Gil Lebreton has a column on the departure of Michael Young, that I think offers a little more hard-eyed take on the relationship between Young and the club, and his departure, than most of the other folks in the local media have offered.
Its worth a read, as Lebreton talks about Ron Washington's utilization of his bench and his regulars, the reality that Michael Young wouldn't have handled getting benched during 2012 well, and the fact that, for whatever reason, blame for the 2012 collapse was assigned elsewhere:
And when the Rangers' 2012 season abruptly ended in disappointment, we didn't blame Michael Young, even though he had experienced his worst season in 10 years.
No, instead, we found a convenient scapegoat in Josh Hamilton.
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I'll miss Michael Young, just as most of the media around here will.
He was always there when we needed him.
But he bears a sizeable share of the culpability for being traded last week.
I've said before that I thought "leadership" was code for, "always talks to the media and gives good quotes," and while I am mostly joking when I say that, I think there is a kernel of truth in there. For what it is worth, I think part of the reason the Rangers prioritized re-signing Ian Kinsler was because of the view that he could help fill the leadership "void," such as there is, when Young was gone. Kinsler said yesterday he thought the idea of who a leader in the clubhouse is is overrated, but also said all the right things you want to hear from someone who is expected to assume that mantle, in terms of thinking the team can win with the club it has, taking personal responsibility for not playing to his capabilities last season, and expressing a willingness to change positions if that will help the team win a championship.
If the Rangers don't have a good season in 2013, I expect we'll hear a lot about how the Rangers are missing Young's leadership. If they win in 2013, we'll hear about how others stepped up to fill the leadership void. But I also think the following is worth noting, from Evan Grant's recent column:
Along the way he’d tell C.J. Wilson to shut up, Derek Holland to grow up, Hamilton to occasionally hustle up.
There's value to that. But at the same time, as
Dan Cahill JBImaknee noted in the comments after quoting the above, C.J. Wilson never did shut up, Derek Holland still hasn't grown up, and 2012 will be remembered for Josh Hamilton not hustling.