... to a five-year, $80 million extension, and me, being the intrepid and daring and starry-eyed 20-year-old that I was, wrote some nice things about it:
Initial reaction from Texas fans seems to be very positive. The Rangers probably overpaid a bit, but to keep a highly productive player and fan favorite like Young in town is a great move, both from a baseball and a PR standpoint. I certainly know I'm excited.
PECOTA's valuation calculations alone suggest that the Rangers are making a killing. While some question his play at short, it does appear he's adequate at the very least, with David Pinto's Probabilistic Model of Range and Clay Davenport's Fielding Translations certainly suggesting he's a solid enough fielder. In contrast, John Dewan's Fielding Bible comments that Young has problems going to his left, something that has handicapped him both at second and short. You might expect it would prove particularly problematic turning the deuce around the bag if a shortstop doesn't move well to his left, but Rangers shortstops tied for the second-most 4-6-3 double plays turned (44, tied with the Astros; the Rockies led with 48), and they also finished tied for tenth in 6-4-3 double plays started.
Now, admittedly, that's rough and dirty, and Rangers shortstops probably had more opportunities than most, but even if you dock them for that, it would seem that Young's fulfilling a lot of the responsibilities of the job. Will he falter before the end of his contract? Almost certainly, but offensively, he's among the best at the position, and if he can handle it defensively, I think we can see why PECOTA's got warm fuzzies over Young's valuation for the next several years. There's not a particular brand of genius here, just a relatively sensible contract being signed with a good ballplayer. Give credit where credit's due.
And about a week before the signing went down, I decided to make my case (using BP's FRAA to some extent, though even FRAA went kind of haywire) for Young being a defensive asset
Of course, to my untrained eyes, Young's a fine defensive player. And even though he's now 30, there's a decent chance that he'll get even better: with Kinsler hopefully improving further in his second full season, and the fielding master Ron Washington bringing his vast repository of knowledge, things look bright for Michael Young's future on both sides of the ball.
Let's just all pray that his future is in a Rangers uniform - for 2010 and beyond.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I think I'll go and gouge out my eyes. *
[* Not really. **]
[** Well, maybe.]