Great moments in moving on: Michael Young

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The people who talk up how classy and how much of a team player Michael Young was either totally ignore or attempt to explain away the stuff about how Young bristled greatly at being asked to move positions on multiple occasions, complete with trade demands and all sorts of things that would get less-loved players labeled attitude problems.

“We can’t know what went on and what was said!” we’re told. Strong hints are made that the Rangers front office was really to blame. It wasn’t Michael Young’s fault, that’s for damn sure. And even if he acted poorly to some extent, we’re told that he’s got latitude because of all the good things he does that we don’t see.

I have no idea. Maybe that’s true. All I know is that Young did what guys who are usually credited with being stand-up team-first guys don’t do and made a dispute with his team media fodder. He did a couple of things, however justified privately, that get almost any other player lambasted. And yet it’s considered rude to even bring that up in his case.

Whatever happened, though, Young having to move off second base is now ancient history, right? Nothing of consequence when assessing his legacy. Water under the bridge:

Nope, he’s still hung up on it. Post-retirement and many years after the fact, Young is still stung that he was moved off second base in an effort to make the team get better.

And really, if you think about it, there are only two ways to read that quote: Either “My personal greatness as a player would have been elevated had I stayed at second base;” or “My team screwed up in taking me off second base and the Rangers would have been better had they not done that.” So he’s both fixated on it and fixated on it for personal reasons.

And I suppose it’s rude to bring this up as well.

Yankees trade Sonny Gray to the Reds

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The deal was much talked about all weekend and now the deal is done: The Cincinnati Reds gave acquired starter Sonny Gray and lefty Reiver Sanmartin from the Yankees in exchange for second base prospect Shed Long and a 2019 competitive balance pick.

The key to making the deal happen: Gray agreeing to a a three-year, $30.5 million contract extension. The Reds will likewise hold a $12 million club option for 2023. The deal had been struck and a window granted through close of business today to get Gray to agree to the extension and, obviously, he has.

The Reds will get a pitcher coming off of a bad season in which he posted a disappointing 4.90 ERA in 23 starts and seven relief appearances. He was hammered particularly hard in Yankee Stadium but pitched better on the road. Great American Ballpark is not a great pitcher’s park itself but any change of scenery would be nice for Gray, who had become much unwanted and unloved in New York. In Cincinnati he has the assurance of a spot in the rotation and, even better for him, he will be reunited with his college pitching coach, Derek Johnson, who joined new manager David Bell’s Reds staff earlier this offseason. If he bounces back even a little bit, the Reds will have a useful starter at a below market price for four years. If he doesn’t, well, they haven’t exactly gone bankrupt taking the chance.

The Reds will also get Reiver Sanmartin, 22, who started in the Rangers system before being traded to the Yankees. He’s a soft-tosser who figures to be a reliever if he makes the big leagues. He played at four different levels last season, with one game at Double-A and the rest below that, posting a composite 2.80 ERA in 10 starts and 13 overall appearances while striking out 7.8 batters per nine.

The Yankees will get Shed Long, who is ranked as the Reds’ seventh best prospect. The 23-year old second baseman hit .261/.353/.412 at Double-A in 2018 and has hit very close to that overall line for his entire six-year minor league career. He strikes out a bit and may not stick at second base long term, shifting to a corner outfield slot perhaps, but he’s a legitimate prospect.

The Reds get another starter with some upside. The Yankees get rid of a problem and gain a prospect and a draft pick. Sonny Gray gets some job and financial security at a time when it is not at all clear what his future holds. Not a bad baseball trade.

UPDATE: Welp, the Yankees don’t have a prospect anymore. They just traded long to the Mariners for outfielder Josh Stowers. Stowers was a second-round pick in last year’s draft. He’s 21 and batted .260/.380/.410 with five homers and 20 steals over 58 games in Short-Season ball in 2018. He’s ranked by MLB.com as the Mariners’ No. 10 prospect, but now he’s New York bound.