According to numerous sources, the Rangers will likely sign third baseman Adrian Beltre. The move is an indication of two things. First, as we expected, the Yankees will “win” the Cliff Lee sweepstakes and the Rangers are going in a different direction. Second, Texas is about to trade Michael Young.
The Rockies and Rangers first discussed a trade for Young during last week’s Winter Meetings. From the sound of things, the two teams never came close to making an agreement. That was before the Rangers had two third basemen. Young , a six time All-Star, could make a difference at second base for the Rockies, but this deal isn’t likely to happen for a variety of reasons.
Young has been a very good player for a long-time, but at thirty-four he is in decline. In 2010, he had a career-low .330 OBP and a career-high 115 strike-outs. He is a versatile infielder with extensive experience at second, short and third. He won the Gold Glove at short in 2008, but has been slightly below average since moving to third. He is serviceable at second, presumably the position he would play for Colorado.
What the Rangers will request in return for Young is anyone’s guess. They obviously feel like Young’s best years are behind him; otherwise they wouldn’t be signing Beltre. Nevertheless, names like Nolan Arenado, Tyler Matzek, Jordan Pacheco and Wilin Rosario will come up in the conversation, but Colorado isn’t likely to move its best prospects for a guy on the downside of his career. Plus, if Young joins the Rox, Chris Nelson — the Rockies’ top prospect at second base — would be forced to spend another season with the Sky Sox.
The Rangers owe Young $48M over the next three seasons. At that price, he is not a good deal for the Rox. Hell, at that price, he isn’t a good deal for anyone. Since potential trade partners are aware of Texas’s need to divest of Young, the Rangers may agree to pay for a portion of Young’s remaining salary. Under that scenario, Young-to-Colorado would be a more realistic possibility.
Teams haven’t exactly been exercising fiscal prudence this off-season. There is a good chance that some sucker will overpay for Young. Let’s just hope it’s not the Rockies.