Let the “Michael Young for Rangers manager” stumping begin

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As soon as Ron Washington stepped down I thought “it’s only a matter of time until someone says Michael Young should be the next Rangers manager.” Out of respect for Wash, I assume, they gave it a week. Now Richard Justice begins the stumping:

Young knows that the game is not easy, and because he had an awareness of the people around him, he would know that every player isn’t going to care as much as he cared. He was a leader in a quiet way, a guy who led more by example, but would also say what needed to be said. He was universally respected by his managers and teammates alike . . .

. . . With Rangers’ home attendance down for a third straight year, with it off almost 700,000 from two years ago, the Rangers need to do more than simply hire a competent manager. They need someone to inspire confidence in fans. Young is the only potential replacement for Washington who could instantly win over the fan base.

While Young would no doubt be respected by players, it’s also the case that he and Jon Daniels clashed on multiple occasions when Young was with the Rangers, with the discord that led to Young’s position-change dramas often being defended by Young partisans as a function of Daniels undercutting Young and not being straight with him. I have no idea if that’s true. For what it’s worth, Justice says Young and Daniels patched things up “at a wedding last summer.”

But in this day and age a GM wants a manager who will be his guy, no questions asked. Not a guy who can appeal to his own constituency in the press or among fans in such a way that, if the GM and he clash, the GM is undermined. That dynamic ended up causing riffs with Nolan Ryan and Daniels. Justice compares Young to Ryan in several places in this column. You think Daniels wants any part of that again?

There is a lot of talk about “optics” and washing away all of the bad news the Rangers have had in the past couple of years. Winning baseball games washes that stuff way more thoroughly than a nice press conference and a few stories about how Michael Young has “come home.”

(thanks to Caheezy for the heads up)

Zack Wheeler will miss at least two starts when his wife gives birth

Zack Wheeler miss starts
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Per The Athletic’s Matt Gelb, Phillies starter Zack Wheeler will miss at least two starts when his wife goes into labor and gives birth to their first child, expected to be later this month. Wheeler, in fact, is not sure if he will return to play at all once their child is born.

Wheeler said, “We just have to see how things are here at the field and at the stadium. I’m happy with what I see so far. But things could change, especially once our baby’s born. I always think about what’s going on around me. Is it safe? Is it OK? Literally every single day. I have to just ask myself that. I’m going to continue to keep asking myself that every day.”

Wheeler, 30, inked a five-year, $118 million contract with the Phillies in December. He is slated for the No. 2 spot in the rotation behind Aaron Nola. Last season, with the Mets, Wheeler posted a 3.96 ERA with 195 strikeouts and 50 walks over 195 1/3 innings.

The No. 5 spot in the Phillies’ rotation is currently up for grabs between Nick Pivetta, Vince Velasquez, Ranger Suárez, and prospect Spencer Howard. One of the remaining three could fill in for Wheeler when he needs time off, temporarily or otherwise.