Michael Young expects to be traded
"I'm tired of it," Young said.
I think it's important to address what I think is kind of an inaccurate portrayal. The suggestion from the team that I've had a change of heart and that's why I asked for a trade is a manipulation of the truth in my mind.” -- Michael Young
The 34-year-old spoke out Monday night after general manager Jon Daniels and club president Nolan Ryan talked with the media and said they will try to accommodate Young's wish to play in the field every day for another team.
"Over the last two weeks or so," Young said during a 10-minute phone conversation with ESPN.com, "a couple of things have happened, on top of the culmination of what's happened over the entire winter, since the winter meetings [that] have kind of pushed me into a corner one too many times. And I'm not going to lie. I'm sick of it.
"It's unfortunate I got to this position," he said. "But in light of what happened [Monday] and in light of what was said [Monday], I think it was important for me to respond."
Young said he expects a trade to take place but isn't sure when that might occur.
"I think it's important to address what I think is kind of an inaccurate portrayal," Young said. "The suggestion from the team that I've had a change of heart and that's why I asked for a trade is a manipulation of the truth in my mind."
Young said he didn't want to "get into any specific details" because it wouldn't be "productive." And he was determined to "keep my eyes on the high road."
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But when asked if he believed the Rangers hadn't been honest with him earlier this winter, when they told him they weren't trying to trade him, he swirled that thought around in his head carefully, then said: "I believe [that] to be true."
And the result, he said, was "a breach of trust" between himself and the club.
"I think a lot of things happened behind closed doors that just pushed me into a corner," Young said. "I got tired of being given less than all the facts when I'm being asked to make important decisions that are going to affect me and my family.
"If that's the case," he went on, "I want the facts. I don't want half-truths. I want everything, and we can go from there. It's a relationship I wish would have been built on complete honesty, especially after 10 years of pulling in the same direction."
Earlier in the day, Daniels confirmed that Young told the Rangers last week that he does not want to be a full-time designated hitter and wants to be traded.
Teams on Young's trade list
Michael Young's contract includes a limited no-trade clause that allows the club to deal him to only eight specific teams. According to sources, those teams are:
"I wish it hadn't come to this," Daniels said. "It's not our first choice. Our first choice is to continue with our offseason plan and continue with Michael playing a pivotal role. He's had a change of heart about that role. If we can accommodate his request and upgrade the club, we'd like to do that."
Regarding the differences between Young and the team, Daniels said his "hope is that it can be repaired."
Young has three years and $48 million remaining on his contract, which includes a limited no-trade clause that allows the club to deal him to only eight named teams.
Sources have indicated the Rangers have spoken off and on to several teams this winter about trading Young. The most prominent club involved in those talks has been Colorado. But those discussions appear to have fizzled during the weekend.
Ryan said at this point Young is not willing to expand that list. Daniels didn't want to speculate on which teams he's talked to, but mentioned that some teams not on Young's list have inquired about him. Daniels said "nothing is imminent to this point."
Young is a Hit Man
Michael Young has had seasons at three different primary positions (2B, 3B, SS) in which he had at least 180 hits. Only three other players in MLB history have accomplished that feat.
|Miguel Cabrera||1B, 3B, OF|
|Pete Rose||1B, 2B, 3B, OF|
|Honus Wagner||3B, SS, OF|
|Michael Young||2B, 3B, SS|
|*Min. 50.0 pct of season games at position|
— from Elias Sports Bureau
However, Young told ESPN.com Monday that he might be willing to consider clubs not currently on that list.
"As of right now, no. But I think those things are handled on a case-by-case basis," he said. "Those are things my family and I would talk about and see what's ultimately the best fit for us."
Young didn't specifically identify Daniels as the source of the breach of his trust. But he did make a point of exempting Ryan from any blame.
"I have talked to Nolan twice, and I felt they were productive conversations," Young said. "I have, obviously, great respect for Nolan. He's a good man, and I appreciate him hearing me out. And it's always important to hear Nolan's thoughts. I mean, the guy's got just a wealth of knowledge, inside the game and out."
