UPDATE: Please insert the name "Jim Reeves" where you see "Richard Durrett." Apologies, Richard. Seems like you're being pretty objective about this.
Dear Michael Young,
You’ve been a very good player for the Rangers for a long time. Let’s be honest, you don’t have the raw talent that Hamilton or A-Rod does, but you’ve been really good and you’ve launched yourself into the “greatness echelon” by being a hard-working, no-excuses, team-leading player. It also helped that you were on some really bad teams. My childhood friend, Bart Shaw, used to always say, “If you want to win, play with winners. If you want to look good, play with losers.” Well, let me tell you, some of those Ranger teams made you look REALLY good.
You looked like such a team player when we traded away A-Rod and Soriano pitched a fit about wanting to play second. You “graciously” offered to move to shortstop (a far more prestigious position than second). You picked up the flag and the led the charge.
I LOVED watching you play second. I was ECSTATIC when you moved to short, because I thought it was great that A-Rod leaving to go to the Yankees meant I could watch my favorite player play my favorite position to watch… I have to admit, I kept looking for you on web gems (ESPN’s Baseball Tonight defensive highlight reel). I never saw you. It seemed like the ball was always just a bit out of your reach. But it was okay, because we sucked anyways and you were out there with your David Eckstein work ethic and I just learned to accept bad play as long as it was accompanied with good effort. That was kind of the way things always went with Texas Rangers baseball.
Then, they asked you to move to third because we had a really amazing shortstop prospect in Elvis Andrus. You demanded a trade… Then you retracted and said you’d do what was best for the team. I’ll admit, I was upset that they asked you to move, but I was having a hard time keeping buried the truth that I knew deep down. You really weren’t that good at shortstop. I’m sorry. I know it is heresy. But you weren’t. I don’t really think the Gold Glove that you won at SS is really any kind of evidence of your defensive prowess. It’s one of the phoniest awards in all of professional sports. Anybody that actually watched Rafael Palmeiro play the field can tell you that he should not have been awarded a Gold Glove… 3 times. Bad defenders win Gold Gloves ALL. THE. TIME.
Okay, but I was happy for you, because I really thought you’d be great at third. I thought your problem at short was mobility and range. But it turns out that your reflexes are not that quick and anyone that has ever played third base at any level knows that if you don’t react immediately, you’re gonna be lucky to get out of the way, let alone make a play.
I’ll be completely honest. The two things that bothered me the most about the 2010 regular season Texas Rangers were 1) Vlad’s baserunning, and 2) your defense. “Past a diving Michael Young” was a regular broadcast phrase. Hey, I appreciate the fact that you dove. Most years, diving for the ball would’ve been all I cared about. Once upon a time, Ranger fans didn’t deserve to have the ball caught, because our teams were so bad. We were just happy to see guys out there trying. It shocks me how far we lowered our standards. In 2010, everything changed. Diving for the ball wasn’t enough. Vlad getting thrown out trying to stretch a single into a double wasn’t admirable. It was despicable. The standards have been raised.
You ALWAYS talked about wanting to win. You got a taste of it last year. Wasn’t it great? I was really happy for you. You’d waited for so long. I was willing to forget about your defense and just be happy for our fearless leader… Then you did your matador impression on A-Rod’s smash double in Game 1 of the ALCS. I tried to let it go. I tried to not be angry. Then after the game, you said:
“I would have loved to have made it. I don’t know if I could have made it. He hit it hard and it took kind of a tricky hop at the end. I would have loved for it to find my glove, but I’m not going to lose any sleep over that play, that’s for sure.”
Man. That really was not the right thing to say. It really showed that you thought your level of defense was acceptable. I’m sure that this is not all your fault. Look at how this organization has lauded you. Look at how the fans have adored you. Look at how the media has worshipped you. Of course you think you’re good. Somewhere along the way, the line between self-confident pride in your work and blinding pride got very blurry for you. For me, it was that night, that I was 100% committed to this idea: If our team was going to continue to improve, we were going to have to find a solution to your defensive shortcomings.
