Rangers willing to eat about half of Young’s contract, could Phillies be a potential suitor?

Former U.S. president George W. Bush (L) greets Texas Rangers Michael Young (R) before his at-bat against the Los Angeles Angels in the first inning of their MLB baseball game in Arlington, Texas, July 25, 2010. REUTERS/Tim Sharp (UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT BASEBALL POLITICS)

Given Chase Utley’s knee injury, don’t rule out the possibility that the Phillies could make a move for the disgruntled Michael Young, whom the Rangers are still trying to trade.

According to Yahoo Sports! Tim Brown, the Rangers are trying their best to move Young and are “willing to eat about half” of the $48 million that still remains on the infielder’s contract. Brown tweets that Texas is still asking for top-end prospects, but nobody is biting.

Meanwhile, the Phillies have a huge concern on their hands with Utley. There’s a chance that the second baseman will be sidelined for a lengthy period of time, maybe even the season. Seeing as how Jimmy Rollins hasn’t been the picture of perfect health himself over the last couple of years, scooping up a six-time All-Star and a career .300-hitter like Young wouldn’t be a bad move. If the Rangers were willing to eat half of his contract then hey, even better.

In the end, it doesn’t look like Texas will get what it wants for Young and if his situation is going to be a distraction throughout the year, then there’s no sense hanging onto him. I think it was wise of Nolan Ryan and Co. to be patient this spring and let the situation develop. But we’re about a week and a half away from Opening Day and it might be time to press teams in order to see what they’d be willing to give up. Calling someone like the Phillies who could be entering panic mode would be a good start.

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11 MLB Players and Personnel We Would Not Want to Be in 2011

Ah, the week where pitchers and catchers report to camp. It’s scheduled around Valentine’s Day for a reason, you know. It’s the time of year where hope springs eternal and love conquers all, and even if your favorite team doesn’t have a prayer of making the playoffs, it’s still all right to believe that they might make the playoffs. Faith, even blind faith, is a powerful thing, and it is never stronger for a baseball fan than it is right now.

For the people who actually play and manage the game of baseball, however, it is a much, much different story. Some have contract issues to deal with; others have to try and deliver the same numbers they racked up the previous year even when the lineup around them is depleted. Managers have to talk to reporters about taking baby steps with young players, while telling their shrink that they just can’t bear the thought of losing another 95 games. General managers have to find a way to fill that hole, and they all have a hole. Of the hundreds of players, managers, and baseball personnel currently working in the majors today, though, these are the ones we pity the most. (Thanks to the good people at Baseball Reference for their meticulous, endless stream of statistics and bread sticks.)

Vernon Wells

His contract (seven years, $126 million) was considered to be one of the most untradeable contracts in baseball, and his sub par performance after inking said contract only made it seem like an even bigger albatross. (Sports writers like using the word ‘albatross.’ It makes them look well read.) Granted, he broke his wrist in 2008, and dealt with the lingering effects of it in 2009, but no one remembers that; they just remember the numbers, and Wells was once again confirming his reputation as the “Star Trek” movie franchise of baseball players. Last year, wrist fully healed after surgery, Wells had a nice bounce-back year (he ranked 16th among outfielders in one of our points-based fantasy leagues), so you can see why The The Angels Angels of Anaheim, after missing out on Adrian Beltre and Carl Crawford, would view Wells as a worthwhile gamble.

Having said that, Wells is positively boned if he turns in a season less than, or even equal to, his 2010 numbers. Anaheim is taking on nearly all of the money remaining on his contract (a whopping $86 million), and given that the Angels traded Juan Rivera and Mike Napoli in order to get him, Wells will be expected to perform at astronomical levels for the remainder of the contract. Good thing he has his stellar defense to fall back on during the rough patches.

Michael Young

Poor bastard. When the Rangers asked Michael Young to move from second base to shortstop to make room for Alfonso Soriano (who’s now a left fielder, by the way), Young did so. When the Rangers asked Young to move from shortstop – where he had just won his first Gold Glove – to third base in order to make room for Elvis Andrus, Young did so, though a bit more reluctantly than he was the first time. Now the Rangers have signed Adrian Beltre, and they’re asking Young not to play at all; just grab a bat every couple of innings. This is not in Young’s DNA, and Young, understandably, has requested a trade. The Rangers, however, are having a hard time finding a suitor for Young, thanks to his backloaded contract (three years, $48 million), which will make for one awkward clubhouse in a few days.

It’s hard not to feel bad for the guy. He merely signed the contract that the Rangers offered him, and his batting numbers have remained relatively consistent (save for his nine home runs in 2007, though he did knock in 94 runs and steal 13 bases that year). The Rangers are trying to grant his trade wish – they’ve reached out to Colorado and Florida – but everyone in baseball knows the Rangers are stuck, and they’re telling the Rangers they’ll take Young if the Rangers eat the vast majority of his contract. As it stands, it looks as though Young will be a DH and part-time first baseman. As selfless as he’s been in terms of doing what was best for the team, it has to sting that this is how he’s rewarded for his selflessness.

Read the rest after the jump...

