Would You Trade for Michael Young?

The Texas Rangers have an interesting situation on their hands at the moment: what to do with Michael Young?

Young has been “the face of the franchise” for the past decade, the “heart and soul” of the ballclub, and a fan favorite. An unselfish team player and a leader in the clubhouse, he was considered the team’s next shortstop as a minor leaguer but moved to second base when Texas signed Alex Rodriguez; moved from second base back to shortstop after A-Rod left Texas and Alfonso Soriano came in; moved to third base to make room for rookie Elvis Andrus in 2009; and now is being asked to move to 1B/DH with the free-agent signing of Adrian Beltre.

Just one problem: Michael Young doesn’t hit like a 1B/DH.

Also, soon after the 2011 season begins, Young will become a “10-and-5” man, meaning, someone who has played 10 years in MLB and at least 5 with his current club, and therefore will have the power to veto any trade.

The Rangers keep insisting that Young will be on the team on Opening Day, but they have to say that — to keep the drama to a minimum, to keep the fans happy, and to hold their leverage in any trade negotiations. Arte Moreno is on record as saying the Rangers offered Young to the Angels, so we know he’s on the block. Additionally, the Rangers were rumored to still be in play for Vlad Guerrero until he agreed to terms with the Orioles, which means they want more power in the lineup — power that Young can’t provide. Additionally, the Rangers already have two young, slugging 1B/DH types in Mitch Moreland and Chris Davis. So all signs are pointing toward a trade of Michael Young, despite what the Rangers say publicly.

Would Young be a good fit for the Mets?

Consider the following before answering …

The “problem” with Young is that he has 3 years and $48M left on his contract, and is nowhere near being a $16M/year player anymore (if he ever was). The Mets are looking to get OUT of expensive, long-term deals, so it would seem silly to consider taking on Young and the debt that comes with him. But hear me out.

What if the Mets traded Carlos Beltran (and his $18.5M contract) and Francisco Rodriguez ($11.5M + $3.5M buyout) to Texas in return for Young? Though the Mets would take on $48M over the next three years, they’d also shed over $17M from the 2011 budget (the combined $33.5M going off minus the $16M coming in). So essentially you have Michael Young for two more years (’11 and ’12) and $32M — still a lot of money, but consider the $39M coming off the books after 2011, when the contracts of Ollie Perez, Luis Castillo, and Jose Reyes lapse. Add in the fact that the Mets might not want to replace Reyes at shortstop with the light-hitting Ruben Tejada next year, and could conceivably shift Young to the position for the final two years of his deal. True, he’s nowhere near being a Gold Glove defender any more, but he might hit enough to make up for it. At worst, he stays at 2B, where he’ll be above-average offensively and make up for some of the offense if Tejada takes over at SS.

Additionally, there’s a chance the Mets could get the Rangers to throw some cash back in the deal, to alleviate some of the financial burden in ’12 and ’13.

Why would the Rangers do the deal? Easy – if they’re interested in Vlad Guerrero as a DH, they’d certainly be interested in Beltran, who might find a DH/OF role a better plan for his aching knee. K-Rod would step in as the Rangers’ closer, allowing them to move young flamethrower Neftali Feliz back into a starting role. Feliz excelled as a starter in the minors, and after losing out on Cliff Lee, the Rangers could use a potential ace in their rotation.

It could be a win-win situation for everyone involved; the Rangers get the slugger they need, plus the ace starter they need by way of getting a closer; the Mets get a second baseman who can potentially move to short next year; Beltran gets to play in a hitter’s park in his walk year; K-Rod gets to start fresh in a city that won’t harp on his past; and the Mets create some immediate flexibility in their budget, while not adversely affecting it going forward.

With Young stationed at second base and Beltran out of the picture, Angel Pagan becomes the starting centerfielder, Jason Bay moves to right field, and left field becomes a dogfight among youngsters Lucas Duda, Nick Evans, and Fernando Martinez, and veterans Willie Harris and Scott Hairston. Maybe Rule 5 pick Brad Emaus is tried out there as well, since scouts aren’t sold on him as an infielder. As for the bullpen, Bobby Parnell gets the chance to be a closer, with DJ Carrasco, Blaine Boyer, Manny Acosta, and Pedro Beato as the backup plan.

