There are many Michael Young’s out there. At least 12.
Dessert enthusiasts, Fight Club-worshiping paintballers, and babies that have somehow learned to use Facebook are among them. Their lives tangle about the planet, crossing paths, attending colleges, and “liking” every thing from quiet walks in the forest to The Matrix to “The Phantom Tollbooth” by Norton Juster.
But one Michael Young wordlessly reported for training camp with the Texas Rangers this year, and he did it with the unsurprising professionalism expected of him by his teammates and coaches. Normally, this wouldn’t be an issue, but as he still wears the colors of an organization that “misled and manipulated” him, you’d think he’d earned the right to a tantric public meltdown or two.
Nope. Like many years before this one, he’s just quietly becoming awesome after being shifted to yet another infield position. For a man showcasing such calibration and poise even as he wishes he was somewhere else, you’d think there’d be any number of suitors pounding on his front door hoping a flirtatious smile and a position on the frontline will be enough for them to run away together.
Well, there are. Which means eventually, Michael Young is going to have to answer one very important question.
With all that’s going on, does he really have the time to become the president of the University of Washington?
Even before Chase Utley’s knee was a pin cushion of cortisone shots and weird ambiguity, there were bubbling blisters of interest popping up across the Phillies blogosphere. “Michael Young is demanding a trade,” they thought. “He’s not bad. Let’s get him. Who cares if there’s not really an infield position available at the moment? Everybody wants to play here. Why wouldn’t he want to play here? Why doesn’t he want to play here? You know what, fuck him. He’s terrible.”
Then, the need for a long term second baseman became a possibility, and the stars were aligned far too perfectly for Philadelphia not to wake up with Young on its doorstep. Sadly, the thing about stockpiling the league’s best rotation over the course of a few years is that you don’t have a whole ton of cash leftover to fill your injury-holes with All-Stars.
Also, Ryan Howard doesn’t even start getting overpaid until 2012.
“Think of all the merchandise can sell!” thought the Diamondbacks executives once Michael Young became a household name, in houses where baseball players who’d like to be traded are often discussed.
The Snakes are a mess. Like actual snakes, they’re often in constant danger of being wiped off the face of the earth. So while Young would be an upgrade to most any part of their infield, the front office would naturally spit their coffee out upon spotting his $48 million price tag over three years. Also–holy shit–the differentiation in his home and away OPS is devastating. Taking Young out of the Ballpark in Arlington is like asking him to play underwater; and the Dbacks may not have the offensive potential to back him up.
And yet, somehow, Ken Rosenthal tells us as recently as March 10 that the Diamondbacks refuse to be deterred, proceeding right along with their master secret totally public plan, head held high. No one’s sure if it’s true. And they’re too depressed to care.
The Cubs are proof that if you look at a deal long enough, it can become good. In this case, it’s Young for Kosuke Fukudome. Why? Because the Cubs have an open wound at second base. Starlin Castro’s out there at short, chucking double play balls to no one. But that’s why any team is on this list.
“Hey, what about that Fukudome thing you just said,” you’re saying, scrolling madly throughout this article to make sure I said that. Well, it does make sense, and it somehow ends with the Cubs only paying Young $8 million a year. I don’t handle math well. Just read it on Cubs Den.
Its a banner year in Baltimore, as free agents you’ve actually heard of have agreed to deals that willingly place them in an Orioles uniform. Derrick Lee, J.J. Hardy, Mark Reynolds, and Vlad Guerrero have joined a team of jammed pistols, all waiting for that chance to remedy their personal misfires; or produce with a base beneath them that’s capable of offering some kind of support.
Of course, three of the aforementioned new signings are filling out the O’s infield. The last spot, second base, will go to Brian Roberts, the same guy whose watched a revolving door of infielders wave hello and good bye in the breadth of 162 games since 2001. Cracks in this model include Lee’s thumb and Roberts’ age not being able to wait for the O’s front office to catch up with him. Could Young fit in here? Have the Oriole used up all of their free agent off/preseason steam? Let’s ask the soul of Orioles baseball, Cal Ripken, Jr.
When a solid player demands a trade, suddenly a lot of things look like a perfect fit. But Young’s age, cost, and fielding are putting the brakes on many a deal. The truth is, the Rangers tossed Young around like a cat in a washing machine, and he’s climbing out pissed. Nobody likes feeling undervalued by their employers, and opting out seems like the best route for the career decent human being. It just may not be the best route for everybody else.