[5:00 a.m. CDT update: Per FOXSports.com's Ken Rosenthal, sources close to Michael Young say that the Rangers have told him he will not be traded. That was fast. Note that this latest tidbit doesn't preclude a move for Beltre, but it does diminish the likelihood.]
It's so typical of how this type of thing usually seems to play out, and yet a bit stunning nevertheless because of who is involved -- a casual mention of the Rangers "listening to offers" for their de facto face of the franchise (Michael Young), followed by a carefully worded denial from team president Nolan Ryan which only clarified that Texas isn't actively shopping him around (which isn't the same thing as fielding offers, after all), followed by a late-evening report that the Rangers and Rockies are kicking around the idea of sending Young to Colorado, who would then apparently convert him back into a second baseman. This is how it begins.
The most obvious and pertinent question is "Why would the Rockies acquire Young (and assume his hefty per-annum contract) in the first place?", and it's a good question that can, in turn, be answered by peering into the heart of the Rockies' middle infield -- with the departure of Clint Barmes to the Houston Astros, Colorado has the recently acquired Jose Lopez (who put together a few solid seasons during his time in Seattle, but hasn't played second base since 2009 and batted a career-worst .239/.270/.339 last season), Eric Young Jr. (still unestablished going into his age-26 season), and Jonathan Herrera, an okay-fielding all-purpose man who seems better suited for a utility/bench role. There's a conspicuous lack of reliability in this motley collection of second-base options, and if the Rockies' evaluation of Young is that he can still handle that position, then his offense -- which would enjoy a two-variable bounce, owing to both the move to the National League and to a more hitter-friendly environment in Coors Field -- and standing as a high-character player conforms well with the Colorado team-building template.
From the Rangers' perspective, there are two ways that this could make sense: (a) Texas allocates the cost savings derived from a trade of Young to other players that create a net increase in value, or (b) Texas goes ahead and goes through (a) anyway, and then allocates the cost savings to free-agent third baseman Adrian Beltre, whom the intrepid Prashanth Francis wrote about less than 48 hours ago. Contrary to popular belief, Young doesn't actually bank a straight $16 million per season (it's more along the lines of $13-14 million, after accounting for deferred money and such), so if the Rangers could get away with subsidizing only $3-4 million per season, and then turn around and sign Beltre for around $15 million per year (over five years, I would guess), you're looking at an $18-19 million commitment at third base in 2011 -- albeit a commitment that would hopefully create a three-win upgrade, or thereabouts.
You may be asking yourself why paying $6 million per win makes good fiscal sense when I derided that very notion in the context of the Carl Crawford discussion, but there's another important consideration -- flexibility. It's generally accepted that Young's facing a finite life as a third baseman (borne almost entirely from his defensive inadequacies), and that the Rangers will opt to protect their team defense by sliding him to the first base/designated hitter role sometime in 2012-13; this may be a matter of Texas not wanting to pay nearly $15 million per season for such a player who's approaching (if not already entering) the early stages of his decline phase, and not wanting to be forced into committing one of those two positions exclusively to Young, whose bat would be inadequate at such power-producing positions.
There's very little we know about this prospective match as of midnight CDT -- the two sides don't appear to have discussed specifics in terms of dollars or additional players involved, and there's a high likelihood this rumor doesn't bear any fruit. The only thing we seem to know is that Young's limited no-trade clause does not enable him to block a deal to Colorado, so he really doesn't have much say in the matter ... or not in the procedural sense, at least.