Young deserves better from the Rangers

Chris Ruddick,
MLB Editor

Rounding Third Logo Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - It's always been hard for me to be critical of players who bounce around from team to team. I accepted a long time ago that's just the way it is these days.

I believe the saying is root for the laundry, not the players, who just don't have the same type of loyalty to their organization as they did when our fathers were growing up.

Then again, Joe DiMaggio never had a chance to become a free agent. Knowing what we know of him now, is there any doubt that he would have bled every last penny from the Yankees had he become a free agent?

The current situation taking place in Texas between the Rangers and Michael Young again brings up the question; why should a player show any loyalty to a team?

In case you don't know what I'm talking about, the Rangers started sniffing around Adrian Beltre at the Winter Meetings when it became apparent that their top priority of re-signing Cliff Lee probably wasn't going to happen.

Not only was Beltre probably the best bat left on the market, he is above average with the glove and that is not a bad way to shore up a pitching staff that just lost a former Cy Young Award winner.

The only problem was that the Rangers already had a third baseman in Young, a player who has been the face of the franchise for the better part of the last decade.

So the Young trade rumors started swirling. The Colorado Rockies were at the forefront in the talks, but nothing ever got done. Despite what was being told to Young privately by the Rangers, talks were definitely being held.

Michael Young is the one of, if not the most underrated player in baseball.

The Winter Meetings came and went and Young remained a Ranger. However, Texas still signed Beltre, seemingly leaving Young twisting in the wind.

There is no question that Beltre is better defensively than Young, but shouldn't he have at least been kept abreast as to what was happening? I'm pretty sure he has earned at least that. Keep in mind this is a player who not once, but twice switched positions for the good of the organization.

Even with the arrival of Beltre, Young remained the team guy, agreeing to be the team's designated hitter. But the rumors were still out there that Texas was looking to deal him. They really started picking up again when the Rangers acquired Mike Napoli from Toronto to seemingly fill the DH/first base role most people had envisioned for Young.

I have always contended that Young is the one of, if not the most underrated player in baseball. Look at his numbers: he's a six-time All-Star and .300 lifetime hitter over his 11 seasons with a batting title to his credit.

Michael Young is Derek Jeter without the New York hype machine behind him.

And now, he's available because apparently the Rangers never stopped shopping him, despite their public assertions, and Young feels betrayed to the point that he wants out.

Who can blame him?

"The suggestion that I've had a change of heart and asked for a trade is a manipulation of the truth," Young said Monday night. "I want to be traded because I have been manipulated and misled in this process and I'm not going to take it anymore."

The problem is that a clause in Young's deal will only allow the Rangers to deal him to eight teams, not to mention he is still owed $48 million for the next three years. That is a pretty sizable chunk of dough for teams to slot in this late in the game. . Colorado, one of the eight teams on Young's preferred list, remains at the forefront of trade discussions, but talks have not really progressed much since December. Houston could be a fit if it were to send outfielder Carlos Lee back in return, but that is a long shot.

"I think a trade is going to happen," Young said. "The shame of this is I have a great group of teammates that I have grown to love. It's a shame this has come up when we should be focused on getting ready for the season."

I still think there is a chance that cooler heads could prevail. The Rangers' position players don't report to Spring Training until February 19. If Young is still part of the Rangers at that time he, Nolan Ryan and general manager Jon Daniels could iron this all out over a meal.

Forget the fact that the Rangers would lose a vital cog to their offensive machine, he is the unquestioned leader of that locker room. A locker room by the way that can't be happy with the way this whole thing has played out.

Pitchers and catchers this weekend people.

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