Longtime Texas Rangers star Michael Young is on the free agent market and his people have reached out to the Red Sox and the Orioles in his search for a new contract, according to Peter Gammons of MLB Network.
Young spent the first 13 years of this career with the Rangers, hitting .301/.347/.444 over that time while progressing from the role of starting shortstop to second, third and finally first base. He was traded to the Phillies during the 2013 off-season and then traded again to the Dodgers at the waiver-trade deadline. He hit .279/.335/.395 for Philadelphia and L.A. in 2013 and while he primarily played first and third, the Dodgers did give him a few innings at second and short during the final month of the season.
The 37-year-old Young may still be capable of playing an everyday role, but both Boston and Baltimore would likely view him more as depth at this point, so his interest in those teams might reflect a desire to play for a contender even if that means a diminished role.
The Red Sox will have an opening at first base if they are unableto re-sign free agent Mike Napoli and Young was on radar at the trade deadline in 2013, but all indications so far point to the Red Sox favoring Napoli's return. They could still look to him to provide depth at first and at third however. The could certainly use a backup plan for Will Middlebrooks and top prospect Xander Bogaerts at third. Middlebrooks struggled badly in 2013 after a promising breakout in 2012 was cut short by injury and Bogearts may start at short if Stephen Drew signs elsewhere, so Young would be a value plan-B option for the Red Sox even if they do bring Napoli back.
Baltimore is in a similar situation. They have a dynamic young player at third in Manny Machado but he is coming off of a nasty ankle injury and the team will probably be cautious with him early on. They have interest in adding a first baseman so that slugger Chris Davis can move to DH andYoung would appear to be a decent fit there. Since he is a right-handed hitter, he could at least spell Davis in the field when southpaws take the hill against the Orioles, opening up their options at DH to a wider range of players. Unfortunately, Young's glove is no upgrade at first according to advanced metrics.
Young remains a reasonable fallback option for a number of clubs and if this report does indicate a willingness to take a lesser role with a contender, he should have not trouble finding work in 2014. However, until more appealing options like Mike Napoli and Justin Morneau come of the table, the market is not likely to move fast on him.