The writing that even outsiders had seen on the wall all off-season was presented to Michael Young shortly after the 2012 season ended.
If he wanted to continue to play every day, as he has since 2002, he would likely have to leave the Texas Rangers to do so.
He agreed to that Saturday, accepting a trade to Philadelphia, and Major League Baseball gave its approval Sunday to make the deal official.
It wasn't easy for either side.
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But a major logjam has been cleared from the Rangers' infield, and the trade could allow for top prospect Jurickson Profar to become an everyday player.
That possibility is on the table, though neither general manager Jon Daniels or manager Ron Washington spoke about it Sunday. Instead, they spoke graciously and honestly about the team captain who had just been traded.
"Given the makeup on our roster and some of our internal options, we felt like this was the way to go," Daniels said. "This was a challenging one, given what Michael's meant here. I think the opportunity he's got in Philadelphia is probably better from his standpoint from the one he had here."
Young plans to address the media this evening at a news conference in Dallas. But his trade freed up $6 million for the Rangers, who are paying $10 million of the $16 million Young is owed this season.
That money could go to the pursuit of free agent Josh Hamilton or help pay the $9.75 million right fielder Justin Upton is owed this season, should the Rangers and Arizona come to an agreement.
Both remain possibilities, despite a quiet weekend on fronts not involving Young or missing out on Zack Greinke.
Daniels said that he has remained in contract with Hamilton's agent, Mike Moye, and said that they will speak again soon. Other pursuits were slowed by a winter meetings hangover and the fact that some baseball people actually like to take weekends off.
"I've maintained contact with Josh and his camp, but I don't have any real updates," Daniels said.
The Rangers are still seeking a catcher, and will continue to look for a rotation upgrade and relief help.
The Young trade, though, brought two relievers, and right-hander Josh Lindblom seems headed for the Opening Day roster.
With Greinke in agreement with the Dodgers, the rest of the free-agent market could start to move fairly quickly.
"It usually does after the winter meetings and after some of the bigger guys start to find homes," Daniels said. "We hope so."
They are also in the market for a utility infielder, even though their roster could have a converted second baseman at first base, a first baseman at designated hitter, a second baseman who was a shortstop, and a third baseman who is learning first base and right field.
The Opening Day infield combination won't be settled until spring training, but Profar will be given every opportunity to become the starting second baseman.
Ian Kinsler might want to ask Santa Claus for a first baseman's mitt, though Daniels said that the All-Star second baseman has not been approached about a position switch.
Sunday morning's conference call with club officials, though, was as much about Young, the franchise's leader in hits and games played, as the moves that are possible without him.
The Phillies believe Young can still make significant contributions to a contending club, and the Rangers would have his leadership and commitment to the community will be missed.
"This is a very, very, very tough situation," Washington said. "The leadership that he brought to the clubhouse, the leadership he brought on the field and the leadership he has in the community is something that we sorely will miss.
"We saw it was going a different direction, and we tried to do whatever we could to make it a good situation for Michael. If there was crying in baseball, I guess I would cry. But I'm certainly sad. He meant so much to us."
Jeff Wilson, 817-390-7760