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02/08/11 9:45 PM EST
Initial Young talks are slow going for Rangers
Trade list, contract limit Texas' attempts to deal infielder
By T.R. Sullivan / MLB.com
ARLINGTON -- With the whole world knowing that Michael Young wants out of Texas, no team appears to be stepping forward as the favorite to acquire him in a trade with the Rangers.
The possibility exists this could be a repeat of two years ago when Young demanded a trade rather than switching to third base. The Rangers tried to accommodate him, only to find out there was not a suitable deal out there. Young, who went public with his demand on Monday, still is adamant that he is going to be traded, but the Rangers have made it clear that if they do make a trade, it has to improve the club.
They remain limited by the eight teams on Young's trade list: Rockies, Angels, Dodgers, Padres, Yankees, Astros, Cardinals and Twins. Young is also signed for three more years at $48 million, a significant obstacle for any team especially at this late date of the offseason.
For the most part, clubs have their rosters set, their payrolls at their maximum and are ready to go to Spring Training.
So basically the Rangers have to find -- among these eight teams -- one that has a need for either an infielder or more offense; can handle all or substantial parts of the salary; and will provide enough value in return for a six-time All-Star with a .300 career batting average.
Texas could use immediate help but certainly wouldn't mind talented young players in return, similar to what it pulled off in the Mark Teixeira trade. A deal of that magnitude is not likely, and if the Rangers did get top-flight prospects, they would have to pick up a substantial portion of Young's contract.
The alternative would be to take on a big contract in return to help offset the money. That possibility is out there.
There is also a possibility that the Rangers could end up talking to a team not on Young's approval list. It hasn't reached that stage yet.
Right now, Texas is dealing with the eight teams specified by Young. As of Tuesday evening, after officials from various clubs have weighed in on the subject, here's a look at the situation for each of those teams and the possibility of a fit for Young:
MLB.com is reporting that the Dodgers and Rangers have had preliminary talks, but a deal is a "very long shot." The biggest stumbling block is the $48 million salary. The Dodgers are dealing with financial constraints because of their ownership situation. This would be Young's dream team because he grew up in Los Angeles and his favorite player was current Dodgers manager Don Mattingly.
Word is the Astros aren't interested in trading outfielder Carlos Lee, who is owed $37 million over the next two years, for Young. Lee is 34 and can still hit, but needs to be a full-time designated hitter. But right now the Astros don't seem inclined to make the swap, and they are not going to give up young players while they are in a rebuilding mode.
They are already dealing with their own franchise icon in Albert Pujols. But general manager John Mozeliak told MLB.com that he does not see his team as a fit for Young. The Cardinals appear committed to David Freese at third and Skip Schumaker at second. Said Mozeliak, "It's just a very difficult fit at this time."
There is no doubt that Yankees could handle Young's contract. But they have four All-Star infielders. They also have Jorge Posada at designated hitter and Russell Martin at catcher. Young might fit at DH while playing multiple positions, including the outfield. The Yankees have Brett Gardner in left, Curtis Granderson in center and Nick Swisher in right, but if they could move one of their position players for badly needed starting pitching, it could slide open a spot for Young.
The Rangers tried hard to get the Angels interested in Young even before they signed third baseman Adrian Beltre. The Angels weren't motivated then and have since traded for outfielder Vernon Wells, pushing their payroll to the limit. They have Maicer Izturis at third base, and Young would be an upgrade. The Rangers would probably have to take either pitcher Scott Kazmir ($12 million) or designated hitter Bobby Abreu ($9 million) in return.
They could use offensive help in the infield, but they just traded first baseman Adrian Gonzalez because they couldn't afford him. They just acquired shortstop Jason Bartlett and signed free-agent second baseman Orlando Hudson. If this had been earlier in the offseason, something might have been done, but the Padres have one of the lowest payrolls in the game.
The Twins have discussed Young in the past but, according to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, they have no chance of getting involved with the Rangers. They just signed Tsuyoshi Nishioka to be their second baseman. He was a batting champion and Gold Glove winner in Japan. Danny Valencia is their third baseman, and Young could be an upgrade there, but the Twins don't like the contract.
They have confirmed interest in Young as a second baseman, and first talked to the Rangers at the Winter Meetings. At one point, a deal appeared to be close. But they have made it clear that Texas would have to take on a substantial portion of Young's contract for a deal to work. The best the Rockies could offer the Rangers would be prospects rather than immediate help.