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Michael Young injury situation

Something that may have been overlooked in last night's debacle (or that just I, perhaps, overlooked) is the situation with Michael Young.  Michael Young aggravated his fractured finger, resulting in him being lifted from the game, and Will Carroll has this to say:

Michael Young left Wednesday's game after re-injuring his fractured finger. This could end his season.

If Young's season is done, he's going to end up with a .276/.331/.393 line, a very disappointing performance (with an OPS lower than, among others, Gerald Laird and Brandon Boggs at this point). 

There's been talk that it isn't really fair to judge Young on what he's put up offensively this year, because he's been playing hurt much of the season, and there's probably some merit to the notion that his injury has hampered his hitting.  Still, we've seen a steady deterioration in Young's power over the past several years, and the idea that he's going to have a Paul Molitor-esque surge in performance in his 30s seems misguided, at best.

What to do with Young going forward is one of the biggest decisions the Rangers have to make this offseason.  There's a lot of debate about his defense at shortstop, and folks like Evan Grant, T.R. Sullivan, and Tom Grieve have argued that Young is at least an average defensive shortstop.  If you believe that to be the case, then it probably doesn't make sense to move Young in the immediate future -- instead, you probably want to leave him at shortstop the next 2-3 years and use Elvis Andrus to get pitching help.

Some folks have suggested that it makes sense to slide Young over to second base and move Ian Kinsler to left field.  Personally, I think Young would be almost as much of a defensive liability at second base as he is at shortstop, while reducing the value that his arm provides.  Plus, moving Kinsler -- who I think can be a solid defensive second baseman, despite his error totals this year -- to left field reduces his value significantly.  If you think Young's best slot, long-term, is second base, you probably want to move him there either now or after next season, and use Kinsler as trade bait to try to land a top-notch starting pitcher.

The other issue is the bat, and the question of how much of this year's decline is injury-related, and how much is just the natural decline of a player in his early 30s.  If an OPS in the 725-750 range is what you're going to get from Young for the next few years, then putting him in left field -- where I think he'd be a defensive liability -- or DH is foolishness. 

So, yeah, the Young situation is a sticky one.  The Rangers are on the hook with him for $75 million over the next 5 years, he may not be good enough defensively to play a premium defensive position, and may not be a good enough hitter to stick in a CIF or DH slot.  And his mystique is such that you still have folks claiming that the Rangers shouldn't -- can't -- consider dealing him unless they are getting a haul similar to, if not better than, what Mark Teixeira brought.  So can you imagine the fallout if he was relegated to a bench role?