Texas Rangers

Michael Young OK With Moving Again. But Where?

Your Texas Rangers whiffed on Cliff Lee and Zack Greinke, instead settling for Brandon Webb and Arthur Rhodes.

I don't mind the signing of Webb because he's another low-risk, high-reward guy. He only costs $3 million, and what if he - 18 months after a reconstructive shoulder surgery - returns anywhere near the form that won him the National League Cy Young in 2006?

The Rangers aren't counting on him. Not even penciling him into the starting rotation. Sometimes these gambles work out. Mostly - see Jason Jennings and Rich Harden - they don't.

As for the 41-year-old Rhodes, apparently the Rangers are trying the unique strategy of stocking their bullpen with ancient lefties. Along with 40-something Darren Oliver, I hear they're close to signing Vida Blue, Jon Matlack and Mickey Lolich.

To distract us from the fact that they'll enter 2011 without an authentic pitching ace, the Rangers are apparently about to sign free-agent third baseman Adrian Beltre. He has spurned offers from the Oakland A's and Anaheim Angels, has some pop in his bat and ... wait, don't we already have a third baseman?

I believe he goes by the name of Face O' The Franchise.

To his credit, Michael Young is saying all the right things yet again. (I know, for $16 million a year I'd happily become the Observer's janitor.) He'll switch positions - he went from second to short for Alfonso Soriano and from short to third for Elvis Andrus - to make room for the 31-year-old Beltre, who last year for the Red Sox hit .321 with 28 homers and 102 RBI.

My question is "Where?"

As detailed in this lil' corner of the blogosphere last Fall, Young's range/reactions at third became a liability. (Remember how A-Rod's hot grounder paralyzed Young in Game 1 of the ALCS?) Other than spot duty, he can't possibly play second or short. That makes him either a first baseman or DH.

Mitch Moreland needs/deserves playing time at first, but I can see a platoon there where the 34-year-old Young's dwindling range wouldn't be a factor. The answer is DH. But it comes with questions.

Is .284 with 21 homers and 91 RBI enough production? And, if so, do the Rangers still pursue Vladimir Guerrero?

Another option is trading Young, still owed $48 million over the next three years. If I'm the Rangers I move Young before I deal him.

Coming off the best season in franchise history, missing on Lee and trading away Young would be a public relations nightmare.

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Richie Whitt
Contact: Richie Whitt