Community Archive of Mike Young 3B Move

Inevitably, the handling of Mike Young's move to 3B will be brought up in future discussions as a critical moment in the evolution of the team. It will be reinterpreted and reanalyzed as the Rangers either make their way toward being World Series Champions or fire John Daniels sometime within the 2009 to 2013 seasons. I thought it would be useful to put together a compilation of reports as a reference for future debates. I know there is nothing new here. It's purely a reference. I put a lot of stuff below and organized it according to the major topics. Everyone is welcome to suggest additions.

The event:

Rangers general manager Jon Daniels and manager Ron Washington informed Young shortly after the winter meetings that the team wanted him to play third to clear a spot for top shortstop prospect Elvis Andrus, 20. Club president Nolan Ryan did not attend the meeting.

Young's first reaction:

Rangers shortstop Michael Young wants to be traded rather than move to third base. ... given the Rangers a small list of teams for which he would waive his no-trade clause ... His request came in mid-December after Rangers general manager Jon Daniels and manager Ron Washington informed him ... Young said he pondered the possibility for several days, then requested a trade through his agent, Dan Lozano

Trade rumors that emerged:

Rangers quietly shopping Young, Dec 9
The Texas Rangers are quietly shopping shortstop Michael Young, said an AL executive whose team is in the market for a shortstop. ... The executive said the Rangers seek pitching – preferably young pitching – for Young
Teams asking about Young, Dec 9
The Mets, Angels, Dodgers and Royals are among several teams to inquire here about the availability of shortstop extraordinaire Michael Young of the Texas Rangers. The Rangers are not shopping Young, but they are willing to listen to overtures on just about anyone, and that includes the five-time All-Star who won a Gold Glove in 2008 and has spent his entire career with Texas.
Rosenthal Winter Meeting Blog Entry, Dec 11
The chances of the Rangers trading shortstop Michael Young appear minimal. Teams are asking the Rangers about Young because of the thin market for shortstops, but the team is unlikely to seriously consider such a deal, according to major-league sources.
Young to White Sox for Dye/Poreda, Jan 9
Williams, via e-mail, said he "would not waste" time chasing rumors the Sox might re-sign starting pitcher Jon Garland, a free agent, or have a big deal working with the Rangers involving All-Star shortstop Michael Young, veteran outfielder Jermaine Dye and top pitching prospect Aaron Poreda.
Nationals discussed Young, Jan 12
The Nats will not be among the players for Texas Rangers shortstop Michael Young. The two teams have had some basic discussions, but it figures to end at that.

Young's second response

Rosenthal's report on Young's trade request, Jan 12
Rangers shortstop Michael Young wants to be traded rather than move to third base. ... Young, 32, told on Sunday night

Young's perspective on the meeting

That's the thing that shocked me at first — I thought there would be more dialogue talking about a move like that ... After spending the first eight years of my career here, being productive, making sure I was on the field, I didn't think I would be in position where I would be told exactly what was going to happen, where my job would be taken from me like it has been.
I'm not playing third base. I'm pretty adamant about my stance. I told them I wanted to be traded. The biggest misconception is that I was asked to move to third base. I was never asked. I was flat-out told. I was told I was playing third base. I felt that I had absolutely no say. I don't feel like there was any discussion or dialogue about the matter. ... At this point in my career, I didn't think it was fair to move.
I know how it was presented to me and I felt I was never given the opportunity to keep my job
I haven't been extremely reluctant to any requests, I've been extremely reluctant to any demands. ... It's about the message being sent to my teammates ... It doesn't matter how productive you've been, how hard you've worked or how many sacrifices you've made, your job can be torn away from you. ... I've done everything I can to be a team player. I have been loyal and respectful and accountable to my teammates. But this comes down to my job as a player. It's not like moving from second to leadoff in the lineup. Shortstop is my job. I've worked hard at it. I've earned it. I don't think I've done anything to have it taken away. ... Young was asked if he might feel differently about the position switch if he felt he had a choice in the matter. "That's difficult to say, but it wasn't presented that way,"

