I can’t possibly see the conflict being between Young and team president and co-owner Nolan Ryan, due to the fact that Ryan is an old-school baseball guy. And old-school baseball people want players who show up ready to play the game the right way every day. Young does those things at a very high level.
The signing of free-agent third baseman Adrian Beltre is a direct slap to the face of Young, who was the everyday third baseman on a team that reached the World Series last year. And it is not the first time the Rangers have asked Young to switch positions. Young began his career with the Rangers as a second baseman and moved to shortstop when the Rangers traded Alex Rodriquez to the Yankees for second baseman Alfonso Soriano.
Then the Rangers had a hotshot rookie shortstop, Elvis Andrus, they wanted to bring up, so they asked Young to move to third base, which he did for the good of the team. After two years at third base, the Rangers go out and sign Beltre, who is widely considered one of the best third basemen in the game.
This is a great example of how the Face of the Franchise/Ultimate Team Player arguments always break down. Williams concedes that Beltre is “considered” one of the best third baseman in the game, but thinks that signing him was a “slap in the face” from the Rangers to Young because Young has been asked to change positions for the good of the team in the past. Um, so what? Shouldn’t the Ultimate Team Player type be just fine with doing whatever is best for the team, kind of by definition? And what Williams doesn’t point out is that, even though each of these moves made the Rangers better, Young complained about each one of them. There’s an inherent contradiction here, one that almost always surfaces here sooner or later. Michael Young is a team player first and foremost who would do anything for the good of the team, so you shouldn’t ask him to do something he’d rather not do even if it makes the team better.
My problem with the reverence Face of the Franchise players garner from the fans and the media is that, almost inevitably, people start arguing that those players have to be placated at the expense of the team. They don’t argue that explicitly of course, but that’s what they’re saying when you actually consider them for a second.Allowing Jeter to bat leadoff no matter if he’s not hitting well or giving him a much larger contract than you have to doesn’t help the Yankees any, so I’d much prefer they not do it, no matter how much I like and appreciate Jeter (or any other player you want to hypothetically put in that situation).
Frankly, any other outlook just seems like an odd way to root for a team to me.