Buster Olney on options for Michael Young


ESPN.com's Buster Olney put together a look at the landscape for Rangers veteran Michael Young. You can read the entire story here (insider). Olney notes, as we have on this blog, that the Rangers could sit back and see what happens and attempt to let Young go to spring training and see if they can smooth things over. But if they do trade him, Olney looks at some options. Here are some of those:

The Yankees don't have a spot for him. The Cardinals could theoretically have spot at shortstop or second, but remember, St. Louis already has stretched its budget and committed to Ryan Theriot and David Freese at shortstop and third base, respectively, and might be saving its nickels for any Albert Pujols discussion. The Padres have Jason Bartlett and Orlando Hudson locked in for their middle infield for the next two years. Houston has been in cutback mode, and any deal between the Rangers and the Astros is always complicated because of the in-state politics.

Tsuyoshi Nishioka, signed out of Japan by the Twins this offseason, will play shortstop or second for Minnesota. If the Twins privately thought Young was a more attractive player than Alexi Casilla, then it would be worth a conversation for them. But sources say Minnesota wants to give Casilla -- a younger and much cheaper player than Young -- a real shot to play regular. In any event, available dollars aren't plentiful this late in the offseason, it could be very tough for the Twins to work this out even if they wanted to make it work out. Minnesota allowed valued relievers walk away because of budget constraints, so the Twins' first preference would probably be for the Rangers to eat a huge portion of the $48 million owed to Young over the next three seasons.

But if Texas was to be willing to do that, the Rangers would want a decent prospect or two in return, and this is not the kind of thing that the Twins are usually willing to do.

The Dodgers could theoretically use Young in their infield, but with owner Frank McCourt walking the halls of Major League Baseball hoping for an audience with the Commissioner because of his financial issues, they aren't exactly flush with cash.

The Angels could use Young, and at a time when owner Arte Moreno is still digging out from what has been a tough offseason, Young would be a nice fit at third base. But the Angels would have to structure a sweetheart deal for the Rangers to make this happen, either by eating most or all of the money owed to Young, or in giving up talent. For the Angels, that could make this problematic, because it's evident that Texas doesn't want to give Young away.

Oakland has been trying to upgrade at third base all winter, pursuing Adrian Beltre aggressively before losing out to the Rangers, and then asking the Mariners about Chone Figgins. Young would be a tremendous addition for them. But he would have to agree to go to Oakland, and the Rangers would have to be willing to deal their de facto captain to a division rival that will challenge them for the AL West title in 2011. In order to make that happen, the Athletics would have to propose a deal that the Rangers would clearly win -- either because of how much money Oakland would eat in the Young contract, or in the prospects that the Athletics would give up.

If Young is traded, where do you think he ends up?