Young collected over 200 hits every year from 2003 to 2007 and led the league with 221 hits in 2005. Although he hasn't reached the 200-hit plateau since '07, Young would still provide a boost to a Rockies offense that ranked third in the NL in runs last season.
Texas bounced Young around three infield positions (second base, shortstop and third base) in his ten years there, but has played third exclusively the last two seasons. The Rockies signed third baseman Jose Lopez from Seattle earlier this off-season to battle with incumbent Ian Stewart.
Young's .284/.330/.444 line from 2010 is significantly better than Lopez's (.239/.270/.339) and Stewart's (.256/.338/.443). Lopez did post those numbers while playing in a historically anemic offense and in one of the worst hitter's parks in baseball, but took a step back after mashing 32 homeruns from 2009-2010.
Stewart, meanwhile, is just 25 years old and has only appeared in more than 140 games in a season only once. Young has played in more than 150 games in eight out of the last nine seasons.
Manager Jim Tracy might also chose to play Young at second base over Eric Young Jr. The switch-hitter swiped 17 bags while getting caught six times last year, but has a .245 career batting average in only 229 at-bats.
Young is owed $48 million over the next three seasons, but according to FanGraphs he's played for well below market value every year since 2002.
Young's biggest contribution, however, might not be measured in statistics. Rangers pitcher C.J. Wilson told Jon Paul Morosi of FoxSports,"If he was on a team like New York, people would think of him like Derek Jeter," Wilson said one afternoon at the team’s spring home in Arizona. "That’s how he is: He’s our Jeter."
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