SURPRISE, AZ - FEBRUARY 26: Michael Young of the Texas Rangers on February 26, 2004 in Surprise, Arizona. (Photo by MLB Photos)
Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said Sunday night during a hastily called conference call that the team has looked into trade possibilities but remains hopeful Young will remain in Texas.
"Our desire is for Michael to play third base," Daniels said. "Obviously though, he's got to buy into what we're doing."
The Rangers would like to move Young to third to make room for highly touted prospect Elvis Andrus at shortstop. The 20-year-old Andrus came to Texas in July 2007 in the trade that sent Mark Teixeira to Atlanta.
Daniels said he and manager Ron Washington met with the 32-year-old Young last month about the direction of the team and moving to third base.
"Reluctant, reluctant," Daniels said, describing Young's reaction. "He explained to us that he's worked extremely hard to make himself a shortstop. Obviously in 2004, he volunteered to move from second base to shortstop. That kind of shows the team-first character that has been a stable of his personality and really has made himself an outstanding player."
Daniels said he hasn't spoken to Young since before New Year's Day, but has had conversations with the player's agent.
Young switched from second base to shortstop in the spring of 2004 after the Rangers traded Alex Rodriguez to the New York Yankees. Rodriguez moved from shortstop to third to accommodate that trade.
Young has been selected to the All-Star team as a shortstop every season since, and last year earned his first AL Gold Glove award.
He is a career .300 hitter, though his streak of five consecutive 200-hit seasons was snapped in 2008 when he was hampered by a fractured right ring finger the last two months of the season. He was the AL batting champion in 2005 when he hit .331.
Young next season begins the five-year, $80 million contract extension he signed during spring training in 2007 that prevented him from becoming a free agent. Young is due about $62 million over the next five seasons since some of the money was paid as a signing bonus and more is deferred.
That contract was second-largest in team history, behind only the $252 million, 10-year contract Rodriguez got in December 2000.
Young, a minor leaguer when traded from Toronto to Texas in 2000, is the Rangers' longest-tenured player. He played in two games that season and then 106 as a rookie in 2001.
Daniels said there is a "level of interest" from other teams about Young, but that there have been no proposed deals that would make sense for Texas. The GM still is hopeful Young will agree to the switch, something that had been expected during his contract that goes through the 2013 season.
"We are going to continue to talk to him and hope to come to a resolution where he agrees that's the best thing for the club," Daniels said. "We have not reached that point."
Andrus hit .295 with four home runs, 65 RBIs and 56 stolen bases in 118 games for Double-A Frisco last season. He had a .944 fielding average with 32 errors.
The Rangers still have two-time All-Star third baseman Hank Blalock, but he is expected to be the team's primary designated hitter. Blalock was limited to 123 games the last two season by injuries, including problems with his right shoulder. Blalock volunteered last season to move to first base.
Ramon Vazquez started a team-high 60 games at third base last season, and rookie Chris Davis and Blalock each started 31. Davis is expected to be the team's starting first baseman this season.