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Rangers' Michael Young to Colorado Rockies Trade Not Dead Yet

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As tweeted by Troy Renck of the Denver Post, a trade that would send 3B Michael Young to the Colorado Rockies which was seemingly shot down last night is apparently still alive, but complicated. Renck alludes to a lot of moving parts, which would likely be in the forms of MLB players, prospects, and salary dumps. As it stands, a Michael Young trade anywhere would be largely viewed as a salary dump and would not reflect well on the Rangers.

Young has essentially been a career Texas Ranger (he was drafted by Toronto and then traded for Esteban Loaiza), getting his first cup of coffee in 2000. His breakout year came in 2003, when he batted .306/.339/.446, good for a .785 OPS and 97 OPS+ (104 wRC+), and he hit what might be viewed as his peak in 2005 at age 28, where he won the AL batting title (.331/.385/.513, 24HR) and led the league in hits as well (221). Since then, he's slowly declined, but saw a healthy bounceback in 2009, posting a .892 OPS, but 2010 dipped back down to .774 OPS.

Projections aren't too favorable for Young, either. Rockies fans hoping that the potential .310+ hitter Young has the potential to be may be disappointed by both Baseball Think Factory's ZiPS projections as well as Bill James' 2011 forecasts:
























Bill James













Neither projection thinks that Young is going to repeat any of his past success, which makes a trade even more questionable for Colorado. Factor in Young's $16M per year contract going into 2013, and it makes it even harder to picture the Rockies really getting on board this.

What Young could provide for the team, however, may not be completely measurable. Aside from benefits of leadership and good clubhouse presence, Young is a strong contact hitter, sporting a career 82.7% contact rate, and only having 2 seasons in his career where his contact % wasn't at 82% or higher. For perspective, of all the Rockies with 100 PA or more, only Tulowitzki, Barmes, EYJ, Herrera, Mora, and Helton were able to top that contact rate.

The major question to ask is can Michael Young outperform the other infield candidates, namely Jose Lopez, and to the extent we'd need to see to rationalize his contract? If it's not a substantial improvement over the current candidates, this might be a move for the sake of making a move.

Blatant contract and talent-lost issues aside, I like the idea of a Michael Young trade. The 2B position has stagnated over the past 4 years, showing constant battles at the position for playing time between the likes of Jayson Nix, Jeff Baker, Johnny Herrera, Clint Barmes, and now Eric Young Jr. - none of which have been able to muster more than short stretches of success. Having a name penciled in at 2B - and likely the 2 slot in the lineup as well - would provide another element of stability for Colorado, hopefully helping the offense as a whole.

Frankly, if the Rockies find a way to make this trade work out, and they're comfortable with the extra salary, I'm all for it. With young talent coming up the pipe in the next couple of years, a lot of positions will find themselves more affordable. Young's age is also prohibitive, but I suppose we'll just have to wait and see if these trade talks resurrect themselves before panicking too much.