MY’s Howard Beale Moment

In regards to the Michael Young situation, I’ve been reading and digesting everything I could find for the last few days. Initially, I wasn’t sure exactly whose side I was on, but after giving it some thought I’ve decided that I can’t abide Michael Young or his actions.
His comments to the media were out of line.
(Before I get into the mistakes that Young has made, I want to say that Jon Daniels and other front office people could have handled this better. It is their policy not to discuss internal matters and to report nothing until there is something to be reported. Maybe when dealing with a veteran like Young it would be better to be up front about what’s happening, even if a trade is a long shot.)
The problem is that we don’t know exactly what has been happening since December, which was the last time the Rangers admitted to talking to someone [the Rockies] about a possible trade.
After that, they reportedly told Young that they were not trying to trade him, even though some national media suggested otherwise. Whether the Rangers were initiating talks with other teams or other teams were calling to ask questions remains unclear.
Still, if the Rangers weren’t the ones making those calls, then what they told Young is technically true. Maybe he isn’t interested in technicalities.
Either way, my problem with Young’s behavior starts as soon as he opens his mouth. Right away he suggests that he has been “misled and manipulated” and that that brought him to the point of demanding a trade.
Unfortunately, he refuses to elaborate on that at all. He says specifically that he’s “not going to reveal any details about how this process unfolded. It’s not [his] nature to start blasting people publicly when [he doesn’t] think it’s necessary.”
That’s all well and good, Mike, but it doesn’t help me sympathize with your situation if you don’t explain it to me. You’ve got to give me something to go on.
Then, after saying outright that it isn’t his policy to blast people, he called out his general manager, saying “I know the truth. And so does JD” and also adding later that “in light of events that happened in the process, I got pushed into a corner one too many times [and] I couldn’t take it anymore.”
So, according to Young, it was something that Jon Daniels did that caused these horrible things to happen. I guess we know who to blame!
Of course, it was also Jon Daniels that paid Young a lot of money [$80MM/5y] based more on his intangible leadership than his on-field performance. It was also Jon Daniels that didn’t take it personally when Young demanded a trade two years ago and has also said time and again that this team needs MY’s leadership and [diminishing] skills on the field.
Apart from that, Daniels has been downright awful. A villain of the highest caliber!
Young goes on to suggest that the statements made by Jon Daniels [and by extension Nolan Ryan] are blatantly false. He says that “to suggest that…I had a change of heart in terms of what position I wanted to play is inaccurate.”
While demanding a trade may not have been fueled directly by being asked to move to DH, it’s clear that he is unhappy with his projected role on the team. Ian Kinsler will be a Ranger until at least 2013, Andrus until 2014, and Beltre 2015.
Young said weeks ago that he considers his move to DH temporary, but also that he wanted to stay in Texas for the rest of his career. Both of those things can’t happen unless Young can outplay Mitch Moreland at 1B. Or, I guess, he could develop a knuckle ball like Tim Wakefield.
The fact is, Young has made several miscalculations and incorrect assumptions in the last week…
Michael Young tried to make everything personal
and went so far as to drag his wife and children into it.
Towards the end of his rant, Young suggests that this entire situation has been “unfair to [he] and [his] family” which is just a stupid thing to say. He won’t explain why he’s unhappy and he won’t peg his discontent on any one event or player, but then he tries to evoke sympathy by alluding to the toll that this has taken on his family.
How exactly has this affected your family, Mike? Did you take your frustrations out on your wife by telling her that her roast was a little dry? It does no good to say something if you’re really saying nothing.
Michael Young misunderstood where the public stood on the issue
of his latest position change and subsequent trade demand.
Before he spoke up about it, all I saw was support for MY. Most internet comments were squarely in his corner and a lot of them started with ‘If the Rangers trade Young they’ve lost me as a fan…’ or similar sentiments.
But, since Young made his various public declarations on Monday, there has been considerable backlash.
To sum it up, most people seem to feel that Young should —
Shut up, stop crying, and play where the team needs you. And, if you can’t stop crying, then you can dry your tears on your fat paycheck.
Despite what he says, Michael Young seems to think he is special.
When asked if he was upset about being part of [alleged] trade talks during and since the Winter Meetings, he said “I’m not going to sit here and say I’m above anything in that sense. It’s the business of baseball. People explore their options. In no way do I feel I’m above that.”
And yet, as far as I or anyone else can tell, that’s at the heart of this whole issue. Unless Young later says otherwise, we have to assume that all of this came about because the team said they wanted him and he had reason to believe that wasn’t the case.
It’s either as simple as that or there’s something of much greater significance at work here. Something that the team has managed to keep out of the public eye.
Michael Young has overestimated his value as a player.
Young gets paid a lot of money. He [was] the de facto captain of the Texas Rangers. He has been told for years by his teammates, the fans, the media, and the front office that he is a good guy and has sacrificed a lot for his team. He also gets a lot of credit for staying in Texas when the team around him was terrible.
While all of that is true, none of it makes him better at 2B, 3B, SS, or any other position. In game 1 of the ALCS last year, the Yankees came charging back late in the game.
Most of what happened in that infamous inning was on the pitchers, but a hit by A-Rod, a one hop screamer down the 3B line, was all on MY’s glove. The hit in question was literally 4 inches to the left, Young’s glove side, but instead of getting in front of it he did his best matador impression and watched as it skipped past.
Some have defended Young by pointing out that he never wanted to play 3B in the first place, which is true, but what those people straight up ignore is the fact that the guy playing SS right now is better at it than he is and the guy who’s been playing 2B for the last 5 years is better at it than he is and the guy they brought in that plays 3B is better at it than he is.
If Young isn’t better than anyone that plays any of the positions he can play, then what sense does it make to play him everyday?
Michael Young’s lack of tact and timing
has further diminished his value as a trade piece.
A week before the start of Spring Training is a bad time to demand a trade. Publicly attacking your GM further damages your chances of being traded.
(Being old and having a big contract also hurts, but neither of those conditions are really Young’s fault.)
MY doesn’t seem to understand how leverage works. If you tell the whole world that you want to be traded, they will offer less to your current team. If you tell the whole world that you hate your current team and want to be traded, they’ll offer even less than before.
If teams are offering less for you than your current team is willing to accept, then it will be harder for you to get what you want. These are simple concepts, but apparently logic became irrelevant sometime very recently.
(Oh, and if you tell your current team that you’re not expanding your 8-team list of acceptable trade destinations and none of those teams want you, what is your GM to do then?)
Michael Young has trouble counting to 9.
There are only so many positions on the field that can be played and MY isn’t good enough at any of them to displace any of his current teammates. If he becomes a DH-type he will remain a DH-type for as long as he is in Texas, even if his heart tells him otherwise.
Michael Young thinks he deserves more than what’s been given to him.
In 5 years, MY will have made $80,000,000. Despite better players coming along, the Rangers have always found a way for him to contribute and remain in the line-up everyday.
(More than that, they kept him around long enough to go to the World Series.)
So, what further obligation does the club have to him? They’re paying his salary and, as far as I know, nothing in his contract says that any position on the field belongs to him.
It sounds like the team has upheld their end of the deal and said ‘thank you’ about 80 million times.
Michael Young thinks he should move back to 2B
and he’s not alone.
MY is under the impression that his original position comes so naturally to him that his defensive woes would be cured if he went back to 2B. Other people, including other major league GMs and managers, have suggested that the Rangers just trade Ian Kinsler and move Young to his position.
But, of course, that makes no sense. Young and Kinsler are both locked up through 2013. Kinsler is younger, he can steal more bases, and he can hit more HRs. Kinsler is better defensively and has a lot more upside.
Durability aside, Kinsler is better than MY in every measurable way, so as a practical baseball decision the decision has already been made.

