There's nothing quite like some inopportunely timed late-night chaos engulfing the Texas Rangers to make the hot stove season just a little bit more interesting, and we can all thank FOXSports.com's Ken Rosenthal for evoking it:
Rangers shortstop Michael Young asked to be traded after team officials told him in December that they want him to move to third base, according to major-league sources.
Young, 32, does not want to change positions. He was "absolutely livid" with the Rangers for making such a request just months after American League managers and coaches voted him a Gold Glove for the first time, one source said.
More blindsiding revelations, all courtesy of Rosenthal:
Rangers general manager Jon Daniels and manager Ron Washington informed Young shortly after the winter meetings that the team wanted him to play third to clear a spot for top shortstop prospect Elvis Andrus, 20. Club president Nolan Ryan did not attend the meeting.
The Rangers have been listening to trade proposals for Young, an All-Star the past five seasons. Young, who is owed about $60 million over the next five seasons, holds a full no-trade clause. However, he would rather be traded than displaced for Andrus, who has yet to play above Class AA, sources said.
General manager Jon Daniels affirmed during a hastily organized Sunday evening conference call with the media that while the Rangers have investigated multiple trade possibilities, they remain hopeful that Young will remain in Texas for the long haul:
"It was a shock to him and he has not necessarily agreed with the move so far. He has asked us to explore trade opportunities, which we have. I'm going forward expecting Michael to be a part of our team in 2009. Our desire is for Michael to play third base. He has to buy into what we're doing and buy into the concept that we're a better club by getting all of our championship-caliber players lined up. We're going to continue to talk to him and come to a resolution."
Though Daniels has evidently not spoken to Young directly since before the New Year, he has stayed in contact with his agent, Dan Lozano (who declined comment on the rapidly deteriorating situation); Ryan, meanwhile, spoke with Young last Friday, downplaying the seriousness of the shortstop's indisposition towards moving to third base and stating that it was "too premature to make any type of prediction" about how the situation would play out and what the projected Opening Day starting lineup might look like.
Young, however, reiterated his frustration to Richard Durrett of the Dallas Morning News, emphasizing that he does not presently have any intention of acquiescing to the organization's implorations:
"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."
Owed approximately $60 million over the next five seasons (multiple media reports suggest the exact sum is actually $62 million), Young persevered through a pair of broken fingers in 2008 to log 700-plus plate appearances for the fifth time in six seasons while hitting .284/.339/.402 and acquiring his first-ever Gold Glove award.