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Not only was the timing odd, but the Rangers' decision to commit so much money for so many years to Michael Young is the wrong move for this franchise. Keith Law writes. Blog
"I recognize the commitment the Rangers have made," Young said. "We have a good core of players here who are committed to winning. We're due to turn this thing around and I wanted to be a huge part of the future."
When AL MVP Rodriguez was traded to the New York Yankees just before spring training in 2004, Young switched from second base to shortstop. Young has been an All-Star every season since moving back to the position he played in the minor leagues.
After trading A-Rod that spring, the Rangers gave Young a $10 million, four-year contract.
Rangers owner Tom Hicks said Young's extension helps provide stability for the team.
"To make a seven-year commitment, you have to like the man. When kids look at Michael Young, they will see what this franchise is all about," Hicks said. "We were not smart enough to draft Michael, but we were smart enough to trade for him. Michael is one of the greatest players in the history of this franchise."
Young has four straight 200-hit seasons, and his 858 hits in that span are second to Ichiro Suzuki's 904. Young hit .373 (166-for-445) with runners in scoring position during that stretch, a mark bettered only by Barry Bonds (.394, 63-for-160).
A .300 career hitter, Young was the AL batting champion in 2005 at .331, and was the All-Star game MVP last summer. Young hit .314 with 52 doubles, 14 homers and 103 RBIs last season.
"Locking up Michael for the next seven years makes my job a lot easier," general manager Jon Daniels said. "He is a leader on this club and clearly represents the fans of our community and the franchise."
Rangers No. 1 starter Kevin Millwood is in the second year of a $60 million, five-year deal, and the Rangers kept 15-game winner Vicente Padilla from leaving in free agency with a three-year, $33.75 million deal this winter.
Switch-hitting slugger Mark Teixeira signed a $15.4 million, two-year contract and avoided salary arbitration before last season, but the first baseman will be eligible for arbitration again after this season.
Texas acquired Young from Toronto midway through the 2000 season, when he was a minor league second baseman and the second player the Rangers got behind pitcher Darwin Cubillan when they traded right-hander Esteban Loaiza.
Loaiza has had winning records the last four seasons, pitching for four teams. But Cubillan had a 10.70 ERA in his only 13 games for the Rangers in 2000 and hasn't pitched since 2004 for Baltimore.