There’s a lot more that can be said on this subject, but at 1500+ words I’m going to start wrapping it up.
Truth be told, I’d like to be on Young’s side, but his recent actions make that impossible. Beginning with his scorching the earth comments and ending with his reported refusal to even have a conversation with his manager, Young has severely mishandled the situation and alienated a lot of people that want to be in his corner.
I said in my last update that his time in Texas must be over and nothing about the last two days makes me think that anything has changed.
It’s a sad end to a productive decade long partnership.

About Mike Luna

My name is Mike. I am an avid fan of the Texas Rangers. I like reading and jogging, but I don't do either nearly as often as I should. I like writing about more than just baseball. Your opinion is your own, but please be respectful. Everyone is welcome in The Bleacher Seats.
This entry was posted in front office, Texas Rangers baseball, trades and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to MY’s Howard Beale Moment

  1. MY: Dear, your roast is a little dry tonight.

    Wife: What? You love my roast. I am so sorry.

    MY: I’m sorry honey, it’s actually quite good. That was the Rangers trade mess talking…

    • Mike Luna says:

      MY: Dear, your roast is a little dry tonight.

      Wife: Don’t blame me. I spent all day swimming in our Scrooge McDuck money room while our staff of professional chefs prepared the evening meal.

      [As a note, I added quite a bit to this post after you commented. It wasn’t really done yet, but I had to step away from it for a few minutes.]

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