Multiple sources said Thursday that the Los Angeles Dodgers had engaged in serious trade discussions with the Texas Rangers about Michael Young. But no deal was close, and one source said flatly of the Young-to-Dodgers scenario: “It ain’t happening.”
Another source concurred that the Rangers were not close to moving Young to any club, raising the possibility that the disgruntled infielder may still be a Ranger when the team conduct its first full spring training workout on Feb. 20.
Young, 34, wants to be traded, and the Dodgers are one of eight teams that can acquire him without his permission. The Dodgers’ lack of financial flexibility, however, is an issue; Young is guaranteed $16 million in each of the next three seasons.
The Rangers would need to pay the majority of Young’s salary for a deal to occur, and one source said the Dodgers asked the Rangers to assume as much as 75 percent of his contract — or $36 million of $48 million.
The Dodgers have made similar deals in the past, parting with premium young players in exchange for significant cash. The team also could clear payroll by trading third baseman Casey Blake or including him in its package for Young.
The Rangers, after losing left-hander Cliff Lee to free agency, also could target one of the Dodgers' starters, perhaps right-hander Chad Billingsley — or, more realistically, reliever Jonathan Broxton.
Blake, 37, is due a total of $6.5 million — $5.25 million this season plus a $1.25 million buyout. The Blue Jays are among the clubs looking for a third baseman, but some in baseball view Blake as more of a part-time player at this stage of his career. Blake’s .663 OPS against right-handed pitching last season was the fifth-worst in the National League.
If the Dodgers acquired Young, they could play him at second base and use Juan Uribe at third, his stronger defensive position. Young almost certainly would welcome the move — he was born in Covina, Calif., and attended UC Santa Barbara.
The Rockies remain interested in Young, but their talks with the Rangers are at a standstill, sources say. Angels general manager Tony Reagins all but ruled out Young Thursday in an interview with the Los Angeles Times.
— Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi