Is there any way that we can keep Michael Young for next year?
-- William D., Dallas
Young is adamant about being traded and the Rangers seem determined to accommodate him. But an obvious trade has not surfaced yet. Texas general manager Jon Daniels said he has been approached by teams, so apparently there is interest. But this is an especially tough contract to move at this point in the offseason. The Rangers were able to trade Alex Rodriguez to the Yankees late in the 2003-04 offseason only because Aaron Boone injured his knee playing basketball.
There is a significant chasm between player and club that would have to be repaired. But if there is no deal out there, Young and the Rangers may be presented with fait accompli and have to work out their differences. Young is not going to retire or go play in Japan. There have been unhappy players who have been productive.
How did this happen? How did a class act like Young and a real standup man like Nolan Ryan come to such an irreparable difference? As a fan of both, I'm torn. I guess I just need to know who the "bad guy" is in all this mess.
-- Tim V., Arlington
I'm not sure what happened, but this is what should have happened ...
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1. If the Rangers were interested in trading Young -- apparently they were -- they should have been able to find out by Jan. 1 if it was going to be possible.
2. Once the Rangers were engaged in pursuing Adrian Beltre -- a process that took time -- they should have secured a firm and unswerving commitment from Young that he would be willing to switch to designated hitter/utility infielder.
3. Once Beltre was signed and Young agreed to switch positions, the Rangers should have cut off all trade talks with other teams. If they were telling Young that he would not be traded, they should have stopped any discussions with other teams no matter who started them. Apparently, it does hurt to listen.
4. There was no need for the Rangers to flirt with Jim Thome and Manny Ramirez, and Young shouldn't have been spooked by the acquisition of Mike Napoli. That shouldn't have had anything to do with him.
This was a wildfire that was burning ever since the Winter Meetings and never should have gone this far.
If the Rangers trade Young, what do you think the chances are of them signing Carlos Delgado to a Minor League deal? He could be a low-risk, high-reward guy and put up great DH numbers.
-- Bryan C., Anna, Texas
My vote would be for Troy Glaus, who is still a free agent. Glaus, 34, hit .240 with 16 home runs and 71 RBIs for the Braves last year. He could be a right-handed DH while playing occasionally at first and third. Plus, he has great makeup and a winning pedigree.
What could be another scenario in which we could keep Young happy? Moving Ian Kinsler to a DH role might work since he is injury prone, and then Michael could move back to second base. Would that be a feasible option?
-- Spencer S., Salt Lake City
Young as a designated hitter and "super utility" infielder would have been perfect for the Rangers. Most important would be to have both Young and Kinsler in the lineup offensively. I'm not sure who is better defensively, but Kinsler has been playing there for five years, so no need to move him out of position for a guy who hasn't played second base in seven years.
I'm curious why Ron Washington has ruled out an outfield spot, particularly center field. Young would be an upgrade over Julio Borbon, even with the lack of experience there, and the comparison for me would be Robin Yount. Your opinion?
-- Heidi S., Raleigh N.C.
My opinion? It may be a minority opinion, but I still think that Borbon can be an excellent center fielder and leadoff hitter. I strongly believe that. Yount was 29 when he moved to center, and he had more overall speed than Young. But Young's arm would play well somewhere in the outfield.
I don't get the Yorvit Torrealba signing. He seems to be, at best, a mid-level catcher that very few know anything about. I like Matt Treanor being the catcher, or having Napoli compete for the job. Please explain the Rangers' infatuation with Torrealba.
-- Randy M., Plano, Texas
The Rangers want a defensive-minded catcher, and Torrealba fits that description. He has had some injuries that have hurt his throwing, but he still carries a reputation for calling a good game and working well with pitchers. Here is something curious about Napoli: He has the highest career slugging percentage and the fourth-highest OPS of any active catcher with at least 200 games caught. But the Angels still saw him only as a part-time catcher and ultimately moved him to Toronto.
