SURPRISE, Ariz. -- The Rangers have made significant progress toward signing shortstop Michael Young to a five-year contract extension that would ensure that he stays with the team through the 2013 season.
The Rangers are hoping to complete the deal sometime this week. General manager Jon Daniels has had a number of conversations with agent Dan Lozano over the past two weeks in trying to get the deal done, and all indications are the two sides are drawing closer to an agreement.
Young is signed for $4 million this season and the Rangers hold a $5 million option for 2008, after which he can file for free agency. Club officials have declined to comment on the progress of the negotiations, and Young has said that his focus is on baseball, not any contract discussions.
"Talks have picked up, that's all I can say," Young said Sunday morning.
But owner Tom Hicks made it clear that when he arrived in Surprise on Saturday that signing Young was a priority and that the Rangers want him to be the "face of the franchise."
The basis for the negotiations is the seven-year, $85 million contract that Phillies second baseman Chase Utley agreed to in January. Utley, who has just over three years of Major League service, will be paid $15 million per season for buying out free agency in the final four years of the contract.
The Rangers would likely buy out five years of free agency with Young at around $15 million per season after 2008.
Young, the 2005 American League batting champion, is a three-time All-Star who hit .314 with 14 home runs, 93 runs scored and a career-high 103 RBIs in 2006.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.