While I was quite enthusiastic to bid farewell to Frank Francisco, the always-astute Joey Matschulat over at BBTiA wonders here about the affect this trade will have on the bullpen.
I neglected to mention yesterday that trading away Francisco most likely means that Neftali Feliz will remain the Rangers’ closer, as opposed to switching to the rotation. I’m fine with this, but there quite a lot of fans who disagree with me on this point.
I’ve also learned that last year Napoli started 70 games for the Angels at 1B. This was mostly due to need, since Kendry Morales broke his ankle in that freak celebration accident.
That just means that Napoli is even more versatile than I thought. Not only can he catch and DH, but he can also play solid 1st base.
It also brings up the question of whether or not we actually need Michael Young.
There has been a lot of speculation that a Michael Young trade is imminent, and the reasons are definitely persuasive enough to make me stop and think.
Ken Rosenthal brought up the facts here that:
1) Michael Young is under contract for the next 3 years at a staggering $16 million/year
2) With Adrian Beltre at 3rd base for the next 5-6 years, Young has been relegated to a role as a super-utility man/DH, a role he’s too young for
3) After the deal with Beltre, they announced Young would DH, but then continued to pursue Jim Thome, Manny Ramirez, Vladdy, and finally traded for Napoli
4) With Napoli capable of playing 1B/DH, Young’s role is further threatened
5) In May, Young will achieve full veto power of any trade due to the 10/5 rule (10 years in the majors, at least 5 years with one team)
6) The Colorado Rockies were interested in Young at the Winter Meetings to be their 2nd baseman
So if those are the reasons why we should trade Michael Young, then what are the reasons why we shouldn’t?
1) Face of the franchise
2) MY has said in the past that he wants to stay in Texas
But #2 may not apply any more considering his current role. He may decide that he’d rather go somewhere else to get the opportunity to play full-time offense and defense.
Michael Young said here that he doesn’t see himself as a DH, and he considers this a temporary move. But if he thinks that way, he must be thinking about another team, because Beltre is here to stay.
Okay, maybe Michael is seeing himself at another infield position. Let’s look at those options.
He couldn’t possibly be thinking of taking over for Elvis. Just 2 years ago, before Elvis was proven to be Major League-ready, the Rangers asked Michael to give up his role as shortstop, so they’re not likely to switch back now. Especially since Elvis has shown that he is far superior defensively.
Did Young see himself as a first baseman? That’s a position that has suffered since the loss of Mark Tiexiera. But with Mitch Moreland just coming up and the recent acquisition Napoli, that’s pretty much out as a permanent position for MY.
I could see him at 2nd base, but Kinsler is signed through 2012 (with an option for 2013). Plus, Kinsler and Young are good friends, so I can’t really see Young expecting to push Kinsler out.
So Michael must be envisioning himself with another team, right? Who knows.
Although it seems that Colorado would be a good fit for a trade, MLBtraderumors.com says here that the Rockies are financially tapped out.
The fans would throw a fit. Young has spent 10 years (his entire career) as a Ranger. Even though the Rangers have gained a lot more fans after their World Series trip last year, I don’t know if they’d be willing to risk all the fans they’d lose if they traded Young.
There’s also the “clubhouse factor” to consider, as Richard Durrett of RSPN Dallas points out here. Michael is the unquestioned team captain, even if he doesn’t have a “C” on his uniform. Could the Rangers handle the 2011 player turnover without Young as a buffer?
These are some definitely some points that merit discussion. But I’m 99% sure that if the Rangers do plan to trade Young, they will be very upfront about it and will include him in the discussions.
I can’t imagine them blindsiding him with a trade. The respect him too much for that.