The Texas Rangers have always hoped that when they acquired Cliff Lee last year, that it wouldn’t just be for the remainder of the season.  They were hoping that they would be able to sign him this offseason despite him becoming a free agent. 

Whether they can or not depends heavily on what other teams are willing to offer.  Sources say that both the Yankees and the Rangers don’t want to offer more than six years, but that there is a mystery team (or teams) willing to go to seven.  

It would also be in the $20 million-per-year salary range, which on most teams would take up a great deal of their budget.  The Yankees can always seem to afford it, but the Rangers might have to move salary to make room to sign Lee.  

Which brings us to Michael Young.  Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports tweeted that the Rangers were taking offers, and owner Nolan Ryan later said that they were not shopping Young, but would listen.

The Toronto Blue Jays originally drafted Young in the fifth round of the 1997 draft, but he never actually played a game with them, as he was traded to Texas while still in the minors.

At 34, the six-time all-star and 2008 Gold Glove winner is somewhat injury prone and coming down from his peak, but he is still a superb, contact hitting third baseman.  

One of the things that the Jays were lacking last year were players who could consistently put the ball into play, as they struggled to score runs by any other means than the long ball.  

Young is one of those hitters who has always hit for average and sprays singles and doubles all over the field.  He would also be a veteran presence who has had recent playoff experience.

After letting Edwin Encarnacion to a waiver claim, the Jays are looking for options at the hot corner.  Jose Bautista both played at third and in right field in 2010, but is more valuable in the outfield because of his strong throwing arm.

Young is still under contract for three more years at $16 million per season, which makes him an expensive option.  The Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos seems to favor young and inexpensive options, who can turn into All-Stars, but that doesn’t necessarily rule Young out.  

The benefits he could bring to the club could outweigh the risks, if Anthopoulos believes the team is close enough to contending.

This is, of course, still all speculation since the Rangers have not said they are actively shopping Young, and there have been no reports that the Blue Jays are interested in acquiring their former draft pick.

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