Don’t like the idea of trading Beltran and K-Rod? Then how about this: Jason Bay for Michael Young, with no cash considerations — just a straight-up deal. The Mets take on the 3/$48M of Young’s contract, but shed the 3/$51M left on Bay’s. Again, the Rangers get the slugger they need, and the Mets get the second baseman they need, while gaining an extra $3M flexibility. Probably too much of a wash; it depends on whether or not you think Bay will be more valuable to the Mets over the next three years than Young. My thinking is that going forward, it will be easier to find a corner outfielder than it is to find a second baseman and/or shortstop. Further, I’m counting on Jose Reyes leaving the Mets after ’11, and thinking that having Young around could help alleviate the resulting hole in the middle infield. Young wouldn’t necessarily be the everyday shortstop, but perhaps he could be part of the answer. I also like Young’s reputation as an on-field and off-field leader, and thinking those intangibles would help impart Terry Collins‘ new world order.

I doubt there is any chance of the Mets making a deal for Young, so consider this a “fantasy” post and up for discussion. What do you think? Would you trade for Michael Young? Comment below.

Joe Janish began MetsToday in 2005 to provide the unique perspective of a high-level player and coach -- he earned NCAA D-1 All-American honors as a catcher and coached several players who went on to play pro ball. As a result his posts often include mechanical evaluations, scout-like analysis, and opinions that go beyond the numbers. Follow Joe's baseball tips on Twitter at @onbaseball and at the On Baseball Google Plus page.
  1. Walnutz15 February 8, 2011 at 12:28 pm
    The only way I see this making an ounce of sense is if, in fact, Jose Reyes is looking to bolt after this season.

    If Michael Young could take all of his AB’s from Texas, then I’d welcome him with open arms. However, that’s not the case.

    With regard to 2nd base, I think we finally have a competition where a few younger guys are around – to show the previous front office just how foolish it ever was to sign a gimpy veteran like Castillo to a 4-year contract.

    If they handle 2nd base correctly, then it should work out this way. I’m actually hopeful for a kid like Emaus. If he stinks it up in ST, then we have no real obligation to keep him — once he’s off the roster, he’s returned to Toronto.

    If he impresses, then it’s time to see what he can provide at the Major League-level. Like Justin Turner, I don’t think there’s really much left for them to prove at Triple-A (though Turner has options).

    It’s just a question of whether or not they can do it for a consistent period of time in The Bigs.

    Young’s getting older, has always mashed in Texas – while showing an obvious discrepancy when he’s outside of the friendly confines.

    Not denying the fact that he’s a versatile infielder, with a solid bat — but I don’t know how he translates to the Met world.

    I like Alderson, but I don’t know if he’s thinking THIS far ahead (if Reyes bolts, then we’ll have Young….and maybe have swapped Beltran in the process).

    If he is thinking this way, then I give him a ton of credit…..but think it’s a bit early to be jumping the gun on anything this drastic.

    The Rangers will definitely have to eat good chunk of his salary, though…..wherever they ultimately move him to.

  2. Kevin Buckley February 8, 2011 at 12:28 pm
    Actually, I like this a lot! Tremendous thinking outside the box.
    Neither Beltran or K-Rod fit into the Mets long term plans and both have accumulated quite a bit of baggage with the Mets. A platoon of Duda/Evans in left could prove to be very productive. Young at 2B is much more of a sure thing than Murphy, Emaus, et. al.
    Michael Young has shown that he has his team interests at heart in the past several years by his willingness to change positions. Further, watching him play in the Playoffs you see his confidence as a hitter. Putting him at 2B this year would strengthen the Mets lineup, and we would add a much needed “clubhouse leader.” This could be attractive to Texas in that they wouldn’t need to eat any of Young’s salary and, yes, they would, in effect, add a starting pitcher. Let’s do it!
  3. cdubbs February 8, 2011 at 1:24 pm
    Love the site Joe! The insight you show on baseball techniques and fundamentals is always a great read. Also, the spring training countdown serious is a daily read for me.

