At this point in the Michael Young saga, with no trade imminent or even likely, we are faced with the prospect of an unhappy player reporting to Spring Training and the entire Texas Rangers team subject to a daily barrage of questions about the lack of trade and what it means from every possible angle.
Initially, this fills many of us with feelings of dread and discomfort. I’ve seen some lament that this should be a time of positive energy for the Rangers, coming off their most successful season in their franchise history.
However, if we reflect on the 2010 Texas Rangers, we might remember that in addition to the talented group of players, one element that certainly beneficial was their resiliency in the face of adversity. That team survived a front office with severe budget restrictions, the media circus surrounding a major league franchise auctioned off in bankruptcy court, the complete collapse of Scott Feldman and the miserable performances provided by the new "ace" Rich Harden.
Of all the moments in the season, my lowest was when they surrendered a massive lead to the Yankees in game one of the ALCS. We punched them right in the mouth and they got up and stole the game from us. I was terrified of being swept at that point; it seemed like our young group of over achievers wasn’t prepared to deal with the pressure of the situation. They played game two like the previous night had never happened. They came out aggressive and energetic and showed they were the better team.
One of the thoughts I felt and heard from others after we slew the Yankees beast was that it couldn’t get any better than that. We seemed unstoppable, but I think the pressure got released a little bit and we weren’t quite as focused for the World Series as we could have been.
Teams need a little adversity to help push them to succeed. They need the motivation that an "us versus them" or "nobody believes in us" attitude creates. There is an advantage to persevering through troubled times and coming out the other side… there’s a mental toughness that is developed from dealing with challenges.
If this were a case of a player / manager feud or between teammates, I would have more concern that it could be divisive, but the GM isn’t a part of the clubhouse. I think it will bring the team closer together as other Rangers who certainly think highly of Michael Young will endeavor to protect him from the media and fans who question his desire. And Young will certainly be motivated to show everyone and especially Jon Daniels what he’s still capable.
Instead of a distraction or detriment, I think this is just the sort of adversity a club needs to galvanize it. The Rangers have overcome far worse than this.