Michael Young to the Rockies, revisited

Yesterday, reports came out that the Rangers are (again) exploring the idea of trading Michael Young to the Colorado Rockies. Since his role became diminished this offseason, Young’s current contract and unwillingness to play as “Super-Utility Man” could become a problem for the Rangers as next season plays out. Of course, this is mere speculation, since no public comments have come from the Michael Young camp, but it is obvious that some frustration has emerged internally.

During the winter meetings, the Rockies looked to be the favorite in acquiring Young as their everyday second baseman and lead-off batter. Eventually, talks stalled and the teams went their separate ways. However, the recent acquisitions of Adrian Beltre and Mike Napoli could gum up Young’s playing time as their third baseman/DH hybrid, Ron Washington says.

The Rockies may still be interested but with recent extensions given to Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez, their budget may not be as flexible. Unless another team comes forward and is willing to do the Rangers a favor and take on Young’s three-year/$48 million contract (similar to the generosity the Angels graced upon the Blue Jays) then the Rangers will have to concede and help pay some of it.

On the Rockies side, Jose Lopez is the projected starter at second and will be owed $3.6 million next season. Colorado also has a bit of a logjam at second with Eric Young Jr., Chris Nelson, Jonathan Herrera and even Ty Wigginton (don’t laugh, he did it last season with the Orioles) all slated as possible options.

Depending on how much the Rangers decide to absorb, this could work in making Young much more attractive to other teams, but will it help to increase his return value?

Despite a slight power surge in 2009, most will agree that Young, entering his age 34 season, is on the decline. Always considered a free swinger, gradual declines in his power, speed and fielding along with a slight bump in his strikeout rate aren’t the most attractive signs when agreeing to take on an aging player at a premium price.

If the Rockies do rekindle trade talks, I’m sure current Rockies second baseman Lopez would be mentioned, but would that make sense? I guess it would depend on the other parts included in this trade, but if the Rangers are expected to pick up some of this check, then gaining a $3.5 million utility player in exchange doesn’t seem like the best way to free up a budget. We’ll see.

Recently, Ken Rosenthal reported that a deal between the Rangers and Rockies could be completed by this Monday.

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