He's been the face of the franchise for a decade, the team spokesman who was left to explain a lot of horrible Texas Rangers baseball. He's been a batting champ, an All-Star Game MVP and a Gold Glove fielder with a sparkling image.
He's moved from second to short to third to, now, a diminished role as a part-time DH.
Michael Young's had enough. He wants out. And who can blame him?
Most of us saw this coming a couple weeks ago. Even though owner Chuck Greenberg and general manager Jon Daniels promised Young would still be a vital player in 2011, the math didn't add up.
It shouldn't come as a surprise that the arrivals of Adrian Beltre and Mike Napoli are prompting the departure of Young.
Unfortunately, Young demanding a trade will also tarnish his legacy in Texas.
Because you can't say "anything for the team" one week and then decide "eff it, if I'm not a prominent player I want out" the next. I understand his position. I also recognize such a stance comes with consequences.
Young is owed $48 million over the next three seasons, a steep price for a utility man with dwindling numbers at the plate and who is a defensive liability in the infield. To trade him, of course, the Rangers will have to pay a big chunk -- as much as $20 million, maybe -- to another team.
(Before you jump off the cliff, remember that Young also made trade rumblings a couple years ago when Elvis Andrus bumped him to third. It's not impossible that he calms down, goes to spring training and lives a little less happily ever after right here in Arlington.)
The whole thing stinks, but we knew it would come to this. Eventually, it always does. (See: Mike Modano.)
Trying to decide who looks worse here: The player demanding a trade from the only franchise he's ever known and who just made it to the World Series? Or the team that apparently has misled its long-time leader?
Bottom line: This is progress. If the Rangers still sucked, Young would still be one of their best, most indispensable players.
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