Much wrong with Young situation

January, 12, 2009
You've no doubt heard about Michael Young (and if not, Buster Olney's got the gruesome details). Richard Durrett of the Dallas News joins the fray after speaking to Young on the phone …

    Some of Young's quotes:

    "I'm not playing third base. I'm pretty adamant about my stance. I told them I wanted to be traded. The biggest misconception is that I was asked to move to third base. I was never asked. I was flat-out told. I was told I was playing third base. I felt that I had absolutely no say. I don't feel like there was any discussion or dialogue about the matter."

    "At this point in my career, I didn't think it was fair to move. I reached out to teammates and former teammates and veterans to get their thoughts and everyone supported me. All I've ever done is think about the team and do what's best by them. But at the same time, when it comes to long-term commitment and respect factor, it should be a two-way street."

    "I think that I've always been committed to this organization. I signed here. I wanted to stay here. I've been big on loyalty and mutual respect. But sometimes you have to worry about a message that might be sent about the organization and players. What does it say about the organization when you get to a point that no matter what you do, we'll snatch your job away no matter what happens. That's what happened."

This situation has become a perfect storm of foolishness. Two years ago, the Rangers offered Young a five-year, $80 million contract covering the 2009-2013 seasons. This was foolish for a number of reasons. One, he was already under club control through 2008. Two, 2013 was (and still is) a long time away. And three, Young simply didn't project as an $80 million player. Not when considering his age and his limitations as a fielder. It was foolish when they did it and we said it was foolish and yet there it was (and still is) anyway.

Then came the biggest cherry on top in maybe the entire history of cherries on top: American League coaches and managers foolishly named Michael Young the best shortstop in the American League. Not an OK shortstop, nor a good shortstop. The best shortstop. This was also foolish when they did it (and we said it was foolish).

Add all this foolishness up and you may come to understand why Michael Young is upset. First someone tells him he's worth $80 million (including $16 million in 2013, when he's 36!). Then a bunch of someones -- the best baseball men in the American League! -- tell him he's a great shortstop. And now, in 2009, someone's telling him he's not good enough to play his favorite position?

It's easy to dump on Michael Young. It's ridiculous for him to complain about commitment and respect when he's got a guaranteed contract for $80 million. It's silly for him to talk about his job being snatched away when he's been offered another job that's almost exactly as exciting (and just as profitable) as his old job. But Michael Young is just a baseball player. An employee. Granted, a well-paid employee. But an employee none the less. We shouldn't expect employees to see the big picture.

That's for Young's employer. I don't know who's primarily responsible for his contract. If general manager Jon Daniels thought this was a good idea, one might certainly question his judgment. If the contract has (as I suspect) owner Tom Hicks' fingerprints all over it, Daniels mostly deserves a pass (though a big part of a GM's job is convincing his bosses to avoid rank foolishness).

But if anyone needed yet another object lesson in the foolishness of contracts like this, here it is.

(If you just can't enough of this heart-warming story, Lone Star Ball is posting periodic updates from deep in the heart of Texas.)



You must be signed in to post a comment

Already have an account?