Commentary

Michael Young: vital for Texas Rangers

In a word, 'versatility' is key, so the Rangers should pursue a 2008 Cubs idea

Originally Published: February 9, 2011
By Matt Meyers | ESPN Insider
Getty ImagesMichael Young is an expensive part of the Rangers, but in many ways a vital one.

Michael Young apparently wants out of the Texas Rangers' organization; quite frankly, it's hard to blame the guy. He was primarily a second baseman during the first few years of his career before being moved to shortstop in 2004. In 2009, he was moved to third base to make room for Elvis Andrus. This winter the Rangers signed Adrian Beltre to play third, and told Young he would be a first base/DH/utility type. Then Texas went and traded for Mike Napoli, another first baseman/DH, seemingly marginalizing Young's role even further. Accustomed to being an everyday player, Young has made it clear he'd like to be traded.

Young has long been deemed "overrated" by the sabermetric crowd -- he's basically viewed as a singles hitter who has benefited from playing in one of the best hitter's parks in baseball and is a mediocre defender. That's all true, but "overrated" doesn't mean useless. (His career OPS+ of 105 proves that he is an above-average hitter.) And based on the Rangers' current roster construction they should think long and hard about dealing the six-time All-Star. They're really going to need him.

Don't believe it? Check out these three numbers:

111
118
124

Those are the average number of games played over the last two seasons by Josh Hamilton, Nelson Cruz and Ian Kinsler, respectively. Those are the Rangers' three best offensive players, and they get hurt with a great deal of frequency. At this point, Young's greatest asset is his versatility, which is a by-product of being moved around by the Rangers so often. And with a team filled with as many injury-prone players as the Rangers, he could be a huge asset.


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