Way back in the days when Doug Melvin was still the team's g.m., there was a debate about whether Michael Young or Frank Catalanotto should be the Rangers' starting second baseman. Some in the D/FW media claim that Jerry Narron was fired as manager by John Hart after the 2002 season in large part because he insisted on playing Young ahead of Catalanotto, even though the reality is that Hart was probably going to want to bring in his own guy no matter what Narron did in 2002.
In any case...the irony is that Catalanotto and Young ended up becoming, during their primes, very similar offensive players. Both became line-drive .300 hitters with some pop, guys who would walk some but not a lot, guys whose value was based on making solid contact and putting the ball in play, hard.
Catalanotto was signed by the Rangers prior to the awful 2007 season, and ended up being a major disappointment, ultimately getting released before the 2009 season kicked off.
I'm wondering if the experience with Catalanotto is influencing the Rangers' opinion of what the next few years hold for Michael Young, a player who, like Cat, is at a point where he doesn't really have much defensive value,
Dan Cahill has been making the comparison between Cat and Young a lot in the comments, and it prompted me to go look at their numbers.
Cat's age 33 season, as a Ranger, he posted a .260/.337/.444 line, good for a 781 OPS and a 104 OPS+.
Young's age 33 season was 2010. He posted a .284/.330/.444 line, good for a 784 OPS and a 105 OPS+.
Through age 33, Cat had a .294/.359/.453 line, good for a 812 OPS and a 109 OPS+.
Through age 33, Young has a .300/.347/.448, good for a 795 OPS and a 105 OPS+.
After age 33, Cat posted a .269/.335/.381 line, and was out of baseball after his age 36 season.
Is it possible that the Rangers foresee a similar decline on the horizon for Young, and that, moreso than the imminent 10/5 rights, is what has them trying to move Young now, rather than waiting until after the 2011 season?
Because if Young puts up a line similar to what Cat did in his age 34 season -- a .274/.342/.399 line -- then I'd be surprised if the Rangers could move him after 2011 to any team without eating at least $25 million of the $32 million he'll be owed after 2011.