More drama, suspense and intrigue courtesy of FOXSports.com's Ken Rosenthal, who writes this evening that (a) the Rangers have reached an "advanced" stage in reinvigorated talks with the Rockies on a trade that would send Michael Young to Colorado (per one source), but also writes that (b) other sources are indicating that things aren't quite so far along because of the confusing mixed messages the Rangers are throwing Colorado's way, and suggests that (c) Texas may be reaching a point of no return with Young, who reportedly expressed his displeasure with his reduced role in private to club officials.
A couple of things stand out to me about this story. First, we have Rosenthal backing up Tracy Ringolsby's account of the abortive Young-for-Eric Young Jr. trade, which seemed to suffer something of a credibility hit after Young Jr. himself clarified that the supposed trade-indicating physical had nothing to do with him possibly being traded and everything to do with coincidental timing -- but that in and of itself didn't explain the details of the Rangers viewing the results of his physical, voicing their concerns over his formerly stress-fractured tibia, and then backing out of a deal. I do wonder if this is a matter of one colleague blindly supporting another's narrative, but I also think Rosenthal is too good at what he does to not do his due diligence on something like this.
Second, this latest story lends more credence to the theory that Young still isn't happy with how all of this has gone down, in spite of his facade of acceptance of his new role; his recent adamance about being only a "temporary" designated hitter particularly stood out to me, because if the Rangers are truly as committed to Mitch Moreland as their beat writers have indicated, then I don't know where else the bulk of his playing time is going to originate from. Seriously. Every single infield position in Texas is currently committed to a player who is under club control through at least the 2013 season. It would be very easy to say that he should suck it up and be happy with his $13-14 million annual salaries, but he clearly assigns a good amount of importance to being able to play defense on a regular basis, and if he's unhappy about that to the point that it creates an on-going distraction (or, in the event that things get nastier, demands another trade), then that's a problem you can't simply brush aside.
The question remains about the exact point on the value/salary spectrums where it makes sense for Texas to deal Young -- that is, whether it's sensible or realistic to eat $10-15 million while receiving minimal value in return, or eating slightly less money than that while taking back injury-prone but otherwise solid right-hander Aaron Cook (and the entirety of his healthy $9.25 million salary in 2011) as Rosenthal suggests. Because we don't know the exact monetary value the Rangers assign to the enhanced lineup flexibility that would stem from a Young trade, and because we don't know how much weight Texas assigns to those more intangible aspects of the total package, this is virtually impossible to examine with any kind of precision. Too many moving targets to hit. About the best we can do is throw out proposals and see if they at least pass the smell test.
I will, however, echo something I casually mentioned last week -- if there will ever be a right time to deal Young, right now is the time, because they're in the advantageous position of still being a divisional favorite even if Young is dealt, and the one thing that can effectively minimize the P.R. blow and the infuriation of Young loyalists is continued winning. Winning is the panacea. It fills seats, makes money, builds stadiums, and mends damaged fan relations. They could survive this. They may not elect to try, but they could, and as beaten down as I may be by this story, there's no sense in ignoring it, because I can't shake the feeling that there's a very good reason why it hasn't gone away.