But Young made it clear those conversations hadn't led him to soften his stance in any way. When he was asked if there were anything the Rangers could do at this point to salvage their decade-long relationship, he replied:
"I don't think so. We haven't made any efforts to talk. I guess you could say that. Not on their end or mine. ... This thing kind of changes on a daily basis. And we haven't made any plans to talk tomorrow. So as far as I'm concerned, tomorrow's the foreseeable future in my mind."
Young said the furthest thing from his mind is his next contract. He said he sees himself as an everyday player who can play the infield.
Asked whether he believed he and the club can get past this if he isn't traded, the veteran said: "I don't know.
"I'm trying to prepare as I usually do, which is to get ready to play my style of baseball. This offseason, I've tried to improve on what I want to improve on."
I wish it hadn't come to this. It's not our first choice. Our first choice is to continue with our offseason plan and continue with Michael playing a pivotal role. He's had a change of heart about that role. If we can accommodate his request and upgrade the club, we'd like to do that.” -- Rangers GM Jon Daniels
Young said he has tried to keep a low profile out of respect for his teammates, coaches, family and fans. But he felt he needed to say something after he read some of the quotes from Daniels' and Ryan's conference call with reporters earlier Monday.
"I've tried to handle myself with a respect in the community and treat the fans with integrity and class, and I feel like I've done the same thing this offseason," he said. "But I can't let people speak for me and say things that are inaccurate when it comes to how I feel."
Young hit .284 with 21 homers and 91 RBIs in 157 games for a Rangers team that reached the World Series this past season. The club planned for Young to play some first base in spring training so that he could play any of the infield positions. But the club is not entertaining the thought of moving him to first base full-time because it is committed to Mitch Moreland, who had a strong finish to the 2010 season and a solid playoff run.
Young said last month, just before Adrian Beltre signed, that he was willing to move into a role as a DH and super-utility infielder. Ryan said that initially, Young was OK with the move because the Dallas area has been his home, his family is comfortable and he's on a club that is now winning.
"But he thought about it and felt like the timing wasn't right and that once you go into a DH role, people view you as a DH," Ryan said. "He doesn't view himself that way. He wants to be an everyday player, and that's what he wants to do. I understand where he is on that. But saying that, we told him we'd do what we could to try to accommodate him and give him an opportunity to go to another organization."
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Josh Hamilton, the 2010 AL MVP, said he spoke to Young during a workout Monday and that Young wasn't sure whether he'd be traded.
"He's been a guy that I could go to and really look at as a veteran leader. If we lose him, it's going to be a big loss," Hamilton said as the team's equipment truck left for the team's spring training complex in Surprise, Ariz. "It's hard to think about. It's hard to lose a guy who's your most durable player, who's in there every day, who's getting 550, 600 at-bats every year and putting up numbers like he does.
"It doesn't make sense. I don't get paid to make those kinds of decisions. We'll see."
Young's departure would mean more than just losing a good hitter. Young is the club's unquestioned leader. So others would have to emerge in his place.
"If Michael were to be traded, I'd look at it as an opportunity for others to step up," Daniels said. "I think guys have that in them. If it gets to that point, and there is a trade, I have a lot of faith in players that there's some growth and they'd step up and take on a different role. But I don't want to get ahead of ourselves."
What is still unclear is how Young will react if the Rangers don't trade him before the start of spring training.
"I really haven't gone down that road yet," he said. "This process has really made me focus on the short term. I really bear down on tomorrow.
"My gut feeling tells me a trade will happen," he went on. "Other than that, I just try to focus on baseball activities and make sure I get ready for a productive year. Anything after that, I'm not really sure."
Asked if it were possible that he wouldn't report for spring training if the Rangers haven't found a taker, Young wasn't ready to contemplate that decision yet.
"That's down the road," he said. "I know spring training is getting much closer, but I haven't really gotten there yet. Right now, I'm just focusing on tomorrow."
Richard Durrett covers the Rangers for ESPNDallas.com. Senior writer Jayson Stark covers Major League Baseball for ESPN.com.