From the Windup is FanHouse's extended look at a particular portion of America's pastime.
Michael Young's time with the Texas Rangers has been punctuated by him making personal sacrifices to help better the team. After years as a good second baseman for the team with both the stick and the glove, he didn't have a problem when he was asked to move to shortstop in the wake of the Alex Rodriguez trade and the subsequent arrival of Alfonso Soriano. Sure, Young's offensive numbers didn't quite stand out at short quite like they did at second base, but it was about the team, not Michael Young
Since his move he's won a Gold Glove and has been named to the AL All-Star team five times. Well, now the Rangers would like him to make another sacrifice and move from shortstop to third base so they can make room for prospect Elvis Andrus. Only this time Young isn't down, and he's told the Rangers he's stood all he can stand and that he can't stand no more. He wants to be traded.
So where are the Rangers going to send him?
Before any deal can be worked out there are quite a few obstacles standing in general manager Jon Daniels' way. First of all, there's the fact that everybody in the world knows that Young wants to be traded. There's also the matter of the no-trade clause in Young's contract.
Oh yes, there's the contract itself as well -- an $80 million extension Young signed with the Rangers back in 2007 that runs through 2013. The Rangers still owe Young $62 million over the next five seasons, and any team that takes him in a trade also takes on that contract.
All of which will make it very hard to move Young, at the very least, if the Rangers want fair value. Just ask the Padres how easy it is to trade a player that wants to be moved, has told the world he wants to be moved, has a small list of teams he's willing to go to and a pretty hefty contract extension.
If the Rangers are going to try and meet Michael's demands, where are they going to trade him to? We don't know which teams exactly are on Young's list, but we can gauge which teams would be interested in adding his services.Twins
The Twins actually contacted the Rangers back in December about Young to see if there was any interest in making a deal, and whether Young would waive his no-trade clause to go to Minnesota. Nobody knows for sure how serious the talks got, but we do know that the Twins re-signed Nick Punto to play shortstop and are interested in finding a third baseman.
They missed out on Casey Blake, and though they still may be interested in Seattle's Adrian Beltre, it is possible that they could simply trade for Young and move Punto to third base instead. Odds are if the Rangers are going to trade Young they're going to want some young pitching in return, and the Twins have plenty of that.
The problem here, though, is that the Twins aren't exactly the kind of team that just takes on $62 million in salary, so if the Rangers were to make a deal, they'd likely have to swallow a ton of Young's remaining contract.Angels
The Angels always seem to be looking for another bat to add to their lineup, and though Young won't make up for the power production lost with Mark Teixeira, he'd still be a valuable weapon near the top of the Halos lineup. Still, there are problems here as well.
While the Angels do have the money to take on Young's contract and the young prospects that may interest the Rangers, they play in the same division. If the Angels are going to pry Young away from Arlington, they're likely going to have to overpay for him. That's not likely to happen when you consider that Mike Scioscia would probably be just as happy with a middle infield of Howie Kendrick and Erick Aybar.White Sox
There was a report in the Chicago Tribune last weekend that the White Sox and Rangers had been talking about a possible Michael Young-Jermaine Dye swap, but Kenny Williams quickly dismissed the deal as something not even worth the time to dismiss because it was so ludicrous. Of course, that's exactly the kind of thing Kenny Williams would say when he's trying to work on a deal.
Something tells me that the Rangers would want more than just Dye for Young, though, and who exactly that would be from the Sox organization I don't know. I guess Josh Fields could fit, but that would leave the White Sox with a hole at third base themselves, meaning they'd probably use Young there and creating the same problem he had in Texas.
Still, Ozzie Guillen has said many times that Young is his favorite current player, and he may be pushing his general manager to bring him into the fold, so who knows?Braves
The Braves got burned by Rafael Furcal earlier this winter when they thought they had signed him to a contract only to see him turn around and re-sign with the Dodgers, so they could still be interested in finding a new shortstop, especially now that they seem to have filled out their rotation with the signing of Derek Lowe.
Of course, whether or not they'd be willing to part with Jo-Jo Reyes -- who the Rangers would likely want in return in any deal for Young -- is another story. Reyes figures to be a key part of the Atlanta rotation while the team waits for Tim Hudson to return from Tommy John surgery.
Plus there's the fact that the Braves have already spent quite a bit of money this offseason and likely won't want to add Young's contract without the Rangers taking on a large portion of it.Mets
The Mets would love to bring in Young and have him play second base alongside Jose Reyes and David Wright to give them one of the best defensive infields in the league, but before they bring him on, along with his contract, they're going to have to do something with Luis Castillo. If you think the Rangers will have a tough time moving Young, try moving Castillo and his contract. The fact that the Mets are still likely to sign a pitcher in free agency makes a Young trade unlikely.Yankees
Hey, why not? They've signed everybody else this winter and apparently have more money than God, so they could conceivably bring in Young and have him play second base, while sending Robinson Cano to Texas with Melky Cabrera and a young pitcher. I don't think this has any chance of happening, but when you consider that the Yankees would probably be the only team willing to take on all of Young's contract, the Rangers may just take what they can get.
Of course, these aren't the only options for the Rangers, but all the rest that I could think of are nothing more than swaps of huge contracts or deals that really don't make sense for anyone involved. They certainly didn't help the Rangers and they're not going to move Young to the detriment of the team.
That's why I think that, in the end, when Texas' season starts, Michael Young will still be in a Rangers uniform. There's just no way the Rangers are going to be able to get enough in return for Young to justify trading him. Now whether or not he actually ends up playing third for them is another story. Elvis Andrus has been invited to spring training, but he hasn't been handed the starting shortstop job and will be expected to compete for it like anybody else.
Once Young starts to realize that a trade just isn't likely to happen, he'll probably relent a little bit on his stance and move to third if the team still wants him to. A few months from now this will probably all turn out to be much ado about nothing.
From The Windup: What Are Rangers Going to Do With Michael Young? originally appeared on MLB Main on Thu, 15 Jan 2009 08:00:00 EST . Please see our terms for use of feeds.