Michael Young has gone from talking about the chance of another World Series with the Rangers to wanting out of Texas.
The All-Star player who became the face of the franchise went through last-place finishes, long hot summers and rebuilding years over the past decade before finally getting to the playoffs and the World Series last season.
Right after San Francisco’s series-clinching victory last November, Young was already talking about raised expectations and trying to get back this year to win it all.
So much for the good tidings that should have come with their first American League pennant. This could instead turn into a spring of discontent for the Rangers.
Yount, their longest-tenured player, wants to be traded from the only major league team he’s ever played for, unhappy with his changing role on the team. And there is a real possibility that might not happen.
“It’s a situation where nobody comes out looking good. A valued member of the team is unhappy,” general manager Jon Daniels said before leaving Texas for Surprise, Ariz., where Rangers pitchers and catchers have their first workout Thursday.
Young requested a trade last month. The Rangers expect him to be their primary designated hitter and super utility player since the January acquisition of two-time Gold Glove third baseman Adrian Beltre. It would be Young’s third position change in eight springs.
The Rangers have been trying to accommodate Young’s trade request though they still would prefer their career hits leader be on the roster. He would get most of his at-bats as a DH while also filling in at every infield position.
Several teams have expressed interest in Young, but most want the Rangers to pay the bulk of the $46 million Young is owed over the next three seasons or are offering little in return. There are only eight teams not on Young’s no-trade list and Daniels said he won’t make a deal unless it makes the team better.
The first full-squad workout is Sunday. If there is no trade before then, the Rangers may need to have some reconciliation with Young, who has said he was “misled” and “manipulated” by the team.
Team president and co-owner Nolan Ryan has said the Rangers are excited about the role they have planned for Young, who has been a starting second baseman, shortstop and third baseman for Texas. Even if the Rangers and Young smooth out things and he stays on the team, they will still look somewhat different.
Texas couldn’t convince ace left-hander Cliff Lee to stay despite a $138 million, six-year offer. Setup reliever and former closer Frank Francisco was traded to Toronto for catcher-first baseman Mike Napoli, who could also be a DH.
Yorvit Torrealba signed a two-year deal to be the Rangers’ starting catcher, and Arthur Rhodes became the second 40-something left-hander in the bullpen. They also signed former NL Cy Young winner Brandon Webb, who hasn’t pitched in the majors since the 2009 opener because of shoulder surgery.
With Lee gone and Webb still uncertain, former reliever C.J. Wilson likely becomes the No. 1 starter after 15 wins in the craft left-hander’s first full season in the rotation. Colby Lewis was 12-13 with a 3.72 ERA last season in his return from Japan to the Rangers, and was their postseason ace last fall (3-0, 1.71 ERA in four playoff starts).
Neftali Feliz was the AL rookie of the year and set a major-league rookie record with 40 saves last season. Like Wilson last spring, the hard-throwing right-hander will get a look this spring as a possible starter.