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02/16/11 4:00 PM EST
Rangers' near-term plans include Young
By T.R. Sullivan / MLB.com
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- The Rangers are having various staff meetings this week to prepare for Spring Training. Club officials go over workout schedules, batting practice groups and fundamental drills.
The Rangers base their preparations on the idea that infielder Michael Young will be in camp this Sunday for the first full-squad workout.
"We're preparing for Michael to be on the club," general manager Jon Daniels said on Wednesday with pitchers and catchers reporting to camp. "We have to prepare for him to be on the club. In all our meetings, everything we're setting up, the workouts and stuff, are based on that. We're planning on him being on the team."
Young, not happy about being moved to designated hitter and how it was handled, has asked the Rangers to trade him. The club is trying to accommodate him but there is no deal in sight.
"It's the same situation," Daniels said. "Nothing has changed. We fully expect him to be a part of the team but at the same time we're looking at the possibilities for trades. The only thought process is we want what is best for the organization."
Young went public with his request for a trade nine days ago and hasn't been available for comment since then. He has submitted a list of eight teams that he would approve a trade to: the Rockies, Dodgers, Angels, Padres, Yankees, Cardinals, Astros and Twins. Other teams have inquired about Young, including the D-backs and the Marlins, but nothing is imminent. His contract remains a significant obstacle.
The Rangers would like to have the situation resolved one way or another by Sunday when they hold the first full-squad workout. Daniels hasn't spoken to Young lately but said the club may have to reach out to him before Sunday to discuss the situation.
Daniels said the Rangers expect Young in camp on Sunday if there is not a trade.
"I haven't heard anything to the contrary," Daniels said.
Excluding a short callup in the final days of 2000, Young is entering his 11th season with the Rangers and is signed for three more years at $16 million annually. He was the Rangers' second baseman in 2001-03 before moving to shortstop in 2004. He stayed at that position for five All-Star seasons and won a Gold Glove as a shortstop in 2008.
He switched to third base in 2009 and spent the past two seasons at the position. That changed on Jan. 5 when the Rangers announced they had signed free-agent third baseman Adrian Beltre to a six-year, $96 million contract. At the time, Young publicly said that he would be willing to make room for Beltre by moving to a new role of designated hitter and "super utility" infielder.
"With him in that role, we could be a very strong, deep versatile team," Daniels said. "That's the way the club was put together and that's still our plan."
But Young has since backed away from the position after learning that the Rangers were still including him in trade discussions with other teams while also showing interest in free-agent designated hitters Jim Thome and Manny Ramirez. All of that has led to his request to be traded.
At some point the Rangers would like to get this situation resolved one way or another. But right now a trade continues to be a diminishing possibility.
"We'll take it a day at a time," Daniels said. "I don't want to set a deadline or anything like that. Once he's here, we'll look forward to the business of baseball and preparing the team with Michael on it. If something happens, we'll address it. Nothing has changed."
Two years ago, Young requested a trade rather than move to third base. The Rangers tried to accommodate him at that point but could not work out a deal. Young then ended the issue once and for all by rescinding his trade request and publicly stating that he would accept the move to third base.
That ended well. Elvis Andrus has flourished as the Rangers' shortstop, Young was the American League starting third baseman in the 2009 All-Star Game and the club went to the World Series in 2010.
The Rangers wouldn't mind again having some finality to this issue so that it doesn't linger through Spring Training. A trade is not in sight but there are no signs of this being resolved as amicably as it was two years ago.
"The mentality of [manager Ron Washington] and the club has taken on the past few years has been straight forward," Daniels said. "Attack the challenge at hand and baseball all the time. As a group we've dealt with distractions before. We prefer it not be the case but it is and we will deal with it."