"Michael Young is Michael Young," said Washington, who plans on trying to talk to Young on Tuesday. "He has a reputation and I respect that reputation. I know exactly what Michael Young brings. He can bring a lot to us in defending our American League championship. I certainly want him around here.
"I read he's looking for someplace where he can get on the field defensively full time. If that's the case, whatever he feels is best for him. But I hope it's not because he thinks his at-bats are being taken away. He'll get his at-bats."
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.
Rangers president Nolan Ryan said at this point Young is not willing to expand that list. General manager Jon 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."
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."
Washington stressed that while Young wouldn't have an everyday position in the infield, he would get a chance to play the various positions from time to time.
"Ian Kinsler needs days off, Elvis [Andrus] and Adrian Beltre aren't going to play 162 games, and just because we got [Mike] Napoli doesn't mean he won't play some first," Washington said. "Injuries happen. To have a guy of Michael Young's quality doing what he's done and knowing that if someone goes down, he can step in, I'm very comfortable knowing we have him there."
Washington said he believes that if the club can't trade Young, the DH and super-utility infielder will show up ready to lead his team at spring training.
"That's Michael Young," Washington said. "I don't think that will change just because he wants to be traded. That doesn't take away from the character of the man. He's a character guy. I don't think what he's going through these last [few] years that any other human being wouldn't feel the same way.
"Those are his feelings. But he's a professional. If he's here, he'll be the same productive Michael Young and go about his business because he knows there's a lot of guys that look up to him."
Second baseman Ian Kinsler, one of Young's closet friends on the team, has been stunned by the developments.
"I don't know what I feel," Kinsler said. "I'm really close to Michael, but I'm also really attached to the Texas Rangers. They drafted me and have been loyal to me. It's a tough situation.
"I don't want him to get traded. I want to get to spring training and see our lockers together like they always are and have him there."
Washington said Young's leadership is crucial for the Rangers.
"He means everything inside the clubhouse," Washington said. "He's our leader. It's a guy that shows up every day and plays through injuries. He leaves his heart out on the field every day. We're playing to put the best club out there and as far as I'm concerned, he's a part of that."
Asked what the club would do if Young isn't there, Washington expressed confidence that other leaders would emerge.
"He brings a lot of qualities, but just like anything else, people move on and things change," Washington said. "When that happens, as a club, you have to continue to have confidence in each other. It's not going to be easy, but we'll pick up the slack. I've always been the kind of guy that we'll take care of our business with what we've got. I'm disappointed because I'd like to have him in our lineup, but I understand he's trying to do what's best for him and his family. We'll make an adjustment, but I just hope we don't have to."
Richard Durrett covers the Rangers for ESPNDallas.com. ESPN.com's Jayson Stark contributed to this report.