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The Michael Young Question



    The reality of the Rangers' expulsion from the playoffs should have pretty well set in by now, which leaves you with a few different ways to occupy your time. 

    You could turn your hopes toward the Cowboys, but that's a decidedly dicey proposition for those not looking to get their hearts stomped on twice. You could watch the rest of the teams battle for the World Series, which offers its own kinds of potential pain, or just ignore baseball completely, but we've got a different suggestion. 

    Start thinking about next year. It promises to be a pretty interesting offseason around these parts. Josh Hamilton, Mike Napoli and Ryan Dempster are all free agents, with Hamilton's story looking as juicy and unpredictable as ever after the terrible end to his season. Nelson Cruz or Elvis Andrus could be traded as part of a move to clear space for Jurickson Profar and it feels like the Rangers could be players for a little more certainty at the front of the rotation. 

    And then there's Michael Young. He's got one more year at $13 million left on his contract, which is quite a princely sum for the guy with the lowest Wins Above Replacement in baseball -- from getting an MVP vote to the league's least valuable player -- this season. Young will probably be better next season, if only because he can't be much worse, but it's impossible to believe the Rangers can't do better. 

    Trading him isn't a likely choice because of his salary, whether the Rangers or another team would be paying it, and his ability to veto trades. Cutting him doesn't make much sense until you know whether or not he's totally finished, so you're left with him on the roster. You could deal with that in a bench role, starting once or twice a week against lefties, but such a role doesn't seem possible. 

    Long after it was obvious that Profar, Mike Olt or anyone with a pulse was worth a look over Young, Ron Washington kept writing Young's name into the lineup. That kind of loyalty is a big part of the reason why Washington's players like playing (and, by extension, playing well) for him. 

    If Young's on the team, Washington's going to keep playing him and the Rangers could find themselves in straits nearly as dire as the ones Young traveled this season. For a team that gave up wins they sorely needed by sticking with Young this year, that's a dangerous choice.