ESPN.com's Buster Olney talked to five talent evaluators in the majors about Michael Young. You can read the entire entry here (if you have an insider account). But here's what a few of them said:
* "We still see him as an everyday option for a contending team. Our hit and power tools would equate to about a 770-780 OPS (using OPS as a quick and dirty number but specifically around .280-.290 avg with 17-19 HR's). His swing is low maintenance and his ability to put the bat on the ball will always allow him to hit for a higher batting average. He's always had some firmness to his hands, so that will show up no matter where you play him."
* "Young is a solid ML player, an occasional All-Star, who probably fits better at second base than third base -- both in terms of defense and profile. The one issue that hasn't been brought up -- yet -- is his Home/Road splits. Hitting in one of baseball's best parks for hitters, he hit 16 of his 21 HR at home last year, and his Home/Road OPS split was nearly 200 points. To put this in perspective, on the Road, in 334 AB's he hit .260 with five home runs, a .299 OBP, and a .380 SLG -- and he will turn 35 in October. I like Young and he's a good hitter with off the charts makeup and leadership, but he's not a $16 million a year player. In fact, he's probably closer to a $5-7 million a year player for the next three years going forward."
* "How appropriate that Michael Young and his best friend in baseball Vernon Wells are in the news. … Two extremely durable, conscientious, fierce competitors, great teammates and talented offensive players are in the news because they were rewarded with contracts at the height of their earning power that have become an inevitable albatross to the employers that rewarded them in the first place. They are both still very good, winning baseball players that will impact their prospective baseball teams going forward."
* "...In more of a utility role, Young's defense wouldn't seem to be as much of a concern (particularly at third base), and the versatility to spot at a few different positions in the infield could at least capably provide solid protection as a backup/platoon option."
* "His best overall profile is at third base. I'm not sure how he would move up the middle, to second base, and he doesn't have enough production for a first baseman (which he probably would be good at as a defender, with time). His best position in time would be first base, but he's not a fit for that. He makes the routine play at third base; he's a tough out and can fit in the 2-hole for anybody's lineup. Strengths: baseball IQ, a professional hitter, solid hands and arm. Weaknesses: lacks overall production with the bat, age and is slowing down."
I found these evaluations interesting and thought you might too. Again, you can read the full thoughts on Olney's blog here. We'll get more into more Young talk on Monday. The grumblings I'm hearing indicate this isn't as imminent as some have suggested, but we'll see. Things can change in a hurry. The biggest question is how upset Young is with his role and how the Rangers deal with that. But I still argue that it's not in the club's best interest in 2011 to trade him (particularly when they'll have to pay a huge chunk of his remaining deal anyway), though how unhappy he is fits into how the club approaches it.