On Monday evening, the Texas Rangers acknowledged that star Michael Young has requested a trade.
The question now: Where might he be headed?
Here’s a look at seven teams that could, in theory, have room for Young. Inclusion on this list doesn’t necessarily suggest that the teams are in active dialogue with the Rangers.
To avoid repetition, let’s acknowledge the obvious right from the beginning: The three years and $48 million left on Young’s contract will be tricky for any team to add at this stage of the offseason, as budgets and rosters are typically set by now. And with Vladimir Guerrero off the board after he signed with the Orioles last week, the Rangers will increase their asking price for Young. It will be much tougher to replace Young's offense now.
Already, we can cross off the Detroit Tigers from the list of possible suitors. Dave Dombrowski, the Detroit club president and general manager, told FOXSports.com on Tuesday that the Tigers are set with their internal candidates at second base.
Why: The Rockies have shown the most interest in Young throughout the off-season. Sources say they envision him as their everyday second baseman.
Why not: Talks with Colorado have gone on for two months without reaching a resolution. Also, Young hasn’t played second base in the major leagues since 2003. If his range was a problem at third base, it might become an even larger issue at second.
LOS ANGELES ANGELS
Why: The Angels have an obvious need at third base, where they had the lowest OPS of any team in the majors last year. Young would love to continue as an everyday player in the field while reuniting with close friend Vernon Wells.
Why not: The Rangers probably will be reluctant to trade Young within the division, particularly to the rival Angels. Texas won’t want to see him 19 times this year.
LOS ANGELES DODGERS
Why: The Dodgers could upgrade their offense by adding Young at third base and shifting Casey Blake into a super-utility/outfield role. As with the Angels, Young would probably welcome a move back to his native Southern California.
Why not: Given the Dodgers’ ongoing ownership uncertainty, the Rangers would probably need to eat a significant portion of Young’s salary in order to move him. MLB.com reported that a deal with the Dodgers is “a very long shot.”
ST. LOUIS CARDINALS
Why: St. Louis may want to upgrade at third or second, two positions where Young could help. Third baseman David Freese is coming off ankle surgery, and second baseman Skip Schumaker is a converted outfielder who had a disappointing 2010.
Why not: The Cardinals are a little preoccupied now with trying to sign Albert Pujols to a long-term deal. They probably want to save all their dimes in the piggy bank for the effort to retain Pujols.
Why: In Carlos Lee, the Astros have a ready-made trade candidate. Lee is due $37 million over the next two seasons, according to Cot’s Baseball Contracts. The dollar values are close enough that the clubs could balance the money with a cash exchange. Young could play second base in Houston, with Bill Hall taking Lee’s place in left. Shortstop is another option for Young, with Clint Barmes moving to second and Hall to left.
Why not: The Astros are up for sale, meaning it’s difficult to make any moves that affect the payroll number – even a little bit. The Rangers are one of 14 teams on Lee’s no-trade clause, so his permission would be required for any deal. One source told FOXSports.com that Houston is a “real long shot” to get Young.
TORONTO BLUE JAYS
Why: The Blue Jays would love to acquire an everyday third baseman, so they can move Jose Bautista (and his difference-making throwing arm) back to right field. Young would have particular appeal to a Toronto team that has a youthful core and is trying to establish itself as a contender in the American League East.
Why not: The Jays, who drafted Young in 1997, are one of the teams to which he can block a trade. By dealing Wells and Shaun Marcum this offseason, general manager Alex Anthopoulos suggested that he wants to accumulate young talent with an eye toward 2012 and 2013.
SAN DIEGO PADRES
Why: Young could take over at third base and push Chase Headley into the outfield. The Padres are among the teams to which Young can’t block a trade, according to MLB.com.
Why not: The Padres have a modest payroll and no bad contracts to swap, meaning the Rangers would need to eat the vast majority of the money due to Young. It’s very doubtful that such a trade would meet the Rangers’ standard of improving their club.
— Jon Paul Morosi