    That being said I don’t like the idea of Michael Young being with this team for 3 years. I don’t trust his legs to handle the middle infield positions anymore. He seems to be in decline, despite his great leadership skills, etc. I say ride it out with Beltran, hope for a hot first half and trade him at the deadline. Otherwise, pay him and let him walk after the season. As for K-Rod, pray for injury and/or slumps so that his option won’t kick in, or deal him at the deadline if possible (obvious really if there are any takers).

    Despite the potential financial savings of taking on Young for Beltran and KRod, I am looking forward to seeing what Murph and Emaus can do at second, and hopeful you are wrong about Prof. Reyes!

    • Joe Janish February 8, 2011 at 6:46 pm
      cdubbs, thanks for the props! Glad you enjoy the site.

      Young is on the decline, and probably won’t be anywhere near worth his salary over the next three years (if he ever was). But, sometimes teams bring in certain personalities for other reasons — in this case, it would be to help foster a “new attitude” at the big league level. The Mets have been without a true leader for … geez … it’s been at least 6-7 years, maybe longer. Having a steady, veteran influence on the club to help the youngsters coming up between 2011-2013 could go a long way in their development.

      Ideally that veteran influence would be David Wright but how many more years are we going to wait for him to take charge? There’s a possibility he just doesn’t have the type of personality to be a take-charge guy, and that’s what this team has been missing for far too long.

  4. cdubbs February 8, 2011 at 1:26 pm
    *ST countdown series
  5. tasan February 8, 2011 at 2:33 pm
    If i could dump beltran and K-rod for young, I would do it in a heartbeat. The only issue I see with this is screwing up with all the players lining up for a chance to crack 2B. You kind of destroy team chemistry this way (like how omar has done with impulsive trades). I don’t see Alderson operating this way. I think he really wants to see a youth movement to a) clean out the minor league system b)maximize what you could get for your minor leaguers c)sign prudent contracts with options

    Actually I wouldn’t mind giving up Ollie and castillo on top of beltran and K-rod in exchange for Young and a couple of young guys.

    • Joe Janish February 8, 2011 at 6:47 pm
      All the players lined up for 2B are minor leaguers. I’m not saying they can’t be MLBers but the point is that none is yet established. I don’t see Michael Young’s presence destroying team chemistry; in fact I see the opposite. Not to mention Young can play several other positions — he doesn’t necessarily have to be an everyday player at 2B.
      • mrtasan February 8, 2011 at 7:59 pm
        For $16 million a year, he better be playing everyday…
        • Joe Janish February 8, 2011 at 8:09 pm
          Beltran is making $18.5M this year – do you think he’ll play every day?

          If I had to make a bet, I’d put my money on Young to play more games this year than Beltran.

          Also, you don’t have to be an everyday starter to play every day. Mark Loretta, Tony Phillips, Chone Figgins, Don Money, and Mark DeRosa are some of many examples of “super subs” who played all over the field, and played just about every day. Young could turn into that type of player in his later years.

        • mrtasan February 8, 2011 at 8:47 pm
          I didn’t call him an everyday player.

          i would rather keep beltran for 1 year at 18 million than young for 3 years at 16 per. straightup.

          BUT, as I said, I would trade Beltran, K-rod, Ollie, and Castillo for Young and a package of minor leaguers in a heartbeat.

