Monday, January 12, 2009

Good Luck With That, Jon Daniels

Yikes, chaos reigns in Ranger-ville.

Apparently, shortstop and face of the franchise Michael Young requested a trade because he was unhappy that the Rangers wanted him to move to third base. The Rangers have a number of intriguing shortstop prospects (i.e Elvis Andrus) who are capable of starting in 2009, which is why the Rangers want to move Young to third.
"Our desire is for Michael to play third base," Daniels said. "Obviously though, he's got to buy into what we're doing."
Anyone else find it interesting that the Rangers are asking a gold glove winner to switch positions? Young is a very good shortstop and probably believes that his best chance to help the team is at shortstop. For a noted team player, requesting a trade is certainly an interesting route to take.

So what now? Can the Rangers actually move Young?

Probably not. The Rangers signed Young to a 5 year/$80 million dollar contract extension that is set to kick in this season. Young is a fine player who can hit over .300 in his sleep and a wonderful guy to have in the clubhouse, but it is hard to justify paying a 32 year old shortstop with limited power $14 million bucks next season, especially in this market.

So I expect the trade options for Young will be limited. There are so few teams right now who need a shortstop and even fewer teams who can actually afford to take on Young's contract that a trade seems very unlikely.

With that said, I will throw out one scenario. What do you think about this?

Rangers get:
OF Vernon Wells (7 years/$126 mil)

Blue Jays get:
SS Michael Young (5 years/ $80 mil)
SP Kevin Millwood (2 years/$23 mil) *POSSIBLE VOID AFTER 2009*

There are obviously several obstacles (Wells's no trade clause, Millwood's limited no trade clause, Young's trade protection in 2009), but this deal actually makes some sense. The Blue Jays have three very good young outfielders who are very capable of playing everyday, but are missing a solid shortstop. Young would be a perfect fit, while Millwood would give the Jays some depth in the rotation until Dustin McGowan and Shaun Marcum recover from injuries.

I'm not saying that the Blue Jays would become instant competitors, but it would show their fans that they want to win and improve the roster.

For the Rangers, this deal would rid them of the a possible standoff with Young and rid them of the horrible Millwood contract. They would add a very good player in Wells, who could give Josh Hamilton some needed protection and play a gold glove caliber center field. Wells may no longer hit 30+ home runs, but he still has the ability to be a productive outfielder.

Wells's contract is one of the worst in baseball especially because it is heavily back loaded, but it could give the Rangers some much needed short term financial flexibility to go after Ben Sheets. Wells's contract does not jump to $23 million until 2011, which means that the Rangers would actually shred payroll in the short term by trading away Young and Millwood.

So how about that everybody, does that deal make sense or am I crazy?


Torgen said...

Michael Young isn't a great shortstop, no matter what the gold glove voters think. (They've given Derek Jeter three, which pretty much makes them worthless.) The Jays have nobody to play DH if they trade Wells and shift people around, and they can't afford the payroll bump from trading him for Young and Millwood, let alone signing a DH too.

Josh said...

Torgen: Good points. I guess if Vernon Wells contract was more consistent and did not contain a massive payroll bump in 2011 then it would be easier to deal him.

Very hypothetical, but how amazing would it be if the Blue Jays were actually able to pull off this trade and then signed Adam Dunn? Now that'd be a pretty good lineup.

As for the gold glove, there is no doubt that the award is overvalued and somewhat worthless. But I can understand why Young would be livid about moving positions only a year after winning the award. For a guy who worked so hard to become a quality defensive shortstop, being asked to move was probably looked at as an insult of some sort.

thanks for the comment.

Torgen said...

Dunn would have to be pretty desperate to sign with the Jays, after JP Ricciardi accused him of not having passion for the game on a call in radio show.

Josh said...

Torgen: Once again, good point. I forgot about their little spat over the summer.

In theory, Dunn would be a good fit for the Jays, but that'll obviously never happen at this point.

Thanks for the comment.