My kids call this the greatest weather they’ve ever seen, while others insist it’s the worst winter weather to ever hit North Texas. The fact that the ice is starting to thaw today means different things to different people. And against that backdrop, I gather the following from the last 12 or 15 hours:
? Troy E. Renck (Denver Post) reports that while the Rangers haven’t spoken to the Rockies regarding Michael Young since the Winter Meetings, Colorado’s “desire for the player is clear,” and the Rockies are “ready if [the] Rangers want to talk.” The key impediment to any deal, should Texas revive talks, would apparently be that the Rangers “would have to eat a huge chunk of money, which they are currently not interested in doing.” Renck suggested via Twitter that Texas would have to agree to subsidize the remaining $48 million of Young’s contract with at least $18-20 million — though the amount of cash would surely be dependent in part on what player(s) Colorado would put into the deal. Renck believes that infielder Jose Lopez would go to Texas in the trade — and possibly released by Texas before the season started — but that the Rockies are unwilling to include righthander Aaron Cook (though “that’s subject to change”). Hard-throwing 25-year-old righthander Esmil Rogers has been mentioned, too.
? A Renck tweet this morning: “Here’s why think Young deal will happen w Rox or someone else. There’s motivation from a lot of parties. That’s when trades get done.”
? Renck put some stock in a tweet by Jon Heyman (Sports Illustrated) that suggested Vladimir Guerrero’s deal with Baltimore could solidify Young’s role as the Texas DH, making Mike Napoli a backup catcher. But the Rangers didn’t just trade Frankie Francisco for someone to compete with Matt Treanor for number two catcher duties.
? Then Ken Rosenthal (Fox Sports) got in on the fun this morning, reporting that Texas is in fact talking to the Rockies (and only the Rockies) about Young, and that, “according to one source, the talks have reached an advanced stage, and a deal could be in place as soon as Monday.” Rosenthal does note, however, according to other sources, that the Rockies “are confused by the Rangers’ ‘mixed messages.'”
So do you know where I stand on all of this?
Because I don’t.
I’m not going to speculate on what would happen in the clubhouse if Young is traded — or, hell, if he isn’t — until something goes down, or until it looks reasonably certain that nothing will.
You all know my stance on the leadership thing. Many of you put a lot less stock in it than I do. (Some of you, on the other hand, make an even bigger deal of it than I do.) As I spent far too much time getting into on Twitter in the wee hours last night, I don’t consider it the most important aspect of any team (far from it), but it is a factor, in my opinion, especially over 162, and triple-especially on a team that expects to contend.
And for me, Michael Young’s greatest asset, at this stage of his career, is his leadership. That’s not to say he’s no longer a contributor between the lines. It’s to say he means a lot to this team in terms of the edge it plays with, its resiliency, its even keel, its refusal to back down. And there are new issues created now that it’s a team that’s won a pennant.
Does that make him indispensable?
Nope. No player is.
But while one way to respond to failing to land an ace is to make your pitching better by adding defense, the only acceptable way to address a subtraction in leadership is to have a new leader step forward. I’m not going to take the time to get into the specifics of that issue here, and now, but it concerns me. If Young is traded, particularly in what will appear to his teammates to be a salary dump, what player is going to step up and see to it that his teammates don’t go to Surprise perpetuating, embracing, rallying around some form of disconnect?
Young would be that guy, were he not the subtraction.
Again, this is always about team for me. Not about any one player.
My allegiance to Young is no secret, but it has nothing to do with the fact that he’s played catch with my kid. Young’s character, and the important times it has revealed itself, after losing streaks and after big wins with big games to play the next day and after confessions by the manager and after a shelling of Tommy Hunter early in the game and after moments and incidents none of us will ever know about, are part of the reason I’m a Michael Young guy and, more importantly for the purposes of what I’m trying to say here, part of the reason that I think Texas played in the World Series in 2010 and can be counted on to be in the mix to return for a foreseeable number of baseball seasons.
OK, but at this point, if Young wants out and isn’t traded, couldn’t that be a problem in the room in its own right? Can’t rule that out.
I don’t know what I hope happens here. It feels sort of like there’s no truly positive outcome at this point. Which leaves me simply hoping for resolution to replace speculation.
But to revert to a point I tried to make a few paragraphs up, my allegiance in any of these debates is more to the team than to any one player (or any one executive). If it makes the Texas Rangers better, that’s where you’ll find my vote.
And as this icy mess seems like it’s about to thaw, that’s what I suppose I’ll ask myself if and when the Rangers trade Young: Whether it made the team better.
And I don’t mean at DH and backup infielder.