Mets Sign Chris Young


I know, I’m about two days late on this. But hey, I’ve been busy … there’s this “full-time job” thing that gets in the way of my blogging. And if it weren’t for the damn bills that keep coming in every month …

Anyway, that’s my problem, not yours. And speaking of problems, Chris Young is now the Mets’ problem.

Oh jeez, sorry to burst your bubble. I’m sure there’s a chance that Young comes back from his latest shoulder injury and pitches well — I’m just not counting on it. Certainly, he’s more worth a $1.5M gamble than Kelvim Escobar was, but that’s not saying much, is it?

I would really, really like to see Chris Young come all the way back and be the pitcher he was in 2007. I’ve always liked Chris Young, perhaps because he pitched at Princeton so he “feels” like a local kid … and so him becoming a Met is sort of a “coming home” — even if he is a native of Dallas, Texas. So I am rooting for him — but holding zero expectations due to his chronic injury history. Expect nothing, and you won’t be disappointed … but you could be wildly surprised. And for someone who has made only 36 starts in 3 years, suffering through myriad shoulder and back issues, I think it’s fair and prudent to have low expectations.

What I like about this signing is that it’s already supported with a backup plan. The previous front office would have signed Young as the main addition to the pitching staff, penciled him in to the #3 or #4 slot, and rubbed rosary beads together while saying a hail mary in the hopes that he’d make 30 starts. In contrast, the Fantasy Front Office has a backup plan of Chris Capuano, Boof Bonser, Dillon Gee, and D.J. Carrasco in the event Young falters. If Omar Minaya were still in charge, the backup plan would have been El Duque, Tony Armas, Jr., or Bartolo Colon — and you know I’m not joking when I say that.

By the way, I noticed there is a slo-mo video of Young’s mechanics posted on youTube — spotted via MetsBlog via MetsFever. When I get some time later this week / this coming weekend I’ll break it down and explain all the elements of his style that you should not be teaching youngsters.

In the meantime, post your comments on Chris Young. What are your expectations, if any? Why are you counting on him or not counting on him to be a reliable member of the starting rotation? What do you think is his ceiling — and basement — for 2011? Do you think it was a smart signing, and why or why not? (For the record, I think it was a very good signing; $1.5M guaranteed is a drop in the bucket these days and there is a possibility he can be a solid #4 through 15-25 starts, which to me is well worth the cost.)

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Joe Janish began MetsToday in 2005 to provide the unique perspective of a high-level player and coach -- he earned NCAA D-1 All-American honors as a catcher and coached several players who went on to play pro ball. As a result his posts often include mechanical evaluations, scout-like analysis, and opinions that go beyond the numbers. Follow Joe's baseball tips on Twitter at @onbaseball and at the On Baseball Google Plus page.
  1. Walnutz15 January 19, 2011 at 8:22 am
    What I like the most about this? — that it’s the move that will finally push Luis Castillo off the active roster….lol

    In all seriousness, the Mets front office has very likely had the most contact with Young, for an extended period of time now. If the medical records were so miserable, then you figure Alderson would’ve stayed far away to pursue another (healthier) option.

    I put some stock into this angle, simply because he couldn’t possibly be targeting damaged goods after keeping a prolonged open dialogue with Young….at least I’d like to give him the benefit of a doubt on that.

    They do have a bit of “depth” now, depending on the health of these “low risk” arms…..at least from a Spring Training Competition standpoint.

    Capuano
    Young
    Bonser
    Johan on the road to recovery (maybe even a return – post-ASB?)

    Niese
    Gee
    Jenrry Mejia continuing to develop at Triple-A

    How long they all stick around throughout the course of 162 is anyone’s guess. I do like things from a “depth perspective” — all depends on how things play out in terms of “on-field results”.

    Expectation Level?

    Considering that I played against Young when he was at Princeton – I know he’ll be 32 at some point this year (as will I — *shudders*).

    – The age,

    – The decline in velocity (84.7 mph for the short sample he showed in 2010:

    http://www.fangraphs.com/statss.aspx?playerid=3196&position=P#pitchtype),

    Clumped-in with:

    – The “recovering from surgery” angle [no matter how well he’s actually recovered by now]-

    …..and I start to temper my “expectation”-level from him quite a bit.

    At his peak, Young reached double-digits in wins just twice….though this category is team-dependant – he’s only topped out at 12.

