01/12/09 3:17 PM EST
GM expects Young to be with Rangers
Daniels: 'We're preparing for him to play third base'
By T.R. Sullivan / MLB.com
Solving the problem with a trade doesn't have great appeal to the Rangers unless they can get full value in return. That doesn't appear likely at this point. The Rangers have been in a similar situation before and it did not work out well for them.Alfonso Soriano was a two-time All-Star second baseman for the Rangers in 2004-05, mainly because of his outstanding offensive production. The Rangers had concerns about his defense and felt he was better suited for the outfield. They also had Ian Kinsler or Mark DeRosa ready to take over at second base. But, instead of unilaterally moving Soriano to the outfield, they traded him to the Nationals for outfielders Brad Wilkerson and Terrmel Sledge and pitcher Armando Galarraga. Wilkerson had two unproductive injury-plagued seasons with the Rangers and moved on. The Nationals forced Soriano to switch to the outfield and he has flourished there with three more All-Star seasons, including the past two with the Cubs. There are teams looking to upgrade at shortstop and Young still commands respect around the league. White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen has often called Young one of his favorite players. But White Sox general manager Kenny Williams denied reports that there was talk of Young for outfielder Jermaine Dye and top pitching prospect Aaron Poreda. The White Sox need a shortstop but are planning to move second baseman Alexi Ramirez over there. The Dodgers went into the offseason looking to upgrade their infield but already have signed free-agent shortstop Rafael Furcal. The Twins also need infield help but have re-signed free agent Nick Punto to play shortstop. The Red Sox have explored options instead of Julio Lugo and could use more offense in their lineup. Many teams who were looking for shortstops going into the offseason already have made a move. The Tigers addressed their shortstop need by signing Adam Everett, the Orioles signed Cesar Izturis, the Giants picked up Edgar Renteria and the Cardinals traded for Padres shortstop Khalil Greene. The Padres now need a shortstop and the Royals are investigating the possibility of adding a shortstop and moving Mike Aviles to second. The Pirates tried to move Jack Wilson earlier this offseason but were unable to work out a trade. There are also alternatives on the free-agent market, most notably Orlando Cabrera, David Eckstein and Omar Vizquel. Major League sources said Young's contract is a factor. He signed a five-year, $80 million contract extension in Spring Training 2007 that begins this season. That includes a $10 million signing bonus that is the Rangers' responsibility. With deferred compensation factored in, any club that trades for Young will be taking on a contract with a present-day value left of approximately $62 million. That's a sizable number at a time when clubs are tightening their payroll and emphasizing younger players. Young, a five-time All-Star who won a Gold Glove in 2008, turned 32 last October. The Rangers aren't worried about age and don't regret signing him to the contract. They are just hoping that he'll eventually agree to play third base, and they are hoping to get it resolved before Spring Training. But there is a sizable chasm between player and club. "I don't feel we presented it as an ultimatum or tried to run it down his throat," Daniels said. "We tried to do it softly and explain it to him. My goal was he would agree to it and buy into it. That's still possible. We're still looking for that to happen. But, obviously, he took it differently and here we are."
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.