Rockies won’t pursue trade for Young

D.J. Short of Hardball Talk writes that the Rockies are no longer interested in Rangers’ DH Michael Young (or at least not at his current price). Colorado had been a potential destination for Young since the winter meetings and when he formally requested a trade earlier this week, the Rockies seemed like a logical fit.

Or not.

Texas Rangers’ Michael Young talks to the media as the Rangers prepare to take on the New York Yankees in the ALCS at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, Texas on October 14, 2010. Game one of the best of seven series will be on October 15, 2010 in Arlington. UPI/Ian Halperin

A major league source tells Troy Renck of the Denver Post that the Rockies are out on Young.

Young’s remaining salary and the Rangers’ demands are two significant reasons why talks have broken down. According to Renck, the Rangers’ demands changed once Vladimir Guerrero agreed to sign with the Orioles. The Rangers are reluctant to simply give Young away, because they feel they don’t have an adequate replacement for him in the lineup. At least that’s what they are saying. It’s still possible that talks could be revived, but a deal between the two teams appears doubtful right now.

Young has been the ultimate Ranger throughout his career but his declining defensive skills and contract are going to make it tough to move him. If Texas hopes to deal him, it may have to eat a lot of his salary. And if that’s the case, why wouldn’t the Rangers just keep him and make him the DH?

Of course, there’s that little problem of Young being upset with the franchise. He’s made it clear that he wants out and the Rangers may not have much choice but to take less for him in a trade? Short also mentions the Dodgers as a possible landing spot, but they too are leery of his defense and salary. The situation doesn’t seem like it’ll be resolved easily.

Young situation in Texas once again proves that sports is a business first

es in the first inning at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington in Arlington, Texas, USA, 15 October 2010. This is the first game of the best of seven of the 2010 American League Championship Series. EPA/PAUL BUCK fotoglif760759

On June 16, 2010, Michael Young hit a two-out ground ball up the middle off Marlins’ pitcher Jay Buente to collect his 1,748th hit of his career. With that base-knock, he passed Ivan Rodriguez for first place on the all-time Rangers’ career hit list.

If he continues to play in Texas, he would probably need half a season to become the all-time games played leader in franchise history. But that’s only “if” Young continues to play in Texas.

Young is furious with the Rangers over what he perceives as being “misled and manipulated” by the club. We can only speculate as to why he feels that way, but chances are he’s feeling disrespected because the club is saying one thing and doing another. The Rangers publicly maintain that they want Young to be their primary DH and play multiple positions as a super utility player. But for the past month, they’ve flirted with other DH options like Jim Thome and Manny Ramirez (both of which have signed with other clubs).

If the Rangers want Young to DH, why would they speak with those other candidates? It’s hard to blame Young for feeling shunned. He moved to third (albeit begrudgingly at first) to make room for Elvis Andrus in 2009 and is now being replaced with the signing of free agent Adrian Beltre. Young is overpaid at $16 million a year, but given what he’s done for the Rangers over the past decade, he deserves the club’s respect.

Of course, that’s not the point is it? The point is that he’s making $16 million, plays shoddy defense and the Rangers feel like they can replace him in the lineup with cheaper options. Sports aren’t usually about respect. Young isn’t worth what the Rangers are paying him, so they’re taking the necessary steps to replace him. Sure, they’re publicly maintaining that they still need him, but actions speak louder than words. I can tell my girlfriend that she’s the only one I want to be with but if I turn around and flirt with three other women at the bar, how is she supposed to feel?

Nobody should blame Young for feeling the way he does, especially considering he helped them reach their first World Series last year. Just because he’s overpaid doesn’t mean he hasn’t earned the club’s respect. If the Rangers told Young that he would be their DH, then that should have been the end of it. Thome and Ramirez (two players who would have been difficult to keep on the bench and out of the DH spot) should have never been in the discussion.

But the Rangers are also trying to do what’s best for them in the long run, which is shedding Young’s contract. After all, they’re running a business you know.

Longoria won’t play in All-Star Game

According to a report by the Tampa Tribune, Rays’ third baseman Evan Longoria will miss Tuesday night’s All-Star Game due to an infection on his right ring finger. Rangers’ third baseman Michael Young will start in his place and Angels’ infielder Chone Figgins will replace Longoria on the roster.

Longoria’s injury is not believed to be serious and he should be back when Tampa resumes action on Friday, but I always hate it when a young player misses the All-Star Game because of an injury. Longoria should have plenty of more ASGs in his future, but he played well in the first half (although he is in the midst of a bad slump) and deserved to play this year.

The same can be said for Giants’ starter Matt Cain, who injured his right elbow on his throwing arm in game against the Padres last Saturday. Cain is finally getting recognized as one of the better young pitchers in the league this year thanks to some long overdue run support, but now he won’t even get the opportunity to pitch in his first ASG.

But Longoria’s injury opens the door for Young – an underrated player having a solid season for Texas this season – to start in the Midsummer Classic. And Figgins has been great for very good for the Halos this season as well, batting .310 with 68 runs scored and 27 stolen bases.

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