The future of Michael Young is one of the greatest enigma's facing this team. He is commonly credited with being a strong veteran presence and given credit for setting a tone that has been followed by many of the team's younger players. This past year he experienced a drop off in his offensive numbers, and while he may not be the next Paul Molitor, it would not surprise me to see him get back up to .300 and stay there for another four or five years. His defensive limitations, however, are more alarming, and it could easily be argued that improved range at SS could help our pitching staff tremendously.
Everyone around here knows all of this, and they know about his looming contract. His tradability and his market value has long been debated. But I wonder if he still could present value to another team in a different situation than the Rangers.
Namely, the Dodgers.
The Dodgers are about to see a huge sum of money come off their books with Manny, Lowe, Penny, Maddox, Blake, Furcal and others leaving via free agency. They still have a glut of young talent, and they appear to be headed to at least the second round of the playoffs this year(and with their pitching staff, quite possibly beyond). But a team losing this much talent, veteran experience and player name recognition will be looking to replace those things this winter. Especially a team with the financial resources the Dodgers enjoy. While it is possible they look to keep some of the previously mentioned players, Furcal stands to be one of the most sought after FA's this winter and may be difficult to retain. The Dodgers had a slew of injuries hurt their middle infield this year, with Furcal and Garciaparra missing a lot of time. Young's durability is taken for granted around here but probably not in LA. All of this leads me to believe that it is possible the Dodgers could place a higher value on Young than the Rangers next season and beyond. That he happens to be from southern California is not a huge factor, but is something to consider.
The Rangers would not, and could not, ask the world for Young. Guys like Kershaw, Billingsly, Ethier and Kemp should not be realistically considered. But what about a package like LHP Scott Elbert, LHP Hong Chih Kuo and SS Chin Iung Hu? Elbert no longer looks to be a future front end starter because of his injuries, but he could easily settle in as a dominant left handed reliever over time. Kuo made huge strides this year in their bullpen and but he has started in the past and could do so for the Rangers, meeting a dire need for a left handed starter, and Hu could step in and give the Rangers a plus defensive SS for a year or two while Andrus continues to develop (his offensive limitations are easier to forgive with a team like the Rangers than with a team like the Dodgers). I know that is three guys currently on the 40, and that is something to consider, but I didn't feel like mining their minor league pages for other names...
Is such a deal possible? Am I asking for too much, or too little?