Trade rumors have been swirling around Texas Rangers third baseman Michael Young for months. His name came up at the end of the season and rumors have persisted through all of the winter. The only trade rumor in all of sports that has been more persistent and annoying is the talk about Carmelo Anthony. I'll never understand what it is that makes it so hard for a club to either trade a guy or make a definitive declaration that he's your guy and let some form of calm and order reign.
But this has become very difficult for the Rangers, and Young once again made headlines when he recently said that he expected to be traded because he feels he has been "misled and manipulated on different occasions."
Are the Rangers the only ones who were surprised by this? Were even the Rangers surprised? Young has become the face of the Rangers and has been a model citizen, but you can only push a guy so far, and it's been going on with him for years. Granted, he's been paid well for what he's done with the Rangers. But it's nice to feel like the team is behind you, respects you and views you as an important piece of their success. Young's contributions for a decade have certainly warranted Texas' respect.
But this is not the first time the Rangers have taken advantage of Young's versatility and willingness by moving him to make space for another player. When he was coming up through their farm system, he moved from shortstop to second base because Alex Rodriguez was already occupying that position. Of course, you can't expect A-Rod to move for a youngster coming up through the minor leagues. Young deserved to be the one who moved in that circumstance.
But, after that, the Rangers expected Young to be the one to move to make way for incoming players. When they traded A-Rod for Alfonso Soriano, Young moved back to his old position at shortstop.
And this winter, they got Adrian Beltre to play third base, moving Young once again to a purported DH/utility role. Not exactly what you'd typically expect for a long-tenured player, club leader and five-time All Star who is making in excess of $13 million a year.
Apparently it's not what Young expected, either.
He's been a good go-along guy, but you can only move a player around so much without so much as a courtesy call before he'll snap and say something like this. I'm not 100 percent on Young's side either, because he could have also handled this with a courtesy call rather than letting it play out in the media like the Rangers front office did. Young also mishandled this by moving away from the typical, quiet class he has shown before, but the Rangers committed the first offense.
If we're keeping track, you could actually say that the Rangers made the first, second and third offenses. And all of those moves were on top of letting trade rumors play out for months. It's not fun to dangle in the wind, and although that's sometimes the name of the game. But a classy, franchise player deserves better than the way the Rangers have treated Young.
It's unfortunate that something like this should become such an apparent no-win situation. But the Rangers can serve as a great example to all other teams that a little communication can go a long way.
Austin Swafford runs the SweetSpot Astros blog at Austin's Astros 290 Blog.