The first two evenings of the winter meetings came and went with relatively little in the way of meaningful late-night activity, but the third night has brought us word of the Rangers "feverishly" working to acquire Justin Upton, a new rumor that the Rangers actually are showing signs of trading Elvis Andrus ... and now, this, via Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News:
As the winter meetings draw to a close Thursday, the club may be looking at consummating a deal that has been in discussion for four years: the trade of franchise hit leader Michael Young.
According to three major league sources, the Rangers were in advanced talks with Philadelphia about a deal for Michael Young that would include the Rangers eating more than half of his remaining $16 million in salary. The Rangers would likely receive a young major league reliever along with a lower-level prospect.
According to Grant, the Rangers approached the Phillies and at least one other team about a potential Young trade before the winter meetings even commenced on Monday morning; however, progress stalled as the club worked to finalize deals with both Geovany Soto and Joakim Soria, as well as ratcheting up its pursuit of Josh Hamilton and Zack Greinke and tinkering around with other assorted trade possibilities.
To the extent that we can buy into this report, though (while keeping in mind that Grant's beat-writing chops are very strong and that there probably isn't a better conduit for Michael Young-related news than Grant), it seems that legitimate headway has been made towards a Young-to-Philadelphia trade, and that the notion of him being traded before the 2013 season isn't nearly as far-fetched as we once believed it to be.
It is, however, worth bearing in mind that "advanced trade talks" doesn't mean anything more or less than what the words say. It doesn't mean a trade or certain, or even likelier than not; to that end, Young wields full no-trade protection stemming from his 10-and-5 rights (which he acquired last May), and may not have the inclination to leave Texas -- particularly when you consider that he still appears to have the full backing of the manager, which consequently seems to have him back in line for everyday playing time with the Rangers in 2013. It may seem an untenable situation from the front office's perspective, but I'm not sure I see the motivation for Young to pull the trigger.
Unless, of course, he's already been informed by one high-ranking Rangers authority or another that he's not going to be a full-time player next season after all (doubtful), and/or he craves the opportunity to break out of the 1B/DH/UTIL mold and seize a full-time role at third base again. In any event, time keeps slipping away ...