Sep 14, 2013; Arlington, TX, USA; Oakland Athletics center fielder Chris Young (25) reacts in the dugout before the baseball game against the Texas Rangers at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. Mandatory Credit: Jim Cowsert-USA TODAY Sports

On Signing Chris Young: Here's My Two Cents Worth

Had I published my reaction yesterday, I assure you, this would have read very differently.  But after 24 hours of deliberation, I’m finally at peace with Sandy Alderson’s decision to sign free agent outfielder Chris Young.

After struggling mightily for several years, and finally getting back into a position to spend on free agents, I initially found the Mets signing of Chris Young deflating, and worse, impotent.  My mind immediately flashed back to Shawn Green, then to Xavier Nady (whom I liked a lot), then to Ryan Church, and on through the long list of inconsequential players who have manned right field since.  And yes, you may even include the most recent corner outfield carpetbaggers, Marlon Byrd and Scott Hairston.  They have all been the same to me.  None ever provided the Mets with a viable long term solution, as no one player ever stood out from the other.

I ordinarily do not care much what players earn on one year deals.  It’s the lengthy, prohibitive deals that I find problematic.  I will admit however, Young’s $7.25 million dollar price tag struck me like a brick to the head, but I slept on it, and the lump has since subsided.

The free agent market is beginning to speak for itself, and may prove this to be a prudent deal yet.  Both Nelson Cruz and Curtis Granderson turned down qualifying offers twice the amount given to Young from their potentially former clubs in order to become free agents.

Marlon Byrd got 2-years at $16 million (plus a third year vesting option) from Philadelphia, and former Braves catcher Brian McCann most recently signed for an average of $16 million per year with the Yankees, which is also somewhat in the neighborhood of Jhonny Peralta‘s average asking price.

There is certainly success in Young’s past with Arizona, and he still retains an appreciable measure of potential for the immediate future.  Chris Young strikes me as a reasonable and worthy gamble.  Perhaps he will also find greater comfort being back in the National League.

Whether he participates in a platoon remains to be seen.  For now, I’ll assume he is destined for right field.  Should that be the case, the position has been considerably upgraded over last season, with a seasoned MLB player still in his physical prime.  However, in the grand scheme, he is only an incremental improvement, nothing more, with a potentially high upside.

Outside of being a career.235 hitter, if Chris Young can just provide the Mets with his other career averages, this signing could wind up being very price-worthy.  Keeping in mind minor injuries over the last two seasons, for his career, Chris Young averages 35 doubles, 24 home runs, 73 RBI, 81 runs scored, 20 stolen bases, 65 walks, with a .315 OBP.  In 2012, he missed time with a shoulder ailment, and last season he missed a few weeks due to a quad injury.  Young strikes out a ton, but also knows how to draw his share of walks.

The Mets can make this seem like an even better acquisition, cosmetically at least, but only if they bring in another player of considerably greater talent before Spring Training.

Otherwise, to coin a phrase, this is what it is.


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  • Ken Meoni

    I did read that this sets up something else…….or at least leaves money for something bigger to come. So, I am in wait and see mode. One thing you have to remember, Young played for the Diamondbacks and his HR totals are higher then they would have been playing somewhere else…….like Oakland. If he presses in Citi to hit the long ball, his KO’s may go up more.

    • MikeLecolant.BTB

      Agreed. Ask around, and players overwhelmingly say they love hitting in Arizona’s park. What a curious signing.

  • VitaminCM

    Sorry, but everything you wrote is just wrong.
    This is a bad signing. He costs 10 times what Byrd got last year. He costs 15 times what den Dekker costs. There’s no way he earns that.
    This is an awful signing. Period.

    • MikeLecolant.BTB

      I do not believe I overly hyped him, and I do feel the heat you’re generating. Please do not confuse me with someone who loves this deal. My initial reaction mirrored yours, I assure you. After a day though, I softened, because after all, it is only a one year deal. But no, I’m not exactly happy with this. I’m merely trying to stay positive. I’m on board with the notion Sandy Alderson out-bid himself. The truth regarding Young may lie somewhere in between our opinions, but me and you share common ground.

  • Bill

    Actually, I kind of like this signing. VitaminCM is correct in that he costs more than Byrd last year, but he is a lot younger, and has a lot more raw power. If he (and other hitters) could approach the vastness of Citi Field with the thought of “Wow, I could hit 50 doubles here” and try to be just that – a doubles hitter, he would hit 20 to 25 HRs by mistake. There is no free agent or trade rumor outfielder that has his kind of raw power.

  • Joe.02

    Well, yes, it is best to make peace with what you cannot change.

    The complaints aren’t really unfair — often they are mostly whining, but have a point here. 7.5M for an iffy fourth outfielder type. That is what probably gets people — the price tag and for a few that this is the first MLB player they got. And, as simple optics, leading with this is pretty dubious. If they get some good additional players, this won’t really matter much.

  • WilpondScum

    there are the newenheisses of the world that make league minimum salaries that can produce like young has in recent years. 7 million on a guy like that with so many holes yet to fill and so little budget to work with is a horrendous move by the mets.

  • MikeLecolant.BTB

    Thanks all for commenting. He’s already proving to be a polarizing player.