JD's perspective on the meeting

"Did I leave it for him to decide?" Daniels asked and answered. "No, I didn't. Did I want him to be an active part of the process? Yes.
Obviously, Michael took issue with the word choice that I used, but I also wanted to put it honestly ... Clearly this was the direction we felt we needed to go. Rather than sugarcoat it, I thought it was the best course of action to be honest and lay it out the way we wanted it to happen. ... I completely understand his sentiments, but I don't agree with the term that we're tearing his job away from him. If anything, we're asking him to take on a more prominent role. Not necessarily moving from short to third -- you can argue that either way. We're asking him not only to play third base but also help a 20-year-old shortstop who could benefit from his experience and knowledge of the game. That's a big reason why we think it will work. ... I don't feel we presented it as an ultimatum or tried to run it down his throat ... We tried to do it softly and explain it to him. My goal was he would agree to it and buy into it.
We asked Michael -- it's a matter of semantics: asked, requested, told, begged -- to move to third base

Nolan's response

I think what was important was to present it to him and see how he felt about it and see what his reaction was and give him time to give it some thought and see if it's something he can be comfortable with or if it was something he was totally opposed to. ... He deserves some time to think about it ... If somebody had asked me to go to the bullpen instead of starting, I'd have to give that a lot of thought. ... Ryan said Young has not been given a deadline or ultimatum.

Ron Washington's Response

Everybody knows how I feel about Michael," manager Ron Washington said. "I'm sure it was a shock to him, but he's a professional. He needs time to think about it ... I've always said that he's one of the best I've ever seen at catching anything he can get to. Being the athlete that he is, I'm sure he can make any adjustment that he wants to.

Trade Market Response

Michael Young: Here’s one person’s belief that the Twins are a good match for Michael Young. Young’s name first came up during the winter meetings but the feeling I got from the Twins was that his contract was a hindrance. Since then, there have been stories published in which scouts were noted as saying Young no longer has the range to play short and doesn’t have the power to play third. I still get the feeling the Twins aren’t interested.
To trade Young, the Rangers likely would have to eat a huge chunk of his contract and accept a deal that probably would not yield topflight prospects. Put it this way," one GM said. "If the Rangers offered up Michael Young for free -- with that contract, I don't think there would be any takers." Said another GM: "Good luck moving that contract." There is some question among rival executives about how much production Young would generate outside the bandbox in Arlington, where his OPS in the past three seasons has been 100 points higher than it has been on the road. And, fair or not, the idea that Young -- who has had a pristine reputation in the game -- is balking at a position change raises doubts about what kind of employee he will be in the last years of his career.

Rangers management on why

To try and get where we want to be and win a championship, we want to get all our championship players on the field ... We feel Michael is a championship player and we feel Elvis will be one in short order ... Elvis brings several things ... He's going to be a premium defensive shortstop. ... He has aptitude and maturity beyond his age. He can handle the bat. I don't know how much power he'll have, but he can steal bases and do the little things. ... If we had [All-Star third baseman] Evan Longoria at Triple-A, we wouldn't be asking Michael to do this. But we don't have one. We have a premium shortstop. ... There was still some consideration about giving Andrus one season at Triple-A before asking Young to make the move. But the Rangers feel he's close to being ready and don't have any other any alternatives at third base. It's a weak free-agent market at that position, and the Rangers are clearly reluctant to go with Travis Metcalf.
However, Daniels said that the Rangers did not want to ask Young to change positions at mid-season — a scenario that could arise if the team signed a stopgap at third base, started Andrus at Class AAA and then promoted him during the summer.

AJM's debunking of a conspiracy theory

Now, to be clear, I think the Rangers would be open to trading Young, if they could get his contracts off the books and get something nice back in return. I'm not suggesting Tom Hicks doesn't want to save money, isn't interest in shaving payroll. But the idea that wanting to move Young to third base -- something that a lot of us have been urging needs to be done for some time, something that others around the league think is a logical and expected move -- is motivated by a desire to anger Young so he'd waive his no-trade clause, when there's clearly no market for him? Come on. Even if you think Daniels and Hicks are that incompetent, surely Nolan Ryan isn't that bumbling and clownish, is he?

Contract Information for Mike Young

He's owed $59 million in salary the next five seasons. That's $11 million in 2009 and 2010, $12 million in 2011 and 2012 and $13 million in 2013. A total of $9.24 million is deferred. That's $870,000 in 2009 and 2010 and $2.5 million in 2011-2013.

