Farewell Michael Young

Over the weekend we learned that fan favorite and the face of the Franchise, Michael Young had indeed waived his no trade clause for the opportunity to be traded to the Philadelphia Phillies. This came as a shock to most longtime Rangers fans who loved Michael Young, but there isn’t anybody out there who will say a bad thing about him. This was a prime opportunity for Young to become an everyday player again.

Things have been frosty between Michael Young and the front office since 2009 when there was a public outcry against the move from shortstop to third base. But Young being the consummate professional just accepted the multiple moves and continued to be a great “room guy” even when he disagreed with the move. You could tell last season that Young was not happy about his playing time being cut, and the fact he wasn’t an everyday player in the field.  But you never heard him publicly complain, or make any stink in the clubhouse about it.

Young even said himself “when this opportunity came available, it was a no brainer”. Michael Young is a competitor and a great player; he needs to be thanked for his 12 years of dedication and loyalty to the club. Fans need to remember, this was not something he requested, or even made happen on his own. The Phillies threw out an offer to the Rangers and Young had the chance to say no and stay, but knowing he wouldn’t play every day, and he would probably play less this season, he couldn’t help but say yes.

Michael Young’s hand was practically forced by the organization to accept this trade, because they have been pushing him further and further back for the last three years. Was he the best defensive player? No, was he the best hitter? No, but he was consistent and always gave his all. That is all you can ask for from a player, he never acted better or too good for the team. He was the consummate teammate and professional. There need to be more players like him in pro sports because he is the perfect role model.

Farewell Michael, we wish you the best of luck in Philadelphia, I will gladly stand and cheer for you next time you visit the ballpark.

2011 Major League Baseball Preview

It is that time of year again, the start of the baseball season is coming up fast, and I have poured over hundreds of breakdowns and watched hours of expert analysis to come up with this outlook on how I think this season will go. Ok, maybe not…I haven’t really done a lot of research on this, but I do have a gut feeling about the teams and I am basing my picks on my gut feeling. There have been a lot of changes, and some teams have improved, but I think it will be a fun season. It better be to tolerate a 162 game season. So without further ado, here is my gut feeling on this season.

American League:

AL East:
The AL East is pretty much looking like a 3 team race(again) but the Rays look like they have fallen off from last season, so it may be up to the Red Sox and the Yankees to decide the fate of this division. But watch out for the Orioles, Buck Showalter is jawing and he could have this team be a surprise before the year is out.

  1. Boston Red Sox
  2. New York Yankees
  3. Baltimore Orioles
  4. Tampa Bay Rays
  5. Toronto Blue Jays

AL Central:
This division is pretty much cut and dry, the Twins and the White Sox hold the key to the penthouse. It will be a dog fight to see who is the tennant at the end of the year and gets that coveted playoff spot.

  1. Minnesota Twins
  2. Chicago White Sox
  3. Cleveland Indians
  4. Detroit Tigers
  5. Kansas City Royals

AL West:
Last season the Rangers came almost out of nowhere to surpise the entire league and win the division, which led to the American League Pennant. This season, the West almost looks even top to bottom. The only team that probably won’t be able to keep pace is Seattle, but the other three teams will be clawing for the division title and could even steal a wild card spot from one of the other division teams.

  1. Texas Rangers
  2. Los Angeles Angels of Anahiem
  3. Oakland A’s
  4. Seattle Mariners

There you have it, the American league is very similar to last years final standings, but there will be a couple suprises this year and I wouldn’t be shocked to see a team come out of nowhere to steal a playoff spot. Now it is time to tackle the National League.

National League:

NL East:
This is the easiest NL division to decide, barring any major injuries, this division should belong to Philidelphia.

  1. Philidelphia Phillies
  2. Atlanta Braves
  3. Florida Marlins
  4. Washington Nationals
  5. New York Mets

NL Central:
Call me crazy, but I have a feeling that this division will be the tightest division in all of baseball and it wouldn’t surprise me to see a loveable loser win the division and make a long playoff run out of the Central.

  1. Chicago Cubs
  2. St. Louis Cardinals
  3. Milwaukee Brewers
  4. Cincinati Reds
  5. Houston Astros
  6. Pittsburgh Pirates

NL West:
Once agian, this division is the Giants and I think the other teams will give them a run, but without any real offseason changes, this should be another west title for the bay area boys.

  1. San Francisco Giants
  2. San Diego Padres
  3. Colorado Rockies
  4. Arizona Diamondbacks
  5. Los Angeles Dodgers

There you have the NL breakdown, some what surprising but some what expected also. This should a be a fun season across the board, and I am looking forward to watching the season shape up and progress. Well, at least until Football season kicks off. Just remember, I took this off of gut instinct and didn’t do any long analysis of this. So if I am completly wrong, then I didn’t lose any sleep over researching this.

[box]Kody’s Sports Korner is on Twitter: @kodysportskornr[/box]

Despite off season rumors, Rangers holding steady

When this past season came to a sudden and shocking end for the Texas Rangers, everyone started talking about potential off season moves that had to be made by the club to be able to return to the World Series next season. The first and most important move that everyone wanted made was to be able to sign ace Cliff Lee. While the courtship over Lee went on for weeks and there were constant stories over whether the Yankees or the Rangers were the final pick, everyone just figured that the Rangers would get him. Then one night, the news that broke shocked everyone when he agreed to go with the Phillies. Where did the Phillies come from? Nobody even knew they were a player until it was too late.

Well, this put the Ranger faithful in a frenzy, we just lost the one guy we had to sign no matter what. So, everyone started speculating about “Plan B” which was Zack Grienke. And without a hesitation, he was gone to the Milwaukee Brewers for a hefty trade. Now, this has some fans sitting around wringing their hands and paceing the floor. But lets think about this here, the Rangers are still bringing back the meat of thier team from last season, and they are probably favored to win the west right now. Yes I know, they lost their ace. But they didn’t have an ace until the last half of the season last year. Would the Rangers benefit by having a strong starting pitcher all season? Yes.

But this team is being run by some very brilliant minds and very deep pockets, which means that the Rangers are in a very good position to play through the early part of the season, and see if they can find some quality players who have been thrown into a clearance bin at the trade deadline. This may not be the path that the fans want to go down right now, but we are still a month and a half away from spring training and a long way away from the season. Things will happen, but they will only happen when they need too. As a fan I would rather see this team sit still and keep all their prospects right now, and start filling holes as needed. Because we don’t know who will surprise us this season like last year. Let’s all remove our hand from the panic button and just relax. There will be plenty of time to panic once the season is in full swing.