Nobody puts Michael Young in the corner. At least, that’s what the soon-to-be former Texas Ranger is saying.
In an explosive interview with Ken Rosenthal that hit FoxSports.com around an hour ago, the longest tenured Ranger said he believes a break up is all but inevitable, and he’s ready to burn his bridges in the process. Earlier this winter, the Rangers signed Adrian Beltre to a six-year, $96-million contract, thus unseating Young. The Texas braintrust seemingly agreed to hand Young their starting DH spot, but with Mike Napoli on board, Young saw his playing time disappear.
“To suggest that there was just a couple of weeks off and I had a change of heart in terms of what position I wanted to play is inaccurate,” Young said. “I’ll be the first to admit that I was not particularly keen on the idea of being a DH. But I did agree to do it. I wanted to put the team first. I wanted to be a Ranger. But in light of events that happened in the process, I got pushed into a corner one too many times. I couldn’t take it any more.”
Young, according to MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan, has a list of eight acceptable trade destinations. Although Colorado appears to be the leading landing spot, the Yankees are on the list. So should they augment their collection of 2003 All Stars with one who made the team every year from 2004-2009?
In a vacuum, Young would make sense for the Yanks. Despite the team’s fiscal edge, GM Brian Cashman has struggled to build a viable bench over the past few years. As the club gears up for Spring Training, Ronnie Belliard and the always-injured Eric Chavez will have a chance to win a roster spot. Young is a clear upgrade over anyone else in camp. Furthermore, the Yanks have the financial ability to take on some of Young’s contract. That he is owed $48 million over the next three years is an impediment but not an impossibility.
On the field, it’s tough to tell what sort of season Young will deliver. After hitting .284/.330/.444 with 21 home runs last year, Young may be starting a decline. PECOTA pegs him at .283/.336/.419 for 2011. His defense, meanwhile, has gone from bad to worse, and he’s a well below average defender at any infield position. He wouldn’t be a late-inning defensive replacement, and his ceiling is probably as an average bat off the bench who could spell Alex Rodriguez or Robinson Cano in case of emergency. With that contract, who needs it?
Furthermore, Young obviously wants to go somewhere else due to playing time. He seems to want his 600 at-bats as a DH or infielder, and the Yanks are all stocked up there. Furthermore, the Rangers and Yankees, not exactly on the best of terms these days, would likely have a tough time matching up in trade talks if either party is willing to return the other’s calls.
Until Young is dealt, the Yanks will hover around the periphery of this ensuing drama. I don’t expect a match, though, and I don’t think we want that match to be made either.