s trade for Napoli? Not on ANYONE’s radar in the national media.

As for Young? Maybe he learned a lesson when he publicly demanded a trade when he was first asked to move to third base to make way for Elvis Andrus and is keeping his feelings private. But maybe not. Have any of these reports indicated the writer has even bothered to ask Young what he thinks about it or what he knows? Not a one. If they had, they would at least say something along the lines of, “Young declined to comment on the matter.”

Here’s what HAS been said. Michael Young has stated he wants to remain a Ranger for the rest of his career. Ron Washington says Michael Young is the straw that stirs the Rangers coffee. Jon Daniels says the Rangers have no plans to deal Young this year. Nolan Ryan says Michael Young is going to be the Rangers DH at the Season Opener against the Red Sox on April 1st.

Until I see something actually happen, I think I’ll trust the words from that last paragraph before I trust any of the others I’ve read and heard lately.

1 Comment

Sometimes the face of the franchise has to move on. Rays fans got that reality check for most of 2010 knowing that Carl Crawford would pack up his cleats and play elsewhere in 2011.
Some times the moment just makes itself avaliable, then things snowball into reality. Young has been a tremendous ambassador for the Rangers much like what Chipper Jones has meant to the Braves.
Maybe a change of venue will not only spark the Rangers, but Young’snext team as he begins another chapter, and could possibly become another face of the franchise beyond the Texas border.

Rays Renegade
http://raysrenegade.mlblogs.com

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