When Nolan Ryan is a big name in your franchise's history, and present, it says quite a bit if you're referred to as "Mr. Ranger." Ask Michael Young. He'll tell you.
Young, before accepting a trade to Philadelphia on Saturday, had spent his entire big-league career in Arlington and is the all-time hits leader in franchise history. He's played second base, he's played shortstop, he's played third base. Heck, he's played first base, and he's been a full-time designated hitter. He's literally done it all.
He's had public spats with the Rangers' front office prior to the 2011 season when he was pushing for a trade and he's put his personal issues aside to take care of business, as he had a career year in 2011.
He galvanized the clubhouse when Rangers manager Ron Washington admitted to using cocaine in 2010 and "went to bat" for his manager, which is probably a huge reason why Washington showed undying loyalty to Young, even when he probably shouldn't have.
So perhaps Washington said it best in a conference call after the weekend trade went through, saying that "if there was crying in baseball," referencing the movie A League of Their Own, he'd probably cry.
That's how much Young has meant to the Rangers in his 13 years in the Rangers' organization.
But the time is now for the Rangers, and for Young, to move on. While that sucks, that's the reality of the business. And make no mistake, it is a business. It's a business the Rangers' front office has a responsibility to keep fresh and that's why this deal went down.
Young wasn't going to see regular playing time for the Rangers in 2013. It just wasn't in the cards. Jurickson Profar is ready to roll, and he'll be the starting second baseman in April. Elvis Andrus is perhaps the new face of the franchise at shortstop, and third base is locked down by the Rangers' best player, Adrian Beltre. With Profar's ascent, there's been talk of Ian Kinsler moving to first base, which would take away all of Young's possibilities in the field. The DH at-bats won't be there either, as they'll rotate at that position among their crowded outfield and to give breathers to some of those infielders from time to time.
In Philadelphia, Young will start at third base and get everyday at-bats. So yeah, it's a win-win situation for both parties and keep in mind the trade would not have gone down if Young didn't want it to since he had to approve thanks to his 10/5 rights (10 years in MLB, 5 with one team).
So everyone can be happy here, once Rangers fans get over the initial sadness. The Rangers win, and Young wins.
And just remember, no one remembers that Emmitt Smith played for the Cardinals. It'll be OK.