Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Michael Young gets no love!

As the Rangers prepare to overspend on Adrian Beltre out of desperation, one player is taking yet another on for the team. Michael Young is a perennial player. You can count on his numbers like clockwork and he almost never gets seriously injured. Almost anybody would sign up for a .300/.347/.448 line over a ten year period from a middle infielder, yet Young remains one of the most underappreciated players in the league.

It started when Young moved from second base to shortstop when Alex Rodriguez was moved in 2004. Young performed relatively well there despite not having the greatest range in the world. When Elvis Andrus came up in 2009, Young moved from short to third base to make room for the prospect. Now that the Rangers are likely bringing in Beltre, Young will have to move from third base to designated hitter. Even though he's going to be 34 next season, Young has plenty of athleticism to continue at third and is probably moving to DH prematurely.

After losing out on the Cliff Lee sweepstakes, the Rangers seem desperate to make a splash. Beltre will hit with more power than Young and play better defense but isn't likely enough of an upgrade to offset the cost incurred in signing him and the lack of defensive help that the Rangers will experience by taking Young out of the field. While he isn't a magician with the glove, he still has fielding value.

Young is one of the "good guys" of Major League Baseball. He doesn't complain, he doesn't take at-bats off nor show up unready to play. He gets along with his teammates, is a leader in the clubhouse and has played the game with dignity for a decade. Once again he is taking one for the team by shifting to DH before his athleticism declines to the point where he is relinquished to that role. Some franchise players would complain about this and demand a trade or make a scene in the media. Unsurprisingly, Young has remained quiet on the situation and is handling it like a true pro because he thinks it may be the best thing for his team.

Kudos to Michael Young for taking yet another one for the team and being a pro's pro. While he largely goes unnoticed, I appreciate Michael Young in an era of Tweets and Sportscenter. Stay classy, Michael Young.

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