    He’s never thrown 200 innings. [179.1 in 2006 was his career-high.]

    So really, unless he’s 100% healthy and firing pellets….I’m looking at this as a taller, cheaper (? – we’ll see, by the time the financials come out) version of John Maine.

    I’m HOPING that he’s feeling well enough to take the ball a bunch of times….and is helped out a lot by having Citi Field as his home ballpark.

    It’s definitely not a horrible attempt to catch lightning in a bottle, but on the surface – it’s not really all that much more than that.

    Yes, it’s about time the Mets made out on a gamble, but 20 IP last season, and declining velocity doesn’t do much to spark a ton of confidence. Good thing about the situation is, if he does surpass expectation-level…..he’s a “local” guy — whom the front office does have an inside-track to. We’ll see what happens, but $1MM guaranteed isn’t going to have me crying over much.

    His medical records have to be better than Kiko Calero’s or Kelvim Escobar’s last year….and I definitely trust these guys more than the other ones who were hoping for miracles last year.

    I just hope that Alderson KNOWS that Young’s got a good chance of staying healthy in 2011. I’m much more bullish on Capuano than I am Young at this point…..but that’s just me.

    If Young’s healthy, then I think Citi Field will definitely help his chances of succeeding. He always pitched well in San Diego, and in a much smaller sample – pitched well the times he threw at Shea.

    http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/split.cgi?id=youngch03&year=Career&t=p#site::none

    Right now, it’s said that he’s being guaranteed about $1MM in base pay — with up to $2.5MM in incentives. I’m not “counting” on him for a ton, but actually do like the gamble.

    It’s a world better than being the “guinea pigs” for the first time a guy actually steps foot back on the hill….we’ve seen that far too many times in the past with Minaya.

    • Steve S. January 19, 2011 at 8:43 am
      I like your analysis. Probably because it’s similar to the one I was going to post.

      I do believe that Young is a cagey pitcher, who will make the adjustments needed to do well this year (even if he’s lost some mph on his FB). It’s another good Moneyball signing (buy low on a non-tendered pitcher coming back from an injury, but showing something last year). He should hold up in the rotation, at least until Santana returns. If he doesn’t, the Mets are out only a million or so, and Gee can step in.

  2. Tidalmet2 January 19, 2011 at 9:15 am
    Watch Chris on MLB off season package. He gets two outs quickly and then has some issues with his fielders. Headly at third base is no match for david wright. San Diego was in a divisional race to the end and he was part of that. I do not understand what happen to him after his one April start (he pitched one game and did not come back until sep). He will need will be able to go 6 innings each time out and that is a big help. Leave the kids down at AAA so that they can get what they need.
  3. Tony January 19, 2011 at 11:26 am
    Tidalmet has a good point about the fielders. Thinking back there have been several below average OF in SD, and Young a FB pitcher. Hairston in CF, and Headly in LF back in 09 for example, in that big park, not a FB pitchers dream.

    I think this goes back to Joe’s last post, it all comes down to health, we know what CY and Cap can do when they are healthy and have decent velocity, question is, will they have that this season, at least until Johan is back, and guys like Mejia, Gee, and Stinson are ready for the next step.

    If CY and Cap win the 4-5 spots they do provide balance and different looks in the rotation, always a good thing.

  4. gary s. January 19, 2011 at 12:48 pm
    If we were going to sign all these tommy john surgery guys, we should have signed feliciano and takahashi.Young and Capuano will be on strict pitch counts under the best scenarios, which translates to a lit of 5 1/3 inning starts.The bullpen under this scenario will have to pitch a ton of innings.We could have used a guy like takahashi who had a rubber arm and could go 2-3 innings ebery couple of days.Where are the arms in the bullpen coming from to pick up the slack?To make matters worse, 2 of the guys projected to be in the bullpen, buchholz and bonser are coming off bad arm surgeries.I think i’m getting a headache..
  5. argonbunnies January 20, 2011 at 5:04 am
    Watching that clip is scary, but also kind of neat. The elbow comes up late — bad for the shoulder, but good for deception?

    As the most extreme flyball pitcher in baseball over the past 4 years, I wonder if Young’s starts can be scheduled to come more often than not at Citi. Of course, Niese, Capuano and Gee would like that too…

  6. Bohnjetz January 20, 2011 at 2:55 pm
    He should make around 12 starts before he breaks down so I think he is worth the money.