Back in January, after being shunned (in favor of less money) by Cliff Lee, the Texas Rangers made a first base like stretch and landed their big free agent: Adrian Beltre. While I’m not going to argue the merits of the Beltre acquisition, it did create a problem.
What will happen with incumbent three-bagger Michael Young?
At first, Young said he wanted a trade. Then he said he would consider a move to DH, with added insurance that he will log several games as a utility player. Now, just this past week, Young said he is through with the Rangers and wants a divorce.
Without hearing the details, Michael Young is coming off like an insecure woman who started her marriage fat, got skinny and now thinks that after a few guys texted her their wiener, the only way to get what she wants from her husband is to throw a stink and not give him his car back. (inside joke)
Does Young have reason to feel insecure? Sure. He’s been moved twice already. While he’s never really been known for his defensive prowess, he did earn a golden glove recently. The Rangers also acquired part-time DH Mike Napoli from the Blue Jays.
But he’s getting paid 40+ million dollars to sit on the bench and or DH. He should shut up right?
I don’t care about that. What I care about is what the Rangers are going to do. I have no doubt in my mind that Young will show up for spring training, be a gentlemen and go about his business. He loves his teammates too much to be a no-show or cause a fuss.
How can the Rangers get out of this crap heap without getting screwed? Let’s play fantasy for a second.
Let’s assume that a certain first baseman in St. Louis, who is also unhappy with his current team, were to waive his no trade clause and come to Texas. Would it be worth the price? What would the Rangers give?
First, gotta throw Michael Young in the deal. He can play three infield positions and the Cardinals could use three new infielders, especially a perennial all-star like Young.
Second, you gotta up the ante. The Cardinals, while their farm system is pretty much crap, won’t just take a bunch unproven – high talent – players in return for Pujols. It’s going to take a real player. If they have to move Berkman from the outfield to first, that will create a hole. A hole the Rangers could easily fill with one of their four outfielders. I don’t think we’re getting away with Murphey or Borbon (because 29 other teams know Borbon sucks).
The Rangers would probably have to send Nelson Cruz. But, in my opinion, it’d be worth it. Young’s bat isn’t going to stay in Arlington all year, AP’s numbers are > Cruz’, and Mitch Moreland is not even in the same zip code as Pujols in any facet of his game. Throw in the fact that Cruz himself is still much a high potential player because we haven’t seen a full, healthy, season where he hits .300.
Still, while a Young/Cruz package isn’t likely to seal the deal on a Pujols trade, it is much more than what the Cardinals would get anywhere else. Especially if Pujols just walks this December.
The Rangers would still have to dip into their farm system. Guys at the top of the list are bound to be Tanner Scheppers or Martin Perez. While most would balk at that idea, I still think it may be worth it. The Rangers still would have a wealth of young rotation arms, headed by Derek Holland. Holland has shown he can dominate in triple-A, and posted solid numbers in the majors last year (that one inning in the WS in excluded) with nearly a K an inning and an era just above 4.
I’m sure a few other low-level prospects will need to be included, but to add an MVP like Pujols to a hitters park like Arlington could create enough magic to finish off the job the Rangers started last year.
Then again, this is only fantasy. Still, I don’t think the Rangers, or their fans, should be afraid of trading fan-favorites. Four years ago we all loved Mark Teixeira. How did that turn out? Who would love to have traded Hank Blalock while he was still worth something?
What would you give for Pujols? What should the Rangers do with Young? Let me know in the comments.