Where were the Rangers on the Justin Duchscherer signing? The Orioles got him for $700,000 plus incentives? I think he would have been a good signing for the money. It would be nice to see him a Ranger again.
-- Rick P., Fort Worth, Texas
Duchscherer is 33. He has made five starts in two years. He has been on the disabled list five times in four years. He was a starter for just one season and didn't hold up. He seemed to be an excellent reliever before the ill-advised switch to the rotation. I like the pitcher, but only as a reliever.
If the Rangers move Neftali Feliz to the starting rotation, who do you see having the best tools to take the closer job, physically and mentally?
-- David B., Priddy, Texas
There are people who think that Mark Lowe has the stuff to be a closer. He certainly has the makeup. But if Feliz does make the switch -- still unknown at this point -- Alexi Ogando is the leading candidate to be the closer.
What is your prediction for the members of the Opening Day pitching staff? Please give us your starters and bullpen members, with duties.
-- Mark R. McKinney, Texas
My prediction? The rotation will be C.J. Wilson, Colby Lewis, Brandon Webb, Tommy Hunter and Derek Holland. Feliz will be the closer. Lowe, Ogando and Darren O'Day will be the right-handed setup relievers. Darren Oliver and Arthur Rhodes will be the left-handers. Matt Harrison will be the long reliever. Michael Kirkman will start at Triple-A Oklahoma City. Scott Feldman will be on a rehab assignment.
What will David Murphy's role be with the club this season? I hope to see more starts for him.
-- Emily P., San Antonio
If Young is traded, Murphy would seem to be the prime candidate to be the Rangers' designated hitter, at least against right-handed pitchers. Under the original plan, he would have been the fourth outfielder, with Washington still finding ways to get him into the lineup. Either way, he'll get his 400 at-bats.
What do you think of David Bush? Does he have a realistic shot to make the rotation? He seems like he's a better pitcher than the stats show.
-- Alex M., Carrollton, Texas
He has had some solid seasons in the Major Leagues -- helping the Brewers win a division title in 2008 -- but the last two haven't been pretty. In 52 starts, he is 13-22 with a 5.23 ERA, allowing 326 hits in 287 innings. He throws strikes but is not particularly overpowering. He is sufficient insurance in case some of the Rangers' young starters stumble in Spring Training. Otherwise, he is a long shot to make the rotation and may have a better chance as a middle reliever.
With Elvis Andrus at short for years to come, what do you think the Rangers will do with Jurickson Profar in a few years?
-- Sammy B., Surprise, Ariz.
Congratulations! You are the first person to ask that question. No doubt there are many more to come. But Profar played at short-season Class A Spokane last year and doesn't turn 18 until next week. He is still three years away ... well, maybe two years.
Here in Cedar Hill, I do not receive KESN 103.3 FM at all. Are the Rangers going to do anything about the poor reception?
-- John E., Cedar Hill, Texas
There are definite issues with that radio station in the southern half of the Metroplex. The Rangers said those issues are supposed to be addressed before the season begins, but they remain unresolved.
I remember that at one point you mentioned an address to which people can send things to be autographed. Can I get that address? My sister's birthday is coming up and I would like to try to get an autograph from one of her favorite players.
-- Dan B., Redmond, Wash.
Send it to the player in care of the Texas Rangers, 1000 Ballpark Way, Arlington, Texas, 76011. Always include a self-addressed stamped envelope to make it easier on the player. There are no guarantees, and some players are overwhelmed by mail. But most of them at least make the attempt to sign for fans.
I'm a nickname guy and a lifelong Rangers fan so naturally I like to come up with nicknames for my beloved Texas sluggers. Last year Mitch Moreland came up to bat and I yelled, "Let's go, Moose!" I don't know why, but it seemed to fit. I know the DFW area already has a "Moose" in Daryl Johnston, but I was wanting to know if this nickname has your approval, and if so, if you could help spread the word? P.S.-- David Murphy is "Make 'em blue, S'murfy"
-- Todd R., Tyler, Texas
Bet Chris Berman is kicking himself for not having coming up with that Murphy nickname.