This week, the Texas Rangers went from we-aren’t-trading-Michael-Young to we-have-to-trade-Michael-Young back to we-aren’t-trading-Michael-Young, all in the span of a few days. It is safe to assume that the book-ends of that back-and-forth are mere posturing, and, as an expensive, disgruntled, superfluous player, Young’s days in Arlington are numbered.
The Chicago Cubs have never been a realistic destination for Young, primarily because of the exorbitant $48 million he’s owed over the next three seasons. For the Cubs to even consider taking on Young, the Rangers would have to eat upwards of 75% of his deal – a figure the Dodgers requested and the Rangers summarily rejected. Thus, short of a bad contract swap, it’s hard to picture the Cubs managing a deal for Young.
Although, the Cubs do have a few bad contracts, don’t they? Phil Rogers is once again doing some Michael Young speculating, but this time, he suggests that the Rangers thought about trying to work out a trade with the Cubs. Indeed, the Cubs and Rangers may have discussed a deal (even if there are no “ongoing conversations”).
In surveying the landscape after Young’s trade request, the Rangers discussed a variety of possible landing places, with the Cubs among them.
Center fielder Marlon Byrd, a productive Ranger under Ron Washington in 2007-09, is believed to be on the list of players they would consider for Young. But what if Daniels was so determined not to deal with daily questions about the unhappy Young that he would consider another former Ranger in exchange — outfielder Alfonso Soriano, who could replace Young as a primary DH?
While a source with the Cubs indicated Friday there were no ongoing conversations with the Rangers regarding Young, they are monitoring the situation like many other teams. And why not? Young-for-Soriano might be the best possible fit.
For all the knocks on Soriano, last year he had 24 home runs and 79 RBIs in 496 at-bats. His .818 OPS was better than all but four American League teams (Rangers, Twins, Red Sox and Orioles) got from designated hitters.
While Young played a shaky third base a year ago, scouts believe he still has the range, arm and instincts to be a solid second baseman. He started his big-league career there before moving to shortstop to accommodate the addition of Soriano in the Alex Rodriguez trade seven seasons ago. chicagoe.com.
Rogers goes on to note Soriano’s no-trade clause (which he would have little reason to waive), but concludes that, because Soriano used to play in Texas, he might be amenable to do so again. Given his defense of Soriano, Rogers gives no reason the Cubs would do the deal, but presumably the reason is to clear salary ($48M versus $72M remaining) and outfield space.
Again, this is mostly just Rogers’ speculation – though it’s worth pointing out that the Rangers at least considered the Cubs a possible trade partner at one point. Assuming the money aspect made sense, does adding Young and losing Soriano or Byrd make the 2011 Cubs better? I’m not sure it does. Outfield depth is a blessing, not a curse. There’s no guarantee that Tyler Colvin would be productive as a full-time starter or that Brett Jackson will make the leap this year; just as there’s no guarantee that Young will outproduce the presumed Jeff Baker/Blake DeWitt platoon at second base (particularly when defense is factored in).