In today's world of what-have-you-done-for-us-lately, Michael Young didn't do much last season, which combined with an age factor of 36, meant the Rangers' all-time leader in just about everything worthwhile was a goodbye waiting to happen this winter.
The goodbye came Saturday, when Young began informing teammates he was accepting an arranged trade to Philadelphia. Actually, it was a dump job more than a trade to the Phillies, requiring Rangers ownership to pick up more than $10 million of the 16 mil owed on next year's contract.
Nobody should be surprised, particularly anybody who followed the adventures of the Rangers last season, when by late August manager Ron Washington was under heavy pressure from some in the team's front office to bench Young.
Washington told his bosses to stick it. He never benched Mike.
Put that down as another reason why RonWash has become maybe my all-time favorite of managers and head coaches who have worked this market over the past 50-something years, starting with the great Tom Landry in 1960.
I can't speak for the suddenly vast Rangers fan base — vast, for one reason, because of the kind of player/person Michael Young was — but I'd say 99.9 percent of the loyalists viewed Saturday as a sad day. Even if you agreed it was time for Mike to go, it was a sad day.
Then there's the minuscule element of fans — and even some in the team's front office, and some management butt-kissers in the local media — who have been on a Michael Young good-riddance campaign for several seasons.
But even those idiots, you would think, paused for a second on Saturday, and did have a brief thought of, “now there goes a damn good ballplayer.”
Maybe not good now, but over the years — with the Rangers it was 13 consecutive seasons of MY appearing in the uniform — he produced at such a rate that he exits out of here as the all-time club leader in so many important categories I'll spare you the list.
More than numbers, however, it was repeatedly mentioned by voices on other teams that Young was the most respected ballplayer among ballplayers/managers/coaches in both leagues. The way he played the game, and played it totally within a team concept, and the way he conducted himself on and off the field, was admired by his peers.
In time, of course, his massive salary became an issue, more so last season than ever before, but those sniping at the money conveniently forgot that for most of the past decade, Young was the most underpaid player in the majors.
Four straight seasons here of over 90 RBIs and a .300-plus batting average and he was making barely 4 mil a season, without one complaint, either, as he played out that contract.
But, yes, the time had come for Young to go. I just don't see any reason for any glee, even from the idiot element.
The Rangers are mired in an offseason holding pattern at the moment, with so much to do and still nothing done. But because of ongoing slippage on defense, Young's best position may have been DH, and his bat work dropped so dramatically last season you couldn't pencil him in there for 2013.
Washington, however, would have had Young in the lineup somewhere next season, if, of course, Young had still been with the Rangers. Ron's loyalty and love for MY was unconditional.
In a way, this trade benefits Washington more than anyone else. An ongoing fight has been erased with those in the front office who want to step beyond their assigned jobs and also attempt to fill out the lineup card.
There were some ugly moments last season in this area, but Washington, from the standpoint of holding his clubhouse together, absolutely did the right thing. He continued to play Young, who was a clubhouse icon, beloved by his teammates.
But as was written here last September, if the front office wanted Young gone, then the time would come in the offseason. The offseason is when the front office could do something about its Michael Young dislike.
And the front office has now done something about it.
But you don't do it when a two-time defending American League champion is in first place in the division and on another course for the postseason. Then, of course, came the collapse by the Rangers, which, ironically, had nothing to do with Young.
Despite dismal overall numbers, MY hit .313 with four homers and 15 RBIs in September/October.
Now he's gone, but the legacy of Michael Young will long live in Rangers lore.
He was a darn good ballplayer and a darn good human being.
MCT Information Services