Now that Michael Young is a special assistant to the general manager, don’t expect him to attempt to alter the course of the Texas Rangers and become an even bigger hero to the fans.
He doesn’t know what he’s eventually going to do with this opportunity, made official Wednesday during a news conference at Globe Life Park, but he isn’t interested in devoting that kind of time to his new role.
“Hopefully they know that in no way do I think I am riding in on the white horse solving huge problems,” Young said. “My only goal is to hopefully add a different voice and just to add to the group that’s already in place.”
And he’s just fine working with multi-time nemesis Jon Daniels, the same GM who moved Young around the diamond and traded him away for the final year of his All-Star career.
But the past is in the past, Young said. He’s ready to get off the couch after a year away from the game and give back to the franchise with which he spent the majority of his career and to the minor leaguers who will keep the franchise afloat in the future.
“My role won’t be nearly as strenuous as theirs in terms of time commitment, but it is something that I’m excited about,” Young said. “I’m excited about being part of the team and to be part of making important and big decisions in the organization. It means a lot to me. I’ll take it very seriously. I’ll be prepared when I go in there, and I’ll know exactly what I’m being asked to do.”
The evolution of Young’s relationship with Daniels was a focal point of the 16-minute news conference.
At one point during his playing days, Young accused Daniels of being a liar, and on at least one occasion asked to be traded.
The franchise’s all-time leader in hits and games played, among many other categories, was dealt in December 2012. His going-away news conference made no mention of Daniels.
“Those things got squashed a long time ago,” Young said. “When you step away from the game, at least from my personal experience, I like to think that anything that happens you can kind of learn from.
“It seems to me in the sports world if something gets out in the public, people try to make that kind of a defining moment for a person. I never really subscribed to that theory. I don’t think it is. I think it’s a learning opportunity. Learn from it and move on and hopefully improve yourself down the road. That’s the way I chose to do it.”
Daniels said that he became close with Young while they were still early in their careers with the Rangers. They are of similar age and were growing into bigger roles in the organization, albeit in vastly different areas, and a bond formed.
That complicated matters in 2009, when Young was asked to move from shortstop to third base to accommodate Elvis Andrus; in 2011, when Young was asked to move to first base to accommodate Adrian Beltre; and in 2012, when Young got most of his at-bats at designated hitter and struggled as prospects Jurickson Profar and Mike Olt rode the bench down the stretch.
“Michael’s already volunteered to handle all tough conversations with players moving positions,” Daniels said jokingly.
“Obviously, it was a tough period for a couple years. Well-documented.”
Young will offer insight into all areas of baseball operations, and has already been involved in the managerial search. But he is looking most forward to helping on the minor league side, and hopeful that he can pass along a tip to a player and see it executed on the field.
“I can really see no bigger thrill for me in this particular role,” he said.
And if the job evolves into something more significant — and time-consuming — down the road, so be it for the father of three young boys. For now, though, Young is happy with the role he has been given.
“As far as what goes down the road, I have no idea,” said Young, a seven-time All-Star and a five-time Rangers Player of the Year. “I know that I’m very, very comfortable with this right now, and that’s good enough for me.”