The Rangers Should Have Kept Michael Young
By Ben Dieter
Okay, I am pretty sure I am going to get a lot of disagreement on this piece, and keep in mind that this is totally my opinion, but I believe strongly that the Rangers made a mistake in the offseason when they let Michael Young go to the Phillies. Before you all start toasting me, hear me out.
The Rangers were looking to dump his contract and I have always believed that Jon Daniels and Michael Young never did quite see eye to eye. Is Young the first guy to be the face of a team that was let go before they retired? Of course not. Was he still in his prime as a player? Not at all. Is he still good? Absoluty. Michael Young was the face of the Rangers franchise for many years, and he was a big part of the two World Series losing teams. He was willing (not always with a smile on his face) to move positions several different times to accommodate players that the organization brought in such as A-Rod, Elvis Andrus and Adrian Beltre.
In return for the man we all called the face of the franchise, the Rangers got Josh Lindbloom and Lisalverto Bonilla. Lindbloom has not pitched great for the Rangers, but I wouldn’t call him a total bust. He is 1-3 with a 5.46 ERA. He also just got sent down to the minors. Bonilla is 5-5 with a 7.95 ERA at Round Rock.
So why do I think we should have kept Young? Lets look at the Rangers DH position this season. The Rangers brought in an aging star to replace an aging star. Lance so far in 2013, when he is not on the DL or missing games because of pain somewhere, is batting .254 with a .377 slugging percentage. Michael is batting .288 with a .417 slugging percentage. Lance has hit 6 home runs and knocked in 34 runs. Michael has hit 6 homeruns and knocked in 27 runs. Lance has appeared in 68 games for the Rangers while Michael has appeared in 86 for the Phillies. A better way to look at that is Michael has 56 more plate appearances than Berkman does. And Michael can still play in the field. He does not have the greatest range in the world, I know that, but it is better than Berkman’s range. And Young did provide this team with leadership, no matter what the Young detractors want to say. I have followed this team hardcore since 2003 and wrote about them since 2007, and for many years Michael Young was the heart and soul of the Texas Rangers. The difference is not overwhelming in the stats, but it is in leadership and durability, in my opinion.
And now that Lance is on the shelf for who knows how long, the Rangers are taking a long hard look and one Manny Ramirez to be the DH. Manny, unless he has gone through a drastic change of heart, is all about one thing, and that is Manny. If you ask me if I would rather have Michael Young in his prime or Manny Ramirez in his prime, I would take Michael Young every time, and it has to do with personality way more than talent. Neither are in their prime anymore, of course, but the Rangers would not be in the situation where they had to give Manny a serious look if they had kept one Michael Young. Again, my opinion, but I think the Rangers are a slightly better team in 2013 if Young is still around.
Maybe it is just because I liked Young, or maybe I am crazy, but I think the Rangers biggest mistake of the offseason was not letting Mike Napoli got, nor was it letting Josh Hamilton go, or Koji or Mike Adams, and most definitely not Ryan Dempster, but it was letting Young go. The fans have always loved him, he will still go down as one of the greatest Rangers of all time, and I look forward to seeing him retire with a Rangers hat on one day. Replacing an aging DH who is totally loved by the fans and the community with two aging DH’s who are not was a mistake, and one the Rangers may live to regret by the end of 2013.