Seven time All-Star and former face of the Texas Rangers Michael Young has decided to retire in order to spend more time with his family, reports Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal. The 37-year-old has spent the past 14 years in the majors with the Texas Rangers, Philadelphia Phillies, and Los Angeles Dodgers.
Drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays in the 5th round of the 1997 draft, Young was sent to Texas in the summer of 2000 for Esteban Loaiza. Young made his major league debut that year, playing in two games, but wouldn't earn a full-time gig until the following year when he was named the team's starting second baseman. Following a disappointing rookie campaign (80 OPS+, 0.5 WAR), Young improved somewhat in 2002. Despite a slight offensive decline (78 OPS+), his defense took a big step forward, as he posted a 1.3 dWAR according to Baseball-Reference.
2003 would be a pivotal season in Young's career as he broke out by hitting .306/.339/.446 with 106 runs scored and a 2.8 WAR. Replacing the departed Alex Rodriguez at shortstop in 2004, he would be even better, as he hit .313/.353/.483 with 22 home runs, 216 hits, 114 runs scored, 99 RBIs, a 109 OPS+, and 2.9 WAR as he made his first All-Star team.
In 2005, Young finally stepped into the national spotlight, as he posted a monster offensive campaign, leading the AL with a .331 batting average and 221 hits, while also posting a .385 OBP, .513 SLG, 136 wRC+, and 131 OPS+ with 24 home runs, 40 doubles, 114 runs scored, and a career-best 4.4 WAR. Despite his offensive prowess, Young's defense greatly hampered him for the 2nd year in a row. After costing the Rangers roughly 27 runs on defense in 2004, he was even worse in 2005 with an atrocious -32 defensive runs saved (DRS). Both totals rank in the top 10 among the worst defensive seasons since 2003 according to DRS, with his 2005 total representing the 2nd worst mark ever.
Young would continue to post above-average offensive production from 2006 to 2008, totaling a 103 OPS+ and 9.9 WAR. In 2007, Texas signed him to an $80 million contract extension keeping him with the club until 2013. He would also win his first and only Gold Glove award in 2008 despite a -4.4 WAR.
With the presence of Elvis Andrus looming in Texas, Young shifted over to third base for both the 2009 and 2010 seasons. He would prove to be just as defensively troubled as he was at short, accruing a -25 DRS in those two years. However, he was still productive with the bat, totaling a 7.5 oWAR and 114 OPS+ in that span. His 128 OPS+ in 2009 was the second best mark of his career.
After having played an astounding 1,508 games through 2010, Young's patience with the Rangers finally paid off with the organization's first Fall Classic appearance. The Rangers would lose to the Giants in 5 games, with Young hitting a paltry .250/.286/.250 in 21 plate appearances.
After Texas' acquisition of Adrian Beltre before the 2011 season, tension between Young and the Rangers increased, but the sides ultimately stuck it out, and the displaced Young moved over to the designated hitter position where he responded with a .338/.380/.474 (125 OPS+, 213 hits, 41 doubles, 3.5 WAR) season. Both his OBP and slugging percentage that year were career bests.
Young's production took a nosedive in 2012, his last year with the Rangers. Spending time at second base, shortstop, first base, third base, and designated hitter, he would tally a -12 DRS on defense, with a wRC+ of just 79 on offense. His -2.0 WAR was the 2nd worst total in all of baseball.
Adhering to his wishes, the Rangers traded Young to the Phillies before last year. He would rebound slightly with a 102 OPS+ in 126 games before being dealt to the Dodgers in late-August, where he finished the season by hitting .314/.321/.392 in a 21 game showing. He would appear in 9 postseason games for Los Angeles this past fall, collecting 1 hit in 10 at-bats.
Young finishes his career with 2,375 hits, 1,137 runs scored, 1,030 RBIs, 441 doubles, 185 home runs, 90 steals, 26.9 WAR, and a .300 batting average (well, .299949, but who's counting). In his 14 year career, he made seven All-Star teams (winning the game's MVP award in 2006) while collecting both a batting title and Gold Glove award. He played in two Fall Classics, as well as the 2006 World Baseball Classic.
According to Rosenthal, Young had multiple offers on the table, but preferred retirement to playing another year away from his family. He joins a plethora of former stars to call it quits in the recent months, including Chris Carpenter, Roy Halladay, Lance Berkman, Andy Pettitte, Todd Helton, and Mariano Rivera.