In the afterglow of seeing the team I wanted to win the Super Bowl succeed in doing so, combined with the luck of winning the office numbers pool in said game, comes the first official word that Michael Young has told the Rangers he is unhappy with his role on the 2011 club and feels moving on will be in his best interests.
Just a day ago, I expounded on all the speculation concerning a Young deal, how there were no hard facts and, particularly, no word from the man himself on such a deal.
Now, the Fort Worth Star Telegram is reporting Young has made his feelings known to the Rangers brass and a trade is being pursued.
Looking at other fan sites as I do, there seems to be a pretty even split amongst Rangers fans about Michael Young. They even seem to resemble opinions of the George W. Bush administration- those on Young’s side love him and feel he can do no wrong and the others hate him (many amongst the SABR community seem to make a case for Young being one of the most over-rated players in history).
I’m on the side of being for Young, but perhaps on the more moderate side. I admire Young and feel he has a lot left in the tank, but I also would welcome a trade IF it goes to improving this club for 2011. And in this case, I don’t think it will.
Young demanding a trade puts the Rangers in a position of weakness. They would have to settle for less than what they should get for a player of Young’s caliber AND will have to eat a good portion of his $16 million dollar a year salary over the next three years to boot. Not a win-win situation, is it?
I can understand Young’s position- he still sees himself as an asset on the field, being a fulltime DH now could affect how much he could get in his next contract three years from now, maybe even feeling disrespected by the Rangers front office- but that doesn’t make me any more anxious or willing to trade him.
Some say leadership on a team is over-rated. I disagree. Since businesses always use sports analogies, I’ll use a business analogy. I could have a great boss- someone who keeps me motivated and helps me enjoy working for the company- but sometimes you need that person in your own ranks who does the stuff the boss wants you to do that you really don’t want to do. They do it, they do it without complaint and help you see how that helped the company. That is Michael Young.
If Young indeed is traded, I don’t see the people on the 2011 roster who will be that guy for the Rangers. Josh Hamilton is the bona-fide star of the team, but he doesn’t embrace that leadership role. I think he doesn’t have to change much to be the true leader on this team, but I can’t help but think Josh has a mental block that he wouldn’t (or shouldn’t) be followed because of his past. Elvis Andrus is said to have leadership qualities, but he’s still too young for the job (no pun intended). The next closest I see to that type of leader is Matt Treanor, a career back-up.
What worries me is the leadership void that losing Young (and Vlad Guerrero before him) and the effect that will have on the team as it tries to defend its first AL Championship. Replacing Young and Guerrero is more than replacing the numbers they put up in 2010. Even if we replace the numbers, this year’s Rangers might not have what it takes. And that would be a shame.
NOTE ON A PREVIOUS POST: A couple weeks ago, I expounded on the case of non-Ranger and minor league free agent Matt Miller and how I hoped he would find a taker considering his minor league numbers. Turns out he was no longer a free agent at all. Despite my constant searches online (sometimes it’s not as easy to find stuff as you think), it was only two days ago I discovered Miller had signed a free agent contract with the Philadelphia Phillies in November. Unfortunately, it didn’t come with a 40-Man roster slot, but the Phillies aren’t deep in the outfield slots so he could get a chance with a strong Spring Training.
This post has nothing to do with the Texas Rangers (unless they were to sign this guy, which I doubt).
In fact, this is about something I know very little about, though some might say that about everything I write.
This is about minor league free agency and one player in particular.
First off, I don’t know much about minor league free agency and what is considered to be the “prime time” of signing minor league free agents. For all I know, we’re entering into that prime time period right now.
So here’s the deal.
My oldest makes a living catering to the fans of Texas State University in San Marcos, Texas. Me being a baseball fan, I have often contributed by following the alumni of the Texas State baseball program in their quest to work their way through the minors and make it to The Show.
Currently, the only Texas Stater in the bigs is Scott Linebrink, recently traded by the White Sox to the Braves.
Most of the time, these guys top out at the AA level before their dreams end. Some have great success early only to have it end due to injury. Others find themselves passed along the way by a prospect who takes their spot away. A couple keep plugging away only to have reached the six year point and become minor league free agents.
Which brings me to today’s story. I have not met this guy before. I’ve actually never seen him play. All I know about him is that he once played for Texas State and the statistics I’ve gleaned from milb.com, baseball-refernce.com and other sources. In other words, I have nothing to gain from promoting him, but I believe he needs to be promoted.
Matt Miller was selected by the Colorado Rockies in the 13th round of the first-year player draft in 2004. His first full season was nothing short of amazing- a .331 average with 30 HR and 100 RBI for Asheville of the Sally League. While he never again duplicated those power numbers, in seven minor league seasons, Miller has done nothing but hit. He has been a mid-season or post-season All-Star every single year of his minor league career.
Just looking at some of the stats, I know he’s not considered to be any great shakes as a fielder (he plays the outfield). I also know he was considered a great prospect by the Rockies until his first full year in AA, when he slumped badly in the second half and finished at .262. At that point, he was dropped from the list of top prospects, never to return.
Since that time (2007), however, Miller has hit .344 in AA and .331 in Triple-A in 2008, .319 in Triple-A in 2009 and .325 in Triple-A in 2010. In seven minor league seasons, Miller is a career .313 hitter with 91 HR and 560 RBI. His star fell because of one bad half season out of seven. Now, he’s faced a logjam with the Rockies, considering the major league outfield there consists of Carlos Gonzalez, Dexter Fowler and Ryan Spilborghs.
Matt Miller is a minor league free agent. You would think out of 30 major league teams, there would be one who would want to take a chance on a player who’s been named to 10 different All-Star teams in 7 years and apparantly has never spent time on the disabled list in all that time, either.
Matt, here’s hoping someone gives you your chance soon.