Rangers acknowledge attempt to deal Young
The Texas Rangers confirmed Monday what Yahoo! Sports reported Sunday, that they are actively pursuing a trade for Michael Young(notes). The long-time Ranger has grown discontented during an offseason in which the club moved him from third base to a role as designated-hitter and part-time infielder.
Pushed off third by the signing of free agent Adrian Beltre(notes) and put off by the Rangers’ pursuit of designated-hitter candidates Manny Ramirez(notes) and Jim Thome(notes), Young requested a trade about a week ago. According to general manager Jon Daniels, Young initially had signed off on the addition of Beltre, then returned to the club with concerns about playing time and, at 34, being branded as a DH.
However, in his first public comments on the matter, Young expressed dismay at the way the Rangers have handled the situation.
“I think it’s important to address the inaccurate portrayal that is being painted,” he said. “The suggestion that I’ve simply had a change of heart and asked for a trade is a manipulation of the truth. I want to be traded because I’ve been misled and manipulated, and I’m sick of it.”
Young, who debuted with the Rangers in 2000 and in the decade that followed become the de facto captain, contractually can be traded to eight teams, among them the two Los Angeles clubs, Colorado Rockies, St. Louis Cardinals and Minnesota Twins. The Rangers have asked Young to broaden the pool of teams and Young has declined.
He is owed $48 million over the final three years of his contract, further complicating a difficult situation for the Rangers, who have shopped Young in previous offseasons, but never with less leverage.
“Michael has requested a trade,” Daniels said. “It’s not our first choice. But, we understand if Michael has changed his mind … about that role and if we can accommodate his request and upgrade the club we’d like to do that.
“We wish that wasn’t the case. We like our club. We think there’s a pivotal role Michael could play on it.”
Daniels called “premature” a question about whether Young would report to spring training with the rest of the position players, along with the possibility of disruption if the team was publicly trying to move Young during that time.
Team president Nolan Ryan was the last to speak to Young.
“I would think that obviously at this point,” Ryan said, “his mindset is in the best interest of his career and it would probably be better for him to move on.”
He said he told Young that because of the current obstacles – spring training being less than a week away and the existence of the partial no-trade protection – a trade could be difficult.
“I expressed to him I don’t know what we’re going to find with those kinds of restrictions,” he said.
Young apparently soured on a role in which he’d spell players around the infield, including at first base, and be in the lineup as a DH on other days. And, Ryan said, Young would give them insurance were one of the infielders to be injured, which presumably sounded to Young like he was becoming a utility player.
While the Rangers endeavor to trade Young – the Rockies are known to have interest, the Angels have a need at third base and the Cardinals could play him at second – they’d prefer Young to remain with the club.
“My hope would be that it came be repaired,” Daniels said. “I wish it hadn’t come to this.”