Monday, March 14, 2011

The Continuing Saga of Michael Young

According to this report, the Texas Rangers are still trying to trade Michael Young and still asking a lot for him. If you've read the posts in this space for any length of time, you already know this Fan's position on Young's "demands." But just in case you haven't, the feeling here is that Young has 16 million good reasons to just shut up and do whatever job the Rangers ask him to do. But saying that and getting all that out of the way, the question still comes down to whether the Rangers are better off with or without Michael Young. And that question is evolving.

When the spring started, it was thought here that the Rangers were better off with Young than without him. Since they did not resign Vladimir Guerrero, they needed a proven bat to man the DH position and Young is a proven bat. He's no longer a proven glove and his bat isn't as good as Vlad's was last year, but considering the alternatives, Young seemed like a good fit at DH. He has some Texas power (yeah, it doesn't translate to the road) and he's got a lot of hits in his career. But after watching the Rangers this spring and looking at their albeit meaningless stats thus far, Young's contributions seem to be less necessary.

For one, Chris Davis is knocking the snot out of the ball this spring. And yeah, it's the third straight spring he's done that. And for the past two seasons, he could not carry that success into the season. In fact, his start to the 2010 season was downright disastrous. But perhaps this is the year that Davis can carry his spring into the season and be the type of major league hitter Texas has always thought he could be.

For another, Mike Napoli has been crushing the ball too. Napoli's addition to the club seems to be what pushed Young over the edge. And perhaps the threat of Napoli foraging into Young's at bats seems to be a real possibility. Against right-handed pitching, Napoli has to be in the line up if this spring (and his past history) is any indication.

The real problem for the Rangers is the injury to Adrian Beltre. Beltre hasn't played at all this spring and has a history of injuries. The Rangers paid a ton of money for the guy based on Beltre's unbelievable season last year for the Red Sox. While it's ironic that Young has had to fill in at third for the injured player that was signed to take his place, heck, again, the Fan says that Young is getting paid a lot of money to do whatever the Rangers ask him to do. But Chris Davis can also play third, so it's not overly important to keep Young around for Beltre-insurance.

Young has told his teammates that he won't be a distraction. And Young's history of whining in the off season but being a pro during the season has historical relevance. But it's still possible for the Rangers to dupe some team to give them a decent prospect or two in exchange for Young. It doesn't seem likely at this point, but it's still a possibility. The Fan once thought that the Rangers would be weaker without Young. But that feeling is melting a bit. A return of Adrian Beltre would erase the feeling completely.

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