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01/03/11 11:11 PM EST
Young willing to DH if Rangers sign Beltre
Veteran already switched for Soriano, Andrus during stellar career
By T.R. Sullivan / MLB.com
ARLINGTON -- Rangers third baseman Michael Young said Monday night that he would be willing to move to designated hitter if the Rangers sign free agent Adrian Beltre.
This is the third time since 2004 that Young has been willing to switch positions to accommodate the Rangers. But this one would take Young off the field the majority of the time as a defensive player.
The Rangers approached Young recently and asked for his feelings on the subject.
"We have had conversations, and every conversation was left open-ended," Young said. "But at this point, I would be willing to get my at-bats if we make a move that makes the team better."
The Rangers have been engaged in contract discussions with Scott Boras, Beltre's agent, since the Winter Meetings. No agreement has been reached, but general manager Jon Daniels and Boras resumed serious negotiations Monday night with the goal of wrapping up an agreement.
Young's willingness to accept the designated-hitter role would remove one possible hurdle in the Rangers signing Beltre.
"Obviously, I know my first preference," Young said. "If I have to take on a certain role to make the team better and I still get my 700 at-bats, be a productive player and play in a place I want to play, I'd be willing to do that."
There is a possibility that Young could end up playing multiple positions as a "super utility" player on top of being the club's regular DH. He said he would even be open to trying first base, the only infield position that he has not played regularly since breaking into the big leagues in 2001.
"Obviously, if I'm willing to have five at-bats at DH, I'd be willing to bounce around and stay active," Young said. "If I'm going to get the majority of my at-bats at DH, I'd welcome any opportunity to get on the field."
The Rangers could also entertain the possibility of trading Young, but he has a limited no-trade clause and made it clear that he does not want to leave Texas.
"There hasn't been any mention of that by the team," Young said. "I want to stay here."
If the Rangers sign Beltre and move Young to DH, it could mean that designated hitter Vladimir Guerrero will not be back. The Rangers have been trying to re-sign him, but talks appear to have stalled.
"I'm not going to get into specifics," Daniels said. "We're looking at all possibilities. We're trying to get better any way we can."
Guerrero went into the offseason looking for a multiyear deal after hitting .300 with 29 home runs and 115 RBIs in a nice bounce-back season. The Rangers have been inclined to offer only a one-year deal.
Daniels admitted that the Rangers want to sign one more big bat for the offense, though he declined to get into specifics.
Young was the Rangers' starting second baseman from 2001-03. After the Rangers traded shortstop Alex Rodriguez to the Yankees in 2004 and in exchange for second baseman Alfonso Soriano, Young voluntarily moved to shortstop.
Young ended up being a five-time All-Star and won a Gold Glove in 2008. The Rangers asked him to move to third base to make room for shortstop Elvis Andrus in 2009. Young initially balked, but he then agreed to make the move.
There is no reluctance to do so this time around.
"I'm willing to do what's best to help a winning team," Young said.
The 31-year-old Beltre is a two-time Gold Glove winner at third base. He batted .321 with 28 home runs and 102 RBIs for the Red Sox last season, posting a career-high .365 on-base percentage and a .553 slugging percentage -- his second best in his 12-year career.
Young, 34, is signed through 2013. He batted .284 with 99 runs scored, 21 home runs and 99 RBIs in leading the Rangers to their first World Series appearance in club history.
Young hasn't done too badly in limited time as a designated hitter throughout his career, hitting .388 with three home runs and 22 RBIs in 103 at-bats over 25 games.
He could also be valuable as a right-handed-hitting first baseman. Mitch Moreland, a left-handed hitter, is the Rangers leading candidate to start the season. Chris Davis, who also hits left-handed, remains in the picture.