Michael Young asks Texas to explore trade possibilities.

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Don’t expect me to
hatch any trade ideas, as I might have done under similar circumstances in past
situations.

 

Don’t expect me to
weigh in on yours if you email them to me.

 

Don’t
expect me to be objective about Michael Young. 
Ever.

 

Yes,
I read the Ken Rosenthal report just a couple hours ago.  And the beat reporters who have now all
blogged and reported on it.  I heard Jon
Daniels and Ron Washington address the situation, confirming the gist of the
Rosenthal story – that Michael Young has asked the club to explore trade possibilities
for him after Daniels and Washington (with Nolan Ryan on the same page)
approached him before the holidays about an immediate transition to third base -
and a thousand thoughts rushed to mind, none of them clear, even though I (and probably
Michael) knew this day would come, soon.

 

The
idea, Daniels said, was that the organization intends to get as many of its
championship-caliber players on the field at the same time – and moving Young
to a position that would allow 20-year-old defensive whiz Elvis Andrus to
settle in at shortstop would be the best way to achieve that – and based on
where Andrus’s development is, the belief is that he’s either ready to do that
now, or at least ready to be pushed.

 

Because
here’s the thing – this has to happen now, or a year from now.  Unless Young or Andrus is traded.

 

This
is from the Andrus feature in the 2009 Bound Edition:

 

While Andrus does many things well, it’s
unquestionable that to maximize his value, he needs to play shortstop.  Every day. 
Moving Soriano to the outfield would have been possible to do during the
season (cf., Mark Teixeira, Adrian Gonzalez, German Duran).  Moving Michael Young to another infield
position — whether it would also involve a position switch for Kinsler — is
something that would need to happen in an off-season.  Settling in at a new infield position
involves too many different actions, too much nuance, to attempt to tackle with
a series of hour-long pregame fungo sessions.

 

So is Andrus ready now?  If so, do you approach Young this winter,
fresh off his first Gold Glove, about a position switch?   If not, you have to be prepared to wait a
full year before breaking Andrus in . . . .

 

When
the club felt Chris Davis was ready, he was here, in the middle of the season.  But you can’t ask Young to move in the middle
of a season, and so unless the determination is that Andrus will play on the farm
another full year, transitioning Young to third now makes sense.  Even if Andrus proves in camp he isn’t quite ready,
I suppose the idea would be to roll with a short-term shortstop (the equivalent
of Ben Broussard or Chris Shelton, though hopefully with better results) until
whatever point in time Andrus, like Davis in 2008, tells the organization with
his development that he’s ready.

 

Alex
Rodriguez was not quite 19 when he reached the big leagues.  Jose Reyes debuted a day before he turned 20.  Derek Jeter was a month short of his 21st
birthday, Edgar Renteria three months short. 
Hanley Ramirez and Jimmy Rollins, each a few months short of turning 22.  They were pushed by their clubs, and responded.

 

But
this isn’t about Andrus, of course.  It’s
all but a consensus that he’s going to play shortstop in the big leagues for a
very long time, starting soon.  The issue
is what “soon” means, leading to the bigger issue, and that is how to handle
the situation with the heart and soul of the franchise, when he’s reluctant to
change positions right now, when it’s a move that, as of mid-December and also tonight,
he clearly doesn’t agree with.

 

Daniels
in particular went on and on about Young’s leadership and character, about how
much respect he has for Young personally, on the field and in the clubhouse and
in the community – and how a big part of the team’s long-term commitment to him
22 months ago was his team-first approach and how, because it’s Young, the team
would not issue an ultimatum like the Nationals did to Alfonso Soriano three
years ago (change positions or we’ll suspend you).

 

What
Daniels is counting on is that this gets resolved before spring training.  That Young, drawing on some of that
team-first attitude, buys into the plan. 

 

But
another way it could be resolved is by a trade. 
And while Daniels said Young has not “demanded” a trade, he acknowledged
that Young asked the club to explore the possibility, that there is interest
around the league – though no team has proposed an idea that Daniels says makes
sense for the Rangers, and that he’ll continue to look at trade options.  Young, according to Rosenthal, has given Texas “a small list of teams
for which he would waive his no-trade clause” – and would consider returning to
second base if traded.

 

Still,
Daniels says, the ideal resolution is for Young to play third base for the
Texas Rangers in 2009.  Willingly.

 

Because
having an unhappy Michael Young in the room is not a good thing, not with the respect
he commands, the example and the tone he sets, the impression he can make on a growing
team with his attitude and leadership and actions and pride. 

 

What
worries me is that other teams may get enough of an impression that Texas is in a corner now
that they’ll offer less than fair value for him, possibly putting the Rangers
in a position of choosing between an unattractive trade and an unhappy leader.

 

Solution:
Get multiple teams involved, taking away the leverage that one team clearly more
interested than everyone else thinks it has.

 

No,
the better solution: Bygones.  I
desperately want Young and the Rangers to be on the same page here.

 

I’m
done reading stories online tonight, done reading message boards, done thinking
about where this thing is headed.  This is
one of those reports where, a minute after I hit “send,” three things will
instantly occur to me that I should have included.  I’ll wake up in six hours with another half a
dozen thoughts I wish I’d had before finishing this report.  But this cloud of mild shock that I feel
right now is something I didn’t want to dissipate before I wrote. 

 

I
get the chance to read to my son’s class tomorrow morning, and that couldn’t
come at a better time for me.

 

I
don’t know how I’m going to feel if and when Michael Young, who is a role model
to me and a hero to my kids, which makes us no different from thousands of
others around here, is traded to another baseball team. 

 

Don’t
expect me to sort that out ahead of time.

 

You can read more from Jamey Newberg at www.NewbergReport.com.

 

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