Michael Young Rumors
Seven-time All-Star Michael Young will retire rather than sign with a new team this offseason, reports Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (on Twitter). The 37-year-old Young had three "good offers," according to Rosenthal, including one from the Dodgers -- the last team he played for in his Major League career. Ultimately, Young chose to spend time with his family rather than pursue a 15th Major League season.
Young split the 2013 season between the Phillies and Dodgers after being sent to Philadelphia by the Rangers in an offseason trade last year. That marked the only season of his illustrious career in which he did not don a Texas Rangers uniform. Though his production waned in his final two big league seasons, Young still posted a .249/.335/.395 batting line in 2013, which was slightly above average, as evidenced by his 102 OPS+ and 102 wRC+.
Young will retire with a career batting average of exactly .300 to go along with a .346 on-base percentage and .441 slugging percentage. He mashed 185 homers in his career, scored 1137 runs, drove in 1030 runs and swiped 90 bags in 120 tries. He has more than 3800 career innings at shortstop, second base and third base and also added 884 innings at first base as well. In addition to his versatility, Young brought nearly unparalleled durability to the table. From 2002-13, Young averaged 155 games per season, and though he missed nearly 30 games in 2009, he never landed on the disabled list.
The Rangers got their hands on Young in one of the more lopsided trades of the past 15 years, as they sent Esteban Loaiza to the Blue Jays to land him in a three-player deal. Loaiza went on to post a 4.96 ERA for Toronto over the next two-and-a-half seasons, while Young became a fixture in the Rangers lineup for more than a decade.
In addition to his seven All-Star selections, Young garnered American League MVP votes in five seasons, finishing as high as eighth on two different occasions. Young earned just under $91MM over the course of his career, according to Baseball-Reference. MLBTR wishes him the best of luck and happiness in his post-baseball life.
Even after the addition of Masahiro Tanaka, the Yankees' rotation is third-best in the AL East, behind the Rays and Red Sox, writes Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald. The Yankees' rotation lacks depth, Lauber writes, while the Rays have David Price (at least for now) and a strong collection of young pitchers, and the Red Sox have plenty of solid starters to back up Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz. Here are more notes from around the big leagues.
- Eight teams, including the Rockies, Orioles, Mariners, Yankees and Dodgers, have interest in Ervin Santana, Chris Cotillo of MLB Daily Dish writes. (Earlier today, Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik seemed to imply the Mariners would not be heavily involved on Santana.) Other teams could enter the picture as well. The Cubs also asked about Santana, but draft-pick forfeiture is a problem for them, even though their first pick is protected.
- The White Sox will meet with pitchers Texas high school pitcher Tyler Kolek, Vanderbilt pitcher Tyler Beede, and and California high school shortstop Jacob Gatewood as they prepare to pick third overall in the June draft, MLB.com's Scott Merkin writes. White Sox amateur scouting director Doug Laumann says, unsurprisingly, that he does not expect Carlos Rodon to fall to the White Sox at No. 3. They've already met with Rodon, East Carolina pitcher Jeff Hoffman and NC State shortstop Trea Turner.
- In the abstract, it might seem like the Phillies should rebuild from the ground up, but their situation is actually more complex than that, Brad Johnson of FanGraphs writes. Rebuilding efforts can fail, and memories of a streak of mostly poor play from 1987 through 2000 linger in the minds of Phillies fans, who Johnson says aren't a patient bunch. And even if the Phillies sold some of their big contracts, they would still have plenty of payroll obligations. Given the situation they've gotten themselves into, Johnson argues, simply trying not to lose too much might be the best strategy for them this year.
- Michael Young hasn't decided whether he will play in 2014, but if he does, it will be for the Dodgers, Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times tweets. A report earlier this month indicated that Young was thinking about retiring.
Here are a few notes from Rangers Fan Fest, which is taking place today in Arlington.
- The Rangers aren't likely to sign Michael Young, GM Jon Daniels says (via ESPN Dallas' Richard Durrett on Twitter). Instead, the Rangers will turn to internal options to find another bench infielder to pair with Adam Rosales.
- The Rangers are looking for pitching depth, Durrett writes. "I mean guys that can help our big-league club," GM Jon Daniels says. "We would have been looking for that this time of year anyways before Derek (Holland) got hurt but that changes things a little bit."
- Daniels also notes that he thinks the free-agent market is "coming out of a dead period" with recent signings of Grant Balfour, Eric O'Flaherty and Grady Sizemore.
- Mitch Moreland will be the Rangers' main designated hitter, Durrett tweets. The team will also occasionally start other players at the position. Moreland has been mentioned this offseason as a potential trade target for teams like the Brewers and Pirates who are in need of a first baseman, but the Rangers have also reportedly told Brewers GM Doug Melvin that they won't deal Moreland. Given that they have him penciled in at a starting position, that makes sense.
A source tells MLB Daily Dish's Chris Cotillo that the Astros haven't discussed a long-term extension with Jason Castro yet. The 26-year-old appears to be a candidate for a long-term deal after a 2013 breakout campaign that saw him slug 18 home runs and generate 4.3 fWAR, tops among AL catchers not named Joe Mauer. However, he's now eligible for arbitration, and could become expensive quickly if he's not interested in an extension. As FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal observed recently, teams appear increasingly willing to trade players who resist being locked up. Here's more from baseball's Western divisions:
- Steve Dilbeck of the Los Angeles Times notes the Dodgers' need for a utility infielder and wonders if they'll try to bring back Michael Young, who hit .314 for the club in 53 plate appearances last year after being acquired from the Phillies. GM Ned Colletti says the Dodgers have maintained contact with Young, who's reportedly considering retirement.
- Cotillo hears (via Twitter) that the Mariners and the Indians are the frontrunners among the five to seven clubs interested in Scott Baker.
- Also from Cotillo's Twitter, the Rangers plan to use lefty Rafael Perez, who they've inked to a minor-league deal, out of the bullpen. Perez, who didn't appear in the majors in 2013, was a starter for much of his early career in the minors. The Rangers were known to be on the hunt for a left-handed arm for their rotation following Derek Holland's recent injury.
Here's the latest out of the National League:
- Even as they continue to work out contracts with key pitchers Homer Bailey and Aroldis Chapman, the Reds are keeping an eye on the free agent market, reports MLB.com's Mark Sheldon. GM Walt Jocketty says he is looking for an extra outfielder and infielder, indicating that he'd like to have a player at Triple-A that can handle shortstop in the event of an injury to Zack Cozart. "We're still looking at a couple of guys," said Jocketty. "I don't think there's been any progress, especially this week. Once a lot of the agents get through the arbitration process this week, we'll have more time to pursue any last minute invites for Spring Training that create more competition."
- The Cardinals have improved in several areas without sacrificing prospects or draft picks while the rest of the division largely stood pat in terms of acquisitions, says Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, but that does not mean the club has only smooth sailing ahead. While the organization dealt with injuries impressively last year, it is no sure thing to do so again, and players like Peter Bourjos and Allen Craig have some injury baggage. Whether the team can get a repeat performance from Matt Carpenter, and get production from an all-new middle infield (Jhonny Peralta, Kolten Wong, and Mark Ellis) are also all open questions.
- After signing all but one arbitration player (Andrew Cashner), the Padres' payroll looks likely to end up at around $87MM by Opening Day, writes Dennis Lin of U-T San Diego. That would constitute a delivery on owner Ron Fowler's promise of a payroll increase of over 20%, says Lin, who opines that the team could still look to extend Cashner and add a southpaw to the pen.
- As noted in an earlier post, MLB.com's Ken Gurnick says the Dodgers should prioritize an extension of Hanley Ramirez over the signing of Masahiro Tanaka. Meanwhile, reports Mark Saxon of ESPNLosAngeles.com, the team has continued to talk with Michael Young about a return for the trade deadline acquisition.
Michael Young is "strongly considering" retiring after 14 Major League seasons, FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal reports (Twitter links). Young wants to spend more time with his wife and three sons, and is considering walking away from the game despite continued interest in his services. Rosenthal reports that four teams are interested in Young and the veteran infielder had received "decent offers."
Young, who turned 37 in October, hit .279/.335/.395 in 565 PA with the Phillies and Dodgers last season. He began the season as Philadelphia's everyday third baseman but was reduced to a part-time role after he was traded to the Dodgers at the end of August. The Dodgers considered bringing Young back as their third baseman for 2014 but the club instead re-signed Juan Uribe to fill that position.
Besides the Dodgers, Rosenthal reported in December that the Brewers, Rockies and Nationals were all interested in Young this offseason, though the Nats' interest had dried up. Milwaukee, of note, was looking at Young as a first baseman rather than at the hot corner. The Yankees were also connected to Young as a possible option in the wake of Alex Rodriguez's suspension.
The issue for Young could be playing time, as Troy Renck of the Denver Post noted that Young's desire for a starting job could have impeded a deal with the Rockies, who wanted him for a bench role. Of his known suitors, it would seem the Yankees and Brewers could've offered the most potential playing time given how shallow those teams are at third and first, respectively, but Young still would've likely ended up in a platoon.
The fallout over Alex Rodriguez's suspension for the entire 2014 season is still settling over both the Bronx and the entire baseball world. Here's the latest on both A-Rod and other Yankee-related topics...
- The Yankees will "most likely" not sign another infielder to a Major League contract, FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal reports (Twitter link). As Rosenthal notes, that would take the Yankees out of the running for Stephen Drew and Michael Young. Drew might've been a long shot anyway given Scott Boras' salary demands and the fact that Drew is a natural shortstop, though Young and Mark Reynolds were reportedly both on the Yankees' radar. Reynolds, however, has already rejected a minor league offer from the club and only wants a Major League deal.
- The 162-game suspension will reduce Rodriguez's salary to just under $2.87MM for 2014, though Forbes Magazine's Maury Brown notes that the Yankees will pay A-Rod $3MM on Wednesday in the last instalment of his original $10MM signing bonus. Brown's piece also looks at several other facets of Rodriguez's suspension, including possible implications for the MLBPA and future PED testing rules.
- Rodriguez's suspension gives the Yankees millions in salary relief, a situation that The Denver Post's Troy Renck and FOX Sports' Gabe Kapler both see as a sign that MLB needs to do more to penalize teams who have players suspended for PED violations. Renck suggests that wins could be removed from a team's record, while Kapler suggests that a team should pay a suspended player his full salary, but the player would then have to donate his salary while under suspension to an MLB-approved charity.
- "The hard reality is that no matter what you think of A-Rod, the Yankees brought this situation upon themselves, purely out of greed," ESPN New York's Wallace Matthews writes, noting that Rodriguez's contract was negotiated by Yankees upper management above GM Brian Cashman's objections. Matthews suggests that the club could just release Rodriguez and pay the remaining $61MM on his contract just to avoid the distractions if A-Rod shows up at Spring Training as planned.
- From earlier today, the Yankees agreed to sign infielder Scott Sizemore to a minor league deal.
In his latest column, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe revealed that he is part of a BBWAA committee that will explore the Hall of Fame voting process and discuss what changes (if any) need to be made. Some of the issues likely to be addressed by the committee is whether to allow voters to name more than 10 players on their ballots, whether or not long-time broadcasters or statistical analysis-centric writers should be given a say in HOF voting.
Here's the latest hot stove news from Cafardo...
- Two new teams have joined the hunt for Bronson Arroyo. At least one of his suitors is moving closer to giving Arroyo the third contract year he's looking for, though that third year could come in the form of a vesting option. Cafardo isn't sure if the Twins were that mystery team, though they've been interested in Arroyo all winter. He also cites the Yankees and Phillies as interested parties, as those two clubs join the likes of the Orioles, Mets and Pirates as those linked to the veteran righty this winter. Cafardo reported last month that Arroyo has received two-year contract offers from four different teams.
- Free agent Lyle Overbay is an option for both the Astros and Brewers at first base. Milwaukee is also still considering signing Michael Young for first, or trading for Mitch Moreland of the Rangers.
- Agent Scott Boras says “there are five or six teams who I have actively talked to concerning Stephen [Drew],” including the Red Sox. As you might expect, Boras denied that Drew's market is in any way limited, noting that Drew doesn't have a new contract yet since "free agency is a long process. It just doesn’t end at Christmas. It’s a January, February, and even a March process."
- Boras "has a tremendous stake in the Red Sox’ present and future," Cafardo writes, noting that the agent represents not just Drew, but also top youngsters Xander Bogaerts, Jackie Bradley and Deven Marrero.
- "The silence on [Kendrys] Morales is deafening," as teams are reluctant to give up a first round draft pick as compensation for the slugger. At least one team said they're leery about spending significant money for a DH, though Boras, Morales' agent, counters by noting the impact that David Ortiz has had on the Red Sox and also noting that his client can play first base.
- Johnny Damon has stayed in shape and would be willing to resume his career. The 40-year-old hinted at retirement if he couldn't find a contract last offseason and indeed Damon ended up sitting out the 2013. Damon is also a Boras client, and the agent tells Cafardo that Damon has yet to contact him about officially retiring.
- Manny Ramirez wants to continue his career, his hitting coach David Segui predicts, though Segui hasn't spoken to Ramirez in over two months. “Manny will always be able to hit,” Segui said. “He loves to play, so it wouldn’t surprise me if he’s still looking for something.” Ramirez's agent, Barry Praver, said in November that his client looking for a return to the Majors. Ramirez, 41, last played with the bigs with the Rays in 2011 before being suspended for PED use. Over the last two years, Ramirez spent some time with the Athletics' and Rangers' Triple-A affiliates and also played in Taiwan.
- A National League GM predicts that one of Masahiro Tanaka's many suitors will "come in and blow everyone away. There’s going to be a dance where everyone is in the same boat and then there will be a team that breaks the bank for him.”
Hiroki Kuroda gave the Yankees "top priority" this offseason after he decided to pitch another year, the hurler tells Sponichi (via an article by Mike Axisa of River Avenue Blues). Kuroda says the Yankees approached him about an extension as early as August. As Axisa notes, the episode is another indication that the Yankees have abandoned their "no extensions" policy. Here's more Yankees notes, with a heavy emphasis on Alex Rodriguez, who will be suspended for the entire 2014 season:
- The A-Rod suspension gives the Yanks a much better chance of getting under the $189MM luxury tax threshold, but they'll also need to find someone to play third base, Anthony McCarron of the New York Daily News writes. While the Yankees have Kelly Johnson in the fold, he's played just 16 games at third in his Major League career.
- Other potential fits include Mark Reynolds and Michael Young. Reynolds, you may remember, played 36 games in pinstripes last season. There's also Dustin Ackley and Nick Franklin of the Mariners, whom another source says the Yankees expressed interest in at the Winter Meetings. A trade may not be in the cards, however, McCarron says.
- ESPN's Jerry Crasnick examines the fallout from the suspension, noting that cases such as Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa and Rafael Palmeiro indicate A-Rod has little chance of entering the Hall of Fame. Meanwhile, Commissioner Bud Selig can now argue that he's left the game "in a better place."
- While Rodriguez plans to take his case to federal court, Ian O'Connor of ESPN New York opines that such a bid is also unlikely to succeed. "Federal judges historically have little interest in hearing cases already settled in collectively bargained arbitration," O'Connor writes.
- Daniel Lazaroff, a professor at the Loyola Law School in Los Angeles, says A-Rod winning an injunction that would allow him to play in 2014 "is about as likely as the 'steroid-era' players being elected to the Hall of Fame." Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times has more from Lazaroff in his column on the suspension.
- Peter Schmuck of The Baltimore Sun expects a long court battle, which might be A-Rod's "only chance to preserve any semblance of a legacy."
The Yankees could soon learn the result of Alex Rodriguez's appeal of his suspension. If the suspension is upheld, they could turn to free agents Michael Young or Mark Reynolds as alternatives, Andrew Marchand of ESPN New York writes.
If A-Rod isn't available, the Yankees do have the lefty-hitting Kelly Johnson to play the hot corner. Young or Reynolds, both of them right-handed, could platoon with Johnson, who could also play second base. Young hit .279/.335/.395 with the Phillies and Dodgers last season, and Reynolds hit .220/.306/.393 with the Indians and Yankees. CBS Sports' Jon Heyman tweeted last month that the Yankees had interest in Reynolds and Young, but since then, they've agreed to terms with Brian Roberts to help address their second base needs. That would appear to impact their plan at third base, since Johnson can play both positions.
Marchand notes that the Yankees are unlikely to make any moves at third until they know more about Rodriguez's situation, and they might not make any until after Masahiro Tanaka signs, whether that's with them or someone else.