Saturday, February 5, 2011

Trade talks swirl again around Michael Young and Colorado Rockies

The winter meetings are usually a pretty dull period of time for the Rockies. They are not the type of team that is going to throw around huge money to big-name free agents.

That's why it was such a big surprise when the Rockies name was linked to reports that they might be interested in the Rangers Michael Young. The rumors were quickly dispelled when experts suggested that the Rockies wouldn't be very interested in taking on a three-year deal with $48 million left on it. Especially considering Young is a 34 year-old.

However, it seems that those rumors had legs. Reports said that the talks were far enough along that the Rockies had Eric Young Jr. take a physical in order to complete the deal. The Rangers backed out over concerns of Young's stress fracture that he suffered in May.

If the Rockies could find a way to get Young in a Rockies uniform, it would be a huge boost to the lineup. The lifetime-Ranger is a career .300 hitter, with 158 home runs and 811 RBIs with a OPS of .795. He is 34 years-old, so the numbers should be slightly below his career averages, but he would be a great addition to the two-hole in the Rockies lineup.

With Young owed $16 million over the next three seasons, the deal will certainly have to include the Rangers eating a large portion of his contract. Of course, the Rangers would be willing to eat more of his salary if the Rockies include better players.

The question is, what would be smart for the Rockies to give up in order to acquire Young.

Young would be the Rockies second baseman. All of the talk of a four-man battle for the position going into Spring Training would be done. So, realistically, moving Eric Young might not be a bad decision. While he is already a fan favorite, his playing time is still a concern, and would certainly be diminished with Michael Young on the roster. So having EY stuck in Colorado Springs for another year is not advantageous for the Rockies or EY.

The Rockies might be able to sweeten their side of the deal, and make taking on Young's salary far more reasonable if they throw Aaron Cook into the deal. Cook is entering the final year of his three year extension that will pay him just over $10 million with a $500,000 buyout for 2012. That would rid the Rockies of Cook's deal, and make Young more affordable for the 2011 season. If the Rangers were willing to pay half of Young's salary for the next two years, it might be worth it for the Rockies.

Getting the Rangers to pay $16 million for a player who won't be suiting up for them might be hard for them to swallow, especially considering that Young is essentially the Rangers' version of Todd Helton.

If the asking price goes too much over that, the Rockies should forget the deal. It simply isn't worth giving up multiple prospects, plus established Major League players, to acquire a 34 year-old two-hole hitter, even if that makes the Rockies a much better team.

However, if they are able to pull off the deal, the Rockies lineup will be tough to pitch around in 2011.

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