  6. kdawk February 8, 2011 at 3:21 pm
    I’ve been fashioning a more old school trade that would likely not happen either. Ollie, Meija and Martinez for Young. Out-of-pocket is only $3-4 mil this year, the batting order with Young hitting 7th is potentially as good as anyone’s in the East, Young could move to SS next year, Ollie is gone making Sandy look good, and the talk would be about the team rather than the owners. Meija is unproven but while Texas may not do this, I doubt Jeff/Fred would either.
  7. Timo February 8, 2011 at 4:14 pm
    Nice idea Jojo BUT there is no way! I like young and think he would be a better mentor to our young players than Beltran, K-rod, Reyes, or Bay. The Ranger would NEVER make the deal for Beltran and K-rod, however, Bay may not be a stretch. That deal could be made. I would prefer Young over Bay because of the type of guy Young is. Too be serious though, it will never happen but makes good conversation.
  8. Texas Frank February 8, 2011 at 6:35 pm
    We have newspapers and Internet in Texas and KNOW all about Beltran and Choke-Rod. You would have been able to fool Tom Hicks but Nolan Ryan runs the show and would never go for it. Think about all of the changes Texas has to make to accommodate this junk. Move Feliz to starter to make room for K-Rod. Put Beltran in Center over Hamilton. ha! And then give the Mets $$$$ for the priviledge. Ah I don’t think so. Rangers had good chemistry last year and this would KILL it. The Mets signed these clowns (including Bay and Castillo) so now they want a different direction and let somebody else pay for it. Sorry you bought and now you have to eat it. Don’t ask others to pay for your stupidity. And get this. I am a die hard Mets fan and hate the Rangers. But you are ridiculous. How about Jim Fregosi also?
    • Joe Janish February 8, 2011 at 6:54 pm
      Texas Frank I don’t understand your reasoning at all. We have the internet and newspapers here in the NYC area too and from those sources have heard rumors that the Rangers were still in play for Vlad Guerrero; therefore, they are looking for a veteran DH with some power — that’s Beltran. We’ve also heard that after losing out on Cliff Lee, the Rangers would consider moving Feliz back to the rotation — in which case they would need a closer such as K-Rod. So would it be the Rangers making accommodations or would it be a case of them improving their club? Not to mention both Betlran and K-Rod are potentially in their walk years so the Rangers don’t have to worry about commitment beyond ’11.

      If these rumors weren’t swirling from Texas then I’d agree with your statement that I’m “ridiculous”. But I’d prefer you’d call me “uninformed”.

  9. Texas Frank February 8, 2011 at 6:38 pm
    And trading for Michael Young just does not make sense. Where does he play. He is 35 and owed 48 million. C’mon Joe. You generally write good stuff but this makes no sense.
    • Joe Janish February 8, 2011 at 6:58 pm
      Frank, there were more words after the headline. If you read them you would have seen that I suggested Young could play 2B this year and SS next year, and provided supportive reasoning behind those suggestions. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Young play SS THIS year, after the Mets trade Reyes.

      And for the record Young is 34.

  10. gary s. February 8, 2011 at 10:51 pm
    too old, too expensive and he hasn’t had tommy john surgery, so that removes him from consideration.
  11. Edward D. Montague February 9, 2011 at 1:16 am
    Can’t do it for one simple reason: The Mets are cursed at second base! Look at their history: Juan Samuel, Carlos Baerga, Roberto Alomar, Japanese phenom Kaz Matsui, Luis Castillo, can’t miss prospects Gregg Jefferies and Jeff Kent who succeded outside of New York , and to a lesser extent, Tony Fernandez and Willie Randolph! Even the homegrown Wally Backman disappeared after ’86. Micheal Young’s line if he becomes a Met: .268 – 8 hrs – 58 RBI – do like the idea of giving Duda, Neiwenhuis (I know I spelled that wrong) Ratliff, Martinez, or even Vaughn a shot in the OF, but don’t wanna block Havens
  12. Steve S. February 9, 2011 at 7:42 am
    I like the out-of-the-box thinking, Joe, but I wouldn’t make this deal. Taking on Young for three years is just too long a commitment for a guy in decline. And check his home-away stats: He hit only 5 HRs out of 21 away from Texas! Also his fielding stats are a negative. At this point, he may not be much better than Murphy!
  13. PHB February 9, 2011 at 1:58 pm
    As a Mets fan stuck in Arlington Texas who has season tickets and has watched Michael Young play for the past several years, I shudder at thought of seeing him playing for the Mets. Trust me he is more inept in the field than his mediocre fielding stats would lead one to believe and his production at the plate has declined in the past year.

