ARLINGTON — The relationship between the Texas Rangers and third baseman Michael Young appears to be getting worse by the minute. All those good feelings that he had about playing in the World Series seem to have evaporated.
The Rangers say Young has requested a trade, apparently changing his mind about his willingness to become a full-time designated hitter.
“I think he's had time to think about it,” said Rangers general manager Jon Daniels. “I don't want to put words in his mouth. I'm sure he'll address it at some point, but I think he's had time to think about it, and time has gone on, and he's changed his mind.”
But Young doesn't see it that way.
Young did not return our request for an interview, but he did tell Evan Grant of The Dallas Morning News this:
"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.”
Young's role changed when the Rangers acquired free agent third baseman Adrian Beltre. The Rangers said Young would become the primary designated hitter and serve in a utility role where he could fill in every infield position.
Young, the team’s longest-tenured player after 10 seasons, initially agreed to that plan
"He thinks he's an every day position player, and that's what he wants to continue to do,” Rangers president Nolan Ryan said. “We told him we would do what we could to try and accommodate him and give him an opportunity to go to another organization and be able to that.”
Young has three years left on his Rangers contract at $48 million, making him a tough player to trade. His teammates wonder what happens to team chemistry when the locker room leader is gone.
Daniels said he has already been approached by some clubs that aren't on Young’s list of acceptable alternatives, though he wouldn’t get into specifics about which ones.
“Does it make sense? No,” Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton said. “But I don't get paid to make those kinds of decisions.”
“It happens with a lot of teams,” Rangers pitcher Darren Oliver noted. “Usually you don't have the same team year-to-year."
Daniels said he hasn't found the right fit that works for both the Rangers and Michael Young just yet. Pitchers and catchers report to training camp next week with no resolution in sight.
“Our first choice would be to continue with our offseason plan and go to camp with Michael and have him playing a pivotal role on the club,” Daniels said. “He’s changed his mind and had a change of heart about that role. If we can accommodate his request, and doing so upgrade the club, we certainly would like to do that.”