There’s a really good chance that disgruntled infielder Michael Young is going to have to report to Rangers camp next week. He has requested a trade and the Rangers’ front office has attempted to satisfy that request, but there’s simply nothing out there.
A source told Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram on Thursday evening that the Rangers now don’t expect to find a landing spot for Young before the start of spring training.
The 34-year-old is simply owed too much money and not productive enough historically away from the Rangers’ cozy ballpark to justify such a lofty salary. According to Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com, the Dodgers asked Texas to assume 75 percent of the remaining three years and $48 million on Young’s current contract when the two sides engaged in trade talks earlier this week. That’s $36 million that the Rangers would simply have to eat. Those talks have obviously been broken off.
Rangers general manager Jon Daniels isn’t dumb. In fact, he’s a very highly regarded baseball mind. He is not going to blindly satisfy Young’s desire to get out of Texas with a deal that would cause harm to the future of the club that he is in charge of running. Paying $36 million to thin air over the next three seasons would be borderline idiotic and would certainly limit the Rangers’ ability to improve their overall roster.
If Young wants to suck up his pride and report to Rangers camp with a smile on his face, maybe all of this can be smoothed over. Young has expressed great feelings of respect for club president Nolan Ryan and manager Ron Washington, and a face-to-face meeting with those two would surely go a long way toward the reconciliation of what is, right now, a complete mess.
Young might not be able to see the light at the end of the tunnel at the moment, but there will be plenty of at-bats available to him if he commits to being a flexible member of the 2011 roster. Whether at designated hitter or first base, Washington can find him regular playing time.
The Rangers tried to shop him and couldn’t find a viable suitor. Now the ball is in Young’s court.
After 71 years, the Cubs are headed back to the Fall Classic.
The dominance with which Clayton Kershaw attacked the Cubs in Game 2 of the NLCS was nonexistent in Game 6 as the Dodgers’ ace loaded the bases to start the first inning and scattered five extra bases and five runs over five frames. By the time Dave Roberts pulled his starter in the sixth inning, Kershaw was sitting on a Game Score of 33, the lowest he’s mustered since the start of the 2015 season. Only one of his strikes came via curveball, and whether he was having difficulty locating his off-speed stuff or felt more confident with the fastball-slider combo, it was the fewest curves he’d seen land for strikes all year (per David Adler).
Where the Dodgers were able to give Kershaw the edge in Game 2, they found themselves powerless against opposing hurler Kyle Hendricks. Hendricks turned out 7 1/3 scoreless frames with two hits and six strikeouts, preserving the Cubs’ second shutout of the postseason and the first since they bested the Giants in Game 1 of the NLDS. After his 1-0 loss to the Dodgers early in the NLCS, seeing the MLB ERA leader turn out a gem was a relief for the Cubs, especially one as spectacular as an 88-pitch two-hitter.
With Hendricks effectively stymieing the Dodgers’ best attempts to get on base, the Cubs played to their strengths at the plate. Kris Bryant and Ben Zobrist cleared the bases in the first inning for a two-run lead, followed by a Dexter Fowler RBI single in the second. Willson Contreras came through in the fourth inning for the Cubs, lifting an 87 m.p.h. slider to left field for his first home run of October, while Anthony Rizzo hit his second homer of the postseason on a 1-1 fastball in the fifth.
Neither bullpen allowed a single run from the sixth inning onward. Dodgers’ right-hander Kenley Jansen took the ball from Kershaw in the sixth, scattering four strikeouts over three innings and denying the Cubs so much as a single baserunner through the end of the game. Aroldis Chapman, meanwhile, issued just one walk in 1 1/3 scoreless frames, inducing a Yasiel Puig double play to clinch the Cubs’ 17th franchise pennant.
With the win, the Cubs will face off against the Indians in Game 1 of the World Series on Tuesday at 8 PM EDT. And, in case you needed a reminder:
So much for Clayton Kershaw posing a threat tonight. The Cubs got their knocks in early and often against the Dodgers’ ace during Game 6 of the NLCS, racking up three runs in the first three innings before rookie catcher Willson Contreras unleashed his first postseason home run in the bottom of the fourth inning.
According to MLB.com’s Phil Rogers, Contreras became the 10th Cub to homer in the 2016 playoffs, following big hits by Addison Russell, Anthony Rizzo, Dexter Fowler, Miguel Montero, David Ross, Jake Arrieta, Kris Bryant, Travis Wood, and Javier Baez. Of the ten home run hitters, Contreras joins catchers David Ross and Miguel Montero as yet another backstop capable of driving the long ball (and, less importantly, as another player capable of a sweet, sweet bat flip).
Rizzo, whose last homer was a deep drive to right field off of Los Angeles right-hander Pedro Baez in Game 4 of the NLCS, piled on Kershaw’s five-run outing with another home run in the bottom of the fifth inning. Kershaw called it a night after five frames, and the Cubs currently lead the Dodgers 5-0 in the sixth inning.