    Also, although I realize this is just a think outside the box type of scenario, and as much as it pains me to admit it, with the Mets having no chance to make it to the post season this year, Michael Young could block a trade to the Mets. Since getting a taste of finally playing on a winning team last season there is no indication that he would allow a trade to a team that has no chance to play in the post season

  14. Raucheraal February 9, 2011 at 11:52 pm
    I like the idea — but bet you a dollar the Mets are not one of Michael Young’s famous “8 teams”…
  15. cstorm February 10, 2011 at 7:18 pm
    David Murphy and Michael Young for Jason Bay, who says no? Salary is a wash, and Murphy is a competent replacement for Bay in LF and under control for three more years.
  16. Texas Frank February 13, 2011 at 11:47 am
    Good morning Joe. Thanks for the response.

    My Internet comment was to point out that Beltran and K-Rod’s deficiences as players and people without character is no secret even in Texas. Yes the Rangers may consider moving Felix to the rotation if they have to. And Beltran as a DH would have been interesting A FEW YEARS AGO. Not now. He is an old cancer and it was pointed out well last year when he did not go to the VA Hospital in DC. Nobody wanted to REALLY go to see young Americans missing body parts but as Pelfrey said “as far as I am concerned it was mandatory.” I think he really stepped up with that and RA Dickey’s non- response was a slap at the divas who would have felt ‘uncomfortable.’ What a joke.

    Someone wrote in about failed Met farmhands at 2B (Timo?). Jeff Kent was never a Met farmhand. He was traded from Toronto with a black outfielder (something Thompson I think ( I don’t recal) who later played in Cleveland) in the David Cone trade. I met Jeff Kent in Florida during Spring Training one year. He was a real affable guy and the fans really liked him. But he was a red ass kind of guy (like Ted Williams, Roger Maris, Wally Backman, Lenny Dykstra, etc. to name a few) and they ran him off to Cleveland in a trade for a FADED Carlos Baerga(?). Later played in the NL and had a good(if not quite great) career there SF, LA, and Houston.

    Yes, Michael Young could play for the Mets this year. No argument there. And if rollin with Nolan would take some Met crap in return a deal could happen. But take a step back. What does Young buy you? We have a very young set of middle infielders (Wilmer Flores, Miguel Tejada, and or Reese Havens (if he ever stays healthy) that need playing time to develop and learn. Tejada showed me that defensively he can more than hold his own and he might learn to hit better if he plays MORE. Young sets that back.

    The disturbing thing to me is that so many talented kids come to NY (both Mets and Yankees). The press rips them for whatever reason, the fans turn on them, and then the teams dump them off someplace where they relax, get good coaching, learn the game, have fun, and flourish. The pattern in endless. And sad. The press sits there like a pontifcating God and gives the thumbs up or thumbs down to these kids. So sad that the teams spend so much money and get little in return.

    Living in Texas has given me a different perspective on the game I think. Because we don’t have a tough press (except for Randy Galloway that is) players come in, play, develop, learn, and if found to be not good enough moved out. My son says that NY does not allow that to happen. But I disagree and point to the Islanders and Nets and show that they ARE rebuilding and it is beginning to show. They have moved the crap out and are drafting better character people. True the fans are not coming out yet: but when the teams become VERY GOOD they will come out. (Sorry to switch sports on you).

    The Mets need to be patient and move out the trash. (Beltran. Castillo, Bay, K-Rod, etc.) and let the kids come through. I think that will be Sandy’s plan. I have always said the best planned organization in Baseball are the Twins. Most of their talent is home grown. (or acquired through trades). Astute trading is allowed in my world just no horror shows like Nolan Ryan (and others) for Jim Fregosi, Amos Otis for Joe Foy; to name just a couple.