It's ironic that just yesterday, I commented that there hasn't been much written on this site lately because I didn't want to beat old subjects into the ground. While the subject of Michael Young seems, at least on the surface, to be over a year old as it relates to Rangers baseball, right now, he's very much a relevant part of current events. As Young is currently a free agent, my contention is that it's time to bring the franchise hits leader back to Arlington.
Before some of you throw your hands up in disgust, bear with me. Admitedly, Young has been sub-par over the past two seasons, with 2012 being the season that forced the Rangers front office to move Young to keep Ron Washington from having him remain an everyday player. Bringing Young back to Arlington would likely not entail infield duties. Nor the duties of a DH. Nor should we expect any outfield help from him. You see, I don't want to see Young technically come back in a Rangers uniform.
As of this writing, Young is attempting to decide whether he wants to return to the Los Angeles Dodgers for the season or to retire. Should he choose the latter (which I'm sure there are many of us that feel he should do), I believe that would be the time for the front office to make a move.
With the departure of Nolan Ryan from the franchise this offseason, many feel and believe that there is a void the size of Texas in Arlington. I don't happen to be one of those people (as I believe Jon Daniels now has the authority to do his job without someone staring over his shoulder), but there is a rather large group that feels that way. For those people, let me introduce you to (what should be) the newest member of the Texas Rangers front office: Michael Young.
While Nolan was president and CEO prior to his departure, Young's role would be less extensive. Something like "special assistant to the GM" would have the perfect ring to it. It would allow Young to move back to the area where he spent the majority of his playing career, spend more time with his children and family, and serve the organization as a public face of the franchise.
While the word "figurehead" almost seems inappropriate given the context in which it's been used in recent months to refer to Ryan's role, it's exactly the type of role that seems necessary to fill for those fans that like to have the comfort of knowing that someone who has had a hand in prior success is, even in a small way, in the trenches with the front office.
It's not likely Young would have much (if any) input into personnel decisions, but as the franchise hits leader and a player that once exceled as an opposite-field hitter, his input within the current confines of the organization could provide useful, however small the impact.
At the end of the day, the negative backlash from many fans and much more of the media than I expected proved that sometimes, having a face, a figurehead, is just as important to public perception as having a successful front office from a results standpoint, and if we're talking about replacing Nolan Ryan in that role, I can't really think of a better option right now than Michael Young, who was considered the leader of the only two Rangers teams to make it to the World Series.
The role of an ambassador could prove enticing to help Young transition from a career in playing to whatever it is he desires to do with his future after playing baseball. A win-win scenario on paper, as Young would be able to benefit, and the Rangers would be able to bring the Face back to be the Face once again.