Last winter, the Rangers tried hard to trade Michael Young.
Wednesday, Texas manager Ron Washington called him the team's Most Valuable Player.
You never know in this game, and Young, already highly respected by teammates and opponents alike, has zoomed to the top of the list with the way he's handled what during the winter and even spring was a very awkward situation.
"As far as I'm concerned, he is the MVP," Washington said before Wednesday night's game in Anaheim. "It could be on this team. It could be in the league.
"He's certainly the MVP for us."
A designated hitter most of the season after the Rangers signed free agent Adrian Beltre -- the move the precipitated the Rangers' very public exploration of a Young trade -- Young is back at third, however temporarily, while Beltre's left hamstring heals on the disabled list.
Entering Wednesday's game, Young was second in the AL in batting (.340), tied for fourth in RBI (85), second in hits (165)seventh in total bases (242) and tied for fourth in doubles (35).
He was second in the league in hitting against left-handers (.365) and tied for fourth in batting against right-handers (.331).
Teammate Josh Hamilton (.304, 15 homers, 67 RBI) won the AL MVP award last season.
"If we get lucky enough to hold on [to first place in the AL West], I'm more than certain he'll be considered for [league] MVP," Washington said, correctly, of Young. "He'll have to be a strong candidate, because he's going to drive in 100 runs."
"I appreciate support from my manager," Young said when the comments were relayed to him. "I love playing for Wash. We have a ton of respect for each other. It's been a great relationship.
"I definitely appreciate hearing that from my manager."
Young stopped short of saying his production and Washington's support are vindication for what happened over the winter.
"Not really," Young said. "Either you're motivated or you're not. If you need external factors to motivate yourself, you're probably not well off in the first place.
"I have a lot of goals, but they all start and end with the team."
Could he have envisioned this entire scene -- his numbers, the Rangers threatening to run away with the AL West and him wearing a Texas jersey the entire time -- this spring?
"Once I got to spring training, yeah, this is the way I envisioned it," Young said. "I'm a ballplayer. I don't want anything during the winter. I want quiet winters.
"But once I got to spring training, it's all about baseball."
It sure was, and it sure is. Retaining Young made the Rangers deeper, and as they wait for Beltre's hammy to heal, they haven't missed a beat. And while Young has DH'd more than he would like, his affinity for Washington and for this particular group of teammates have softened that blow.
"I've always appreciated him," Washington said. "I've appreciated him a lot more this year because we've had to rely on him a lot more. The past couple of years, he had some help. That help has dissipated, with Vlad Guerrero gone and now with Beltre down. Michael has stepped up.
"Everything he's given us this year, we've needed."