Young has been the subject of trade rumors all offseason, and things have ramped up again recently with a report Young could be joining the Rockies shortly. The Angels are also thought to be involved, but Texas would prefer not to deal their franchise icon to a division rival.
Despite being a franchise icon, Young is quite overpaid, due $48 million over the next three years. Colorado is requesting the Rangers eat at least $20 million, which would make Young's contract into commensurate value for the Rox. The Rangers have moved Young around, first from second to shortstop and then short to third, the latter move which was met with major displeasure by Young although he eventually acquiesced.
Despite the moves, Young still remains a terrible fielder (although he would play second in Colorado). When the Rangers addressed their fielding issues by signing Adrian Beltre, that pushed Young into a DH role that he originally accepted. However, Young has since balked, due in part to Texas' acquisition of Mike Napoli, which would steal at-bats from Young at DH.
"He's had time to think about it," GM Jon Daniels told the Ft. Worth Star-Telegram. "Time's gone on and he's changed his mind."
President Nolan Ryan added more context, saying Young realized a trade would be in the best interest of his career as he could continue playing the field and not being shoehorned into the DH spot.
This is a rather masterful stroke for Texas. Fans were upset the Rangers were trying to deal Young as he is well-regarded in the community and is a fan favorite. However, by announcing Young's trade demand, the club can deal Young and then tell its fans they were only accommodating his request. Pretty smart.
UPDATE: Michael Young lashed out at ownership Monday night after the Rangers leaked the trade demand. Young is likely upset he is being painted the bad guy when he clearly feels different.
Telling the Dallas Morning News, Young said:
I've kept a low profile out of respect for the team, the coaching staff, my family and the fans because I didn't want to put anybody on an unnecessary roller-coaster. Now, I think it's important to address the inaccurate portrayal that is being painted. The suggestion that I've simply had a change of heart and asked for a trade is a manipulation of the truth. I want to be traded because I've been misled and manipulated and I'm sick of it.
How was he misled? And manipulated?
"That would be unproductive for everybody, particularly my teammates and coaches," he said. "I know the truth and Jon Daniels knows the truth and I will sleep well."
UPDATE 2: More quotes from Young, this time from MLB.com:
I would have prefered this to stay behind closed doors. The shame of this is I have a great group of teammates that I've grown to love. But at this point I don't think [it can be worked out]. I think a trade is going to happen.
And now FOXSports.
"I’m not going to sit here and say I’m above anything in that sense," Young said about trade talks, saying he was surprised but not upset. "It’s the business of baseball. People explore their options. In no way do I feel I’m above that."
UPDATE 3: And more information is pumping in. MLB.com has learned the eight teams Young can be dealt to as part of his partial no-trade clause. Cardinals, Yankees, Twins, Astros, Rockies, Dodgers, Angels and Padres.
GM Daniels said earlier that he felt it simplest to work within those eight teams to facilitate a trade. The Cardinals could absolutely use Young as they have a shaky David Freese there, but they just can't take on the salary commitment -- even if Texas eats $20 million -- when they have Albert Pujols to worry about. If they do swing a trade, that could mean Pujols' time is done.
The Yankees are likewise all set and would have no place to play him. The Twins appear maxed out on payroll and have settled their situation, and despite having a spare outfielder, the Rangers have no need there. The Astros are rebuilding and slashing payroll, so that deal makes zero sense. The Rockies we have all heard about. The Dodgers could salivate at bumping Casey Blake off third for a better hitter, but who knows what the finances are like in Dodgertown. The Angels are a divisional rival with an acute need, but how can the Rangers possibly justify moving Young to a division rival after all this drama? The Padres, lastly, have zero interest in an aging, overpaid hitter slowly on the decline. Yes, he may be able to help, but the Padres can't take that luxury ... if one can call it a luxury.
-- Evan Brunell