Mike Young Agrees to Move to 3B and He Hates JD

I was adamant about what I wanted to do. Young said. Now it's time to put this behind us. My focus is on playing third base for the Rangers and being the best third baseman I can be.
My conversations with Nolan were especially productive ... At the end of the day, there are certain factors that come into this. One is pride. Absolutely I'm proud. Pride isn't something you can shut on and off. Nolan understood that. If you're not proudly resistant to something like this, what does that say about your past, what does that say about your future? ... I don't think this is the time for me to switch positions. I think I'm playing well. But it's not my call. My responsibility is to 24 other guys. I've talked to many of them over the past few days and they support me. But I have to be fair.
BTW, Young said he hasn't talked to general manager Jon Daniels and doesn't plan to. When pressed about communicating with Daniels, Young said: "I don't have anything to say."
In my heart, I'm a middle infielder. I don't believe the team was really pursuing a trade. They were trying to get me to play third base. So, I didn't see much of a point in letting this thing drag on.
I did think toward the end of my career I'd get asked to move. And knowing shortstops are moved late in their careers, I thought I'd move. I thought it would be back to second. I never thought it would be third base.

Nolan's Response to Young's Decision

Talk about Michael's announcement today.
I think we have to commend Michael for making this decision. I think he realized there wasn't going to be a lot accomplished by letting this linger and I think he felt he wanted to stay with the ballclub and is a big part of our organization and has been. I think he understands that and appreciates that and I think he felt like what was in the best interest of the ballclub is what he wanted to do and I think that's why he came to this decision early so we can get ready for spring training.
Do you think in retrospect that you should have been in the initial meeting with Michael?
It falls on the GM to be the one because they're the ones in direct contact with the players. If you look back on what happened, it probably took Michael by surprise and if I had been there with Jon it still would have taken him by surprise at this point in time that we were asking him to make his move. He was aware we had Elvis in our organization and we were looking at how we put the best team on the field and he certainly comes into play with that. It was just a matter of Michael getting comfortable with it.
What does this say about Young?
I think what it says is he's definitely a team player, he definitely wants to win. When you make a decision of this nature, there's no crystal balls that tell you it's the right time. But we feel Elvis is ready, we feel it's the right time, so we chose to do it this off-season. We're going to go to spring training and not have that hanging over our heads.

LSB Stories

Michael Young reportedly demands to be traded
A Young trade -- what would be the implications?
Nolan Speaks on MY
Michael Young quotes -- he's not happy
More Michael Young quotes
Monday a.m. things
Rob Neyer on Michael Young
Some thoughts on the MY situation
The latest on the Michael Young situation
Tuesday morning stuff
Olney: Execs, agents "appalled" by Young's behavior
Jim Reeves confuses me
More Jon Daniels quotes on the Michael Young situation
Wednesday a.m. things
This Michael Young "it's all about the money" meme
Two members of the press get it Thursday Morning
Keith Law weighs in on Andrus
MY Agrees to Play Third
More from Michael Young

Role of Rangers players

Ian Kinsler:
"I think he was instrumental in helping get this done," club president Nolan Ryan told me last week.
"It was more trying to get his mind right, back in the right state of mind, I guess you could say," Kinsler said of his daily conversations with Young as the drama played out. "It was a tough period of time for him.

"You kind of take a step back and you try to understand what the organization is trying to do. We basically talked through the whole thing."

It wasn’t that Kinsler was necessarily offering advice at every turn. He was just there when Young needed him, quietly reminding him that the most important thing, in the end, was winning.

"I didn’t turn to him so much for advice, but he knows me pretty well and he knows what my thoughts were," Young said. "I felt like, as a good friend and a good teammate, he had a right to know the details. He listened well and that’s pretty much what I needed at that point."
Hank Blalock and Marlon Byrd:
Ian Kinsler wasn’t the only Rangers teammate Michael Young consulted during his spat with the club about moving to third base. He also talked to Hank Blalock and Marlon Byrd regularly during the ordeal.

"It’s always great when you have teammates you can lean on, both on and off the field," Young said.
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