Defensively, Adrian Beltre is that solution. DH with occasional starts at 2B, 3B, and 1B is a very appropriate strategy for you at this stage of your career.
Plus, your bat is slowing down. Do I need to remind you of all the double plays you hit into and all the walks you DIDN’T take because you were pressing to get to 200 hits? I didn’t think so. A little extra rest might extend your career. Heck, it’s not impossible to think you might, just might, get close to 3,000 hits before this is all over. A few at-bats being taken away from you and given to Napoli, Moreland, and Murphy would not hurt you. Well, it might hurt your ego. But if winning is so important to you (which you’ve always said it is), maybe you could swallow that pride and take one for the team.
I know what you’re thinking. “But I’ve already taken so many for the team.” Really? REALLY??!!!?? The ONLY time you’ve willingly moved positions was when you moved to short. Of course you’d want to move to short. Like I said, it is a premiere position. But you threw a fit about moving to third, and yet the media still applauded you for taking one for the team. If you’d done it without whining, that would’ve been taking one for the team. And here you go again. Throwing another fit.
“I've kept a low profile out of respect for the team, the coaching staff, my family and the fans because I didn't want to put anybody on an unnecessary roller-coaster," Young said. "Now, I think it's important to address the inaccurate portrayal that is being painted. The suggestion that I've simply had a change of heart and asked for a trade is a manipulation of the truth."
"I want to be traded because I've been misled and manipulated and I'm sick of it.”
"I know the truth and Jon Daniels knows the truth and I will sleep well."
Here’s the deal, Face. You are getting paid $80MM by this ballclub over the length of your current contract. You are owed $16MM next season and you will NOT be the best option from our roster for any of the 9 defensive positions. You were terrible last year, offensively and defensively. And yet, this ballclub is still willing to pay you SIXTEEN MILLION DOLLARS to not be a defensive liability to this team.
It boggles my mind that someone who underperformed last year is crying about the role that he will play when he will be paid handily. Do you know that the school district for the city you play in is undergoing MASSIVE budget cuts? Good teachers that I work with everyday who did one hell of a job teaching last year will not have a say in where or what they will teach next year. I’ll be happy to earn my $40K, even if they move me back to 7th grade math. I’ll consider myself blessed to still be employed in this economy.
It further boggles my mind that you have been such a nice guy through your career, that it has bought you the sympathy of so many Michael Young fans. Ordinarily, we would call them Texas Rangers fans but they’re all saying that they will never watch the Rangers again because of the way that Jon Daniels has disrespected you.
By the way, who negotiated that $80MM contract that is millions above the value of your skill set? Oh yeah, it was Jon Daniels. But, by all means, go ahead and tell Evan all about how mean Jon Boy is. He’ll defend you. TR Sullivan will defend you. Richard Durrett will defend you. The list goes on and on.
They’ll all paint Jon Daniels as the bad guy. Jon Daniels. Yeah he’s the guy who traded Danks for McCarthy and Adrian Gonzalez for Adam Eaton. But he’s also the guy who traded for Josh Hamilton, Nelson Cruz, Elvis Andrus, Cliff Lee, and signed Vladimir Guerrero and Colby Lewis (the lone winner of the 3 postseason home victories in Arlington). And like I said, he’s the guy who gave you $80MM. Be my guest. JD doesn’t really care what you say about him. He just wants to win. Your agenda, it seems, is a bit more complex than that. You want to win AND have your ego stroked.
All the fans talk about what a great leader you are. But the two most memorable things you’ve ever said were two of the worst leadership quotes I’ve heard. In the ALCS, you showed a lack of heart and an excess of ego. Tonight, you showed that you don’t trust management and now you’re gonna pick up your toys and go home. Wow. Classic.
Mike. I genuinely mean this next part: You were my favorite player. For along time. It's always hard to say goodbye to favorite players, but I've done it before and wished them the best. Before tonight, I had nothing but the best wishes for you. However, you've just made it a lot easier for me to say goodbye. And instead of best wishes, all I have to say to your sorry, arrogant self is this: