Friday, January 28, 2011

Rangers Urged to Keep Veteran Michael Young

Any ideas that the Rangers should trade veteran slugger Michael Young don't make sense for Dallas-Fort Worth sportscaster Norm Hitzges, who contends that the aging superstar has only marginal value on the open market, and is much better suited to stay put.

Young, who will be 35 when the season opens, has been under fire in recent years for diminishing defensive range that has forced him from shortstop to third base, and now to designated hitter. Though he hit .281 with 91 RBI and 21 homers last year, Hitzges questions how much the team could receive in return for him.

"I'm going to suggest to you, not a great deal" Hitzges told listeners during his daily program on KTKS 1310 Radio, "The Score."

The problem, he explained, is not his productivity but rather his contract, which will pay him $16 million a year through 2013. "...You're asking someone to eat $48 million. "Now how many teams can afford to do that? Very, very few."

Still, Young's 2011 projected assignment as DH has led some, most notably Fox's Ken Rosenthal, to view him as expendable, especially with this season's acquisition of Adrian Beltre to play third and Mike Napoli as a third-string catcher, super reserve and potential designated hitter. Whatever else Napoli is, he has a big right-handed bat, having hit 26 homers last year in 463 at-bats for the Angels.

But Hitzges believes that for the Rangers to receive fair value for Young, the team will have to cover perhaps $8 million to $12 million per year of the Rangers contractual obligations , and even then receive nothing back but prospects. Prospects will be of little help in this year's drive to return to the playoffs.

Better to keep Young for the long haul, primarily playing DH while being used sparingly at third base and second to provide rest for Beltre, 30, and the oft-injured Ian Kinsler, and to spell first baseman Mitch Moreland when the left-handed hitting youngster must contend with a tough lefty pitcher, according to Hitzges.

"I think the Rangers have the perfect situation here," Hitzges said.