Sunday, February 6, 2011

The Michael Young Saga Continues

There's been quite a whirlwind of news surrounding Michael Young these last few days.  First, Buster Olney mentioned in his report that "something had changed" in the relationship between the Rangers and Young, and that he wished to be traded.   Then, Ken Rosenthal reported that the Rangers had recently reopened the long dormant trade discussions with the Rockies.  Sounds good, right?  Wrong.  Troy Renck of the Denver Post (and Twitter extraordinaire) reported that he's spoken with multiple sources with direct knowledge of Rockies on-field operations, and was informed that trade talks had not been reopened. 

This brings us up to today.  Now, Tim Brown of Yahoo! Sports reports Texas is going to "attempt" to trade Young because the infielder-turned-DH has become "disillusioned with his diminished role with his team." 

As everyone knows, the Rangers signed free agent third baseman Adrian Beltre to a huge five year $80M conract in early January to play third base.  Young, as the incumbent third baseman, needed to either be traded or moved to another position.  Unable to find any takers, the Rangers announced they were making Young their permanent full-time DH.  Considering the temper tantrum he had when the Rangers moved him from short to third a couple of years ago, you can imagine that he was less than thrilled when he was informed of the decision. 

To make matters worse for Young, the Rangers recently traded for former Angel Mike Napoli.  Napoli is primarily a catcher and first baseman, but the Rangers already have full-time players at those positions in Mitch Moreland and Yorvit Torrealba.  While Napoli will likely still see a lot of playing time at both positions, he's expected to get the remainder of his plate appearances at the DH spot Young currently encumbers.  It doesn't take Albert Einstein (or even Kevin Federline) to realize that more PAs at DH for Napoli means fewer PAs for Young.  Young, being the reasonably intelligent guy he is, saw the writing on the wall, and has asked for a trade.  Judging by the Rangers actions in recent months, I'm pretty sure they want him out of Texas too.

As I've mentioned a few times before, the biggest issue with moving Michael Young is the three years and $48M he's owed through 2013.  Young, 34, is roughly a 2.5 win player right now, and will continue to decline over the next few seasons.  Using the typical regression pattern of 0.5 WAR per season, Young can only be expected to provide 6.0 WAR over the next three seasons--maybe 7.0 if a little luck rolls his way.  At $5M per win, it's very unlikely Young will be able to produce enough value to justify the cost of his salary.  As a result, the Rangers will probably have to agree to eat anywhere between $15-25M of his remaining contract just to get any team to listen.   Recent reports had the Rockies expecting the Rangers to pick up around $20M of Young's contract.

Interesting thing to note:  Brown hears that the Angels are interested in acquiring Young.  I am Jack's total lack of surprise.  After taking on Vernon Wells and $81M of the $86M remaining on his contract, I half expected the Angels to be interested in Young.  He's both overpaid and overrated--just the type of player the Angels love.  While I'd be surprised to see them be willing to take on Young's entire $48M contract, nothing would surprise me at this point. 

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