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Dodgers, Angels could use Michael Young — but it gets complicated

The Texas veteran wants to be traded, but the size of his contract and the Rangers' own needs would make a deal tricky.

February 08, 2011|By Mike DiGiovanna and Steve Dilbeck
  • Michael Young wants out of Texas, but it remains to be seen if the Dodgers and Angels will emerge as legitimate suitors for the third baseman.
Michael Young wants out of Texas, but it remains to be seen if the Dodgers… (David J. Phillip / Associated…)

The Dodgers and Angels are among eight teams the Texas Rangers can trade Michael Young to without his consent, but the chances of the veteran third baseman and former La Puente Bishop Amat High star's returning to Southern California appear slim.

Young, a six-time All-Star who hit .284 with 21 home runs, 36 doubles and 91 runs batted in to help the Rangers reach the World Series last season, has asked to be traded, and General Manager Jon Daniels may have little choice but to accommodate the request.

Young, 34, lost his third base job when the Rangers signed Adrian Beltre to a five-year, $80-million deal, and he will probably lose at-bats at designated hitter and first base to Mike Napoli, the former Angels slugger acquired in January.

Young vented his frustration Monday, saying he was "misled and manipulated" by Rangers management, and there appears to be little chance of reconciliation.

The Dodgers could use Young's production at second base, and Young would be a nice fit at third for the Angels, who received virtually no production from that spot last season and whiffed in their bid to sign Beltre.

But Young has three years and $48 million left on his contract, which could price him out of the Dodgers' reach, and the Rangers seem reluctant to trade Young to an American League West rival.

To acquire Young, the Angels would probably have to assume most of, if not all, of his contract — something they have little interest in doing — or put together a package of players that would entice the Rangers.

Texas is looking for starting pitching and a position player who could help this season. The Rangers could also target a reliever if closer Neftali Feliz moves to the rotation.

The Angels, who have a payroll of $140 million, would gladly part with left-hander Scott Kazmir, who is owed $12 million this season, and closer Fernando Rodney, who will make $5.5 million — that would more than offset Young's $16-million salary for 2011.

But neither Kazmir (9-15, 5.94 earned-run average last season) nor Rodney (5.65 ERA in September) appeal much to Texas. The Rangers could use a proven utility infielder, and Alberto Callaspo or Maicer Izturis could be part of a deal for Young.

Texas would probably ask for one of the Angels' hard-throwing relievers, Kevin Jepsen or Jordan Walden, but it's doubtful Angels GM Tony Reagins would part with either of the right-handers.

The Angels would also have no interest in trading 19-year-old center fielder Mike Trout, who was recently named baseball's top prospect by, but they have a number of lower-level prospects who could satisfy Texas.

The Dodgers, who have a payroll of $95 million, are interested in Young, who would give them another right-handed bat with some power and fill a huge void at the second spot in the order.

Acquiring Young would also enable them to move Juan Uribe to third, his better defensive position; the Dodgers were already planning on using third baseman Casey Blake, 37, less this year.

But the Dodgers, according to a source familiar with their thinking, have some concern about Young's defense and how his power might translate to Dodger Stadium. They also doubt the Rangers would pick up the bulk of Young's contract.

Young, who has averaged 185 hits during his 10-year career, has a limited no-trade clause that allows him to block deals to all but eight teams; the other six are the Cardinals, Yankees, Twins, Astros, Rockies and Padres.

Colorado appeared to want Young, but the Denver Post reported that the Rockies are no longer in the mix. Young might be willing to expand his eight-team list "on a case-to-case basis."

Dilbeck is a Times correspondent.

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