On Michael Young's 34th birthday, he singled in a third-inning run in Yankee Stadium to give the Rangers a 2-1 lead in a game they eventually won, 10-3, to give Texas a 3-1 advantage in the ALCS.
When Texas hosts New York this May, Young will reach another milestone. If my math is right,* he'll attain 10/5 rights on Sunday, May 8, when the Rangers and Yankees wrap up a three-game set with an afternoon game in Rangers Ballpark.
[* I've seen at least one article suggesting the vest date is instead May 25. Not sure what the correct date is, but I'll try to find out.]
The day Young's 10/5 rights (10 years of big league service, the last five years of which have been with the same team) lock in, he'll have a full no-trade hammer the rest of his career.
Now, if Young is not traded before then, and he still wants to play somewhere else, there's certainly an argument that ultimately he wouldn't use his no-trade rights to impede a deal. But it could also, theoretically, handcuff Texas from the standpoint that Young could slash the club's leverage with potential trade partners by dictating which teams it can do business with - the flip side of which is that his demand for a trade could then go unfulfilled.
It's more likely that Young is traded before whatever the key date in May is than afterwards. But there's not a great probability that he gets dealt in March, April, or May, either.
In the past few days, as national columns and local beats around the league were expected to turn over as many stones as possible (and maybe scatter a few that needed turning over) with the reporting of pitchers and catchers, we got this story any number of times:
"[Team] is interested in Michael Young but, because they would need Texas to kick in [some multiple of A Whole Lot] dollars, talks have [stagnated] [broken off] [never really materialized in the first place]."
The list of teams about whom that basic story has not been written this month is probably shorter than the list of those who have been linked loosely to Young.
It's been widely reported that the Rangers are talking to clubs (at least the eight to which Young can't block a deal per his contractually set partial no-trade clause, if not more clubs than that) in an effort to accommodate his request to be moved - as long as the deal makes Texas better. It would stand to reason (and I think it's been reported) that the Rangers will de-prioritize that effort once the full squad report date arrives this Saturday, after which the business of getting the team ready for Opening Day, with Young as the DH and super utility infielder, will take precedence.
At the moment, agent Dan Lozano is in the news because of yesterday's apparent breakdown in contract extension talks between his client Albert Pujols and the Cardinals, and because Nick Swisher (who will be a free agent next winter if the Yankees don't exercise a $10.25 million option for 2012) just fired his representative Joe Bick in order to join Lozano's stable.
But Lozano could be busy with Young these next couple days, too, as you'd think that if he's going to be traded before the next off-season - an exceedingly big "if" - it will happen before this weekend, when Young is expected in camp with the rest of his teammates, focused as the front office is on putting this friction behind them and moving forward with preparations to defend an American League title.