Why Are Mets Hot On Chris Young?

For the last few weeks, a recurring rumor keeps coming up that relates to the Mets’ interest in signing pitcher Chris Young. Is anyone else besides me wondering why?

First of all, as you know, Chris Young underwent season-ending shoulder surgery last May to repair a torn anterior capsule. That is a similar surgery to the one that Johan Santana received to repair HIS torn anterior capsule. It is not the type of injury that pitchers return from quickly — if they return at all. At minimum it takes a full year to get back on a mound to throw a bullpen session. In reality, it usually takes closer to 18 months to get to that point. Even then, it’s rare.

There are reports — likely emanating from Young’s agent and/or hired PR gun — that Young is “recovering nicely” and “feeling great“. I’ve also read somewhere that he’s long tossing close to 200 feet, as if that matters.

Here’s the truth: it’s unlikely Young will return at all this year. Even if he does, why would the Mets care? They’re going nowhere fast, and the soon-to-be 33-year-old doesn’t fit into the plans of a rebuilding ballclub. Further, the apparent stumbling block to a deal is that Young is insisting on a Major League contract — which to me is laughable. The guy pitched in exactly four glorious ballgames last year, and in only four games in