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Rangers, Young to announce extension

Rangers, Young to announce extension

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Michael Young will be with the Rangers through 2013.

Young has agreed to a five-year, $80 million contract extension with the Rangers, and an official announcement has been scheduled for Friday.

"It's nice to get this behind me," Young said Thursday. "I'm glad it's over. I'm not going to say I haven't been thinking about it, but when I get to the field every day, there are a bunch of guys out there who are only concerned about 2007. So it's good to have it over."

Young is signed through this season and the Rangers have a $5 million option for 2008. They will pick that up and the new deal will begin in 2009 and run through the 2013 season.

A significant part of the contract will include deferred money, but it will still be the second-biggest contract in club history, topped only by the 10-year, $252 million contract given to Alex Rodriguez in 2000.

"This means a lot to me," Young said. "It takes communication on both sides to get a deal done. I appreciate the effort they've put in to do this and the responsibility it means."

The Rangers have yet to comment on the deal, preferring to wait until Friday's official announcement. General manager Jon Daniels only said, "I'm optimistic," about getting a deal done.

"That would mean a lot," manager Ron Washington said. "This guy is one of the quality players in the American League and all of baseball. This guy is getting 200 hits a year. That's quality."

Rangers owner Tom Hicks is expected to return to Arizona on Friday to be part of the announcement. Hicks met with Young earlier in camp and wants to make the three-time All-Star shortstop the face of the franchise.

"I'll do what has to be done to convince people that this is a great franchise to play for and this team is committed to winning a championship," Young said. "But at the same time, I'm still going to be the same guy I've always been."

Young was acquired from the Toronto Blue Jays on July 19, 2000, and was called up to the Majors for good on May 25, 2001, to replace Randy Velarde as the Rangers' starting second baseman.

In his six years with the club, the Rangers have had just one winning season and that was in 2004, when they went 89-73.

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They have had two more losing seasons since then and Young, frustrated by what was going on with the Rangers, wasn't inclined to do a long-term deal at the end of last season.

But having Washington being named as the new manager has made a huge difference for Young, and he has become excited about the Rangers' direction again.

"Every player is at least curious about becoming a free agent and finding out who wants you and how badly do they want you," Young said. "But it came down to me feeling that this team is ready to win. We've been through some rough times, but I think we're due to turn it around and I want to be a part of it.

"If I had gone on and signed with another team and the Rangers ended up winning the World Series, my wife would kick me out of the house because I'd be miserable."

Young is a three-time All-Star who won the American League batting title in 2005, hitting .331, and was the Most Valuable Player in the 2006 All-Star Game in Pittsburgh. He has 858 hits since the start of the 2003 season, second only to Mariners outfielder Ichiro Suzuki.

He turned 30 in October and will be 37 at the end of the contract. The risk the Rangers take is Young remaining a productive player right to the end.

"Absolutely, it's a leap of faith on their part," Young said. "They're showing that they believe in me and I appreciate that. The fact that I've been durable over the past four years may have alleviated any of their concerns, but I have no doubts in my mind that I'll be healthy and productive over the course of my career."

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

{"content":["spring_training" ] }
{"content":["spring_training" ] }