There are two possible reasons for the stark difference between the way baseball players view the treatment of Michael Young at the hands of the Texas Rangers compared to everyone else.
It is very likely that players, current and former alike, have an entirely different view of loyalty as it relates to lifetime employment and/or legacy. Former and current players do not like the way the Rangers treated Michael Young, moving him around the diamond before finally eating a large chunk of his salary just to make him go away.
Players view this treatment as disloyal, an affront to the man who was the “heart and soul” of many a Rangers team. Cliff Lee was first to voice such concerns, citing his brief time as a member of the Rangers. Mitch Williams is the latest to join the chorus damning the Rangers, as the former Phillies player sounded off on the Rangers way of doing business on his personal MLB.com blog.
While players certainly view the situation differently than others outside the game, it is also possible that Michael Young himself was hurt by the Rangers “addition by subtraction” decision, bellyaching to other veterans who, in turn, go to bat for Young in the press. Ever the classy professional, Young says all the right things in public but it he could well harbor a great deal of resentment towards the Rangers ballclub.
Plausible but not that likely. Far more likely? Mitch Williams shouldn’t be left alone with a word processor.
Mitch Williams uses the treatment of Michael Young as his jumping off point in coming to the aid of Nolan Ryan, the figurehead CEO of the Texas Rangers after Texas promoted whizkid general manager Jon Daniels this week, essential ceding all power to the architect of their current success.
Ever the former jock, Williams praises booksmart nerds like Daniels for his expertise in the accounting fields but wonders how he can be considered a talent evaluator having never played the game. Nolan Ryan played the game. He can evaluate talent because played the game and was subsequently gifted a role as a special assistant to the whoever as a result. Pretty simple, no?
Best yet, Mitch Williams deploys perhaps the greatest use of irony in the history of the printed word to prove his point.
In my opinion, you are only ignorant if you try and tell someone how to do their job if you aren’t qualified to do that job. I don’t think I’m going to get to many people calling me to do their taxes or represent them in court. Just as I am not going to argue with someone who does a job that I have no clue about.
Which is to say, Mitch Williams is here for all your front office needs, baseball owners of the world. He played the game and can help you build a winner!
There is another, more telling quote from Williams’ screed. Williams compares the atmosphere and buzz around the Rangers now compared to his time in Arlington (The Wild Thing spent the first three seasons of his career with Texas, 1986-1988). “they [the Rangers] have done something I never thought would be possible, and that was take away fans from the Dallas Cowboys.” Which is weird as Jon Daniels has been on the job since the end of the 2005 season.
Daniels engineered several big trades over that time, none bigger than the Mark Teixeira trade which netted Texas Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Elvis Andrus, Matt Harrison, and Neftali Feliz. To say nothing of the Josh Hamilton trade and the decision to move Alfonso Soriano in order to give Ian Kinsler a place to play.
The Rangers have been nothing short of a model franchise over Daniels tenure. Not to say Nolan Ryan had nothing to do with the success, but the Rangers ownership appears well aware who does the heavy lifting in this organization.
Which brings us back to Michael Young. Yes, the Rangers moved him around the diamond before eventually trading their heart and soul. What they did NOT do was bury him on the bench. The Rangers kept giving Young at bats. They were wise in trying to keep Young in the lineup, as he rewarded the Rangers patience with two excellent offensive seasons in the last four years.
Rather than shove Young farther down the depth chart, they traded him to a place where he will get every day reps. What else does he expect? What else CAN he expect as a 36-year-old singles hitter making $16MM without a real defensive role?
Players should support each other. In jumping to the defense of Young, that is all guys like Mitch Williams and Cliff Lee are really doing here. By choosing the Known Ran side of the Rangers front office divide, Williams again demonstrates his loyalty to folks like him who played the game.
But Mitch Williams is paid to talk about baseball. To analyze baseball. If he cannot see the baseball benefits – the tangible steps towards winning more baseball games – of Jon Daniels and the decision to move on from the Michael Young era, he’s a fool. At the very least, he’s in the wrong profession. Not that anyone familiar with Williams’ work would argue otherwise.
And the rest
On the Nolan Ryan tip – the Rangers owe it to their former legend to treat him with the respect he earned. [Dallas News]
Should we treat infield pop flies the same as we treat strikeouts? [Fangraphs]
Venezuelan stars react to the death of Hugo Chavez [Matthew Leach]
The inspirational story of Ryan Westmoreland takes another turn, as the former Red Sox prospect is healthy but retiring from baseball. Best of luck, Ryan. [ProJo]
Home field advantage in baseball – does it even exist? [Hardball Times]
Team USA would be well-served to read that previous link, me thinks.
Phoenix will be heavily pro-Mexico Friday night, and USA will face huge Dominican or Venezuela crowds in Miami. 1rst home crowd adv.? SF
— Peter Gammons (@pgammo) March 7, 2013
WBC Tune Up Run Down!
The Yankees kicked it around again as the Dominican Republic rolls again. [MLB.com]