Rangers president Nolan Ryan appeared to put the seemingly never-ending Michael Young trade speculation to rest last week by saying Young “is going to be our designated hitter on Opening Day,” but now Buster Olney of ESPN.com reports that Texas has “recently continued to explore a possible trade.”
And, like the previous 1,000 stories about Young being on or off the trade market, Olney pegs the Rockies as the most likely landing spot. I’m not sure what, if anything, has changed since last week or last month (or last year, since this all started at the winter meetings in December), but the likelihood of Young actually being traded continues to depend on how much of his remaining contract the Rangers are willing to eat.
Young is owed $16 million in each of the next three seasons, so unless the Rangers take back a similarly unwanted contract as part of the swap they’d presumably have to cover at least $20 million or so of that $48 million. Right now Young is slated to be the Rangers’ primary designated hitter, with plans to use him as a super utility man when needed.
Veteran right-hander Bartolo Colon was released from his minor league deal with the Rangers on Saturday, MLB.com’s TR Sullivan reports. Despite his strong showing in spring training, Colon wasn’t considered a lock to make the Opening Day rotation. This may not be the end of his time with the team, however — according to multiple reports, the Rangers have expressed their desire to restructure a minor league deal with the right-hander and could work out an arrangement to keep him on as bullpen and Triple-A depth this season.
Colon, 44, is preparing for his 21st year in the majors. He split his 2017 campaign with the Braves and Twins, posting a cumulative 7-14 record in 28 starts and finishing the season with a 6.48 ERA, 2.2 BB/9 and 5.6 SO/9 in 143 innings. While those numbers were some of the worst he’d seen since 2009, the veteran righty made a compelling case in camp this spring, holding batters to six earned runs, four home runs, two walks and 10 strikeouts in 18 innings.
The Rangers are expected to open the season with a rotation comprised of Cole Hamels, Doug Fister, Matt Moore, Mike Minor and Martin Perez. Perez is working his way back from an elbow injury in his non-throwing arm and is slated to miss his first start of the season, which would provide a brief window of opportunity for Colon when the Rangers hit the road in April.