The Texas Rangers are exploring trade options for five-time
All-Star shortstop Michael Young at the player's request after he
became upset about the team's plan to move him to third base.
Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said Sunday night during a
hastily called conference call that the team has looked into trade
possibilities but remains hopeful Young will remain in Texas.
"Our desire is for Michael to play third base," Daniels said.
"Obviously though, he's got to buy into what we're doing."
The Rangers would like to move Young to third to make room for
highly touted prospect Elvis Andrus at shortstop. The 20-year-old
Andrus came to Texas in July 2007 in the trade that sent Mark
Teixeira to Atlanta.
Daniels said he and manager Ron Washington met with the
32-year-old Young last month about the direction of the team and
moving to third base.
"Reluctant, reluctant," Daniels said, describing Young's
reaction. "He explained to us that he's worked extremely hard to
make himself a shortstop. Obviously in 2004, he volunteered to move
from second base to shortstop. That kind of shows the team-first
character that has been a stable of his personality and really has
made himself an outstanding player."
Daniels said he hasn't spoken to Young since before New Year's
Day, but has had conversations with the player's agent.
Young switched from second base to shortstop in the spring of
2004 after the Rangers traded Alex Rodriguez to the New York
Yankees. Rodriguez moved from shortstop to third to accommodate
Young has been selected to the All-Star team as a shortstop
every season since, and last year earned his first AL Gold Glove
He is a career .300 hitter, though his streak of five
consecutive 200-hit seasons was snapped in 2008 when he was
hampered by a fractured right ring finger the last two months of
the season. He was the AL batting champion in 2005 when he hit
Young next season begins the five-year, $80 million contract
extension he signed during spring training in 2007 that prevented
him from becoming a free agent. Young is due about $62 million over
the next five seasons since some of the money was paid as a signing
bonus and more is deferred.
That contract was second-largest in team history, behind only
the $252 million, 10-year contract Rodriguez got in December 2000.
Young, a minor leaguer when traded from Toronto to Texas in
2000, is the Rangers' longest-tenured player. He played in two
games that season and then 106 as a rookie in 2001.
Daniels said there is a "level of interest" from other teams
about Young, but that there have been no proposed deals that would
make sense for Texas. The GM still is hopeful Young will agree to
the switch, something that had been expected during his contract
that goes through the 2013 season.
"We are going to continue to talk to him and hope to come to a
resolution where he agrees that's the best thing for the club,"
Daniels said. "We have not reached that point."
Andrus hit .295 with four home runs, 65 RBIs and 56 stolen bases
in 118 games for Double-A Frisco last season. He had a .944
fielding average with 32 errors.
The Rangers still have two-time All-Star third baseman Hank
Blalock, but he is expected to be the team's primary designated
hitter. Blalock was limited to 123 games the last two season by
injuries, including problems with his right shoulder. Blalock
volunteered last season to move to first base.
Ramon Vazquez started a team-high 60 games at third base last
season, and rookie Chris Davis and Blalock each started 31. Davis
is expected to be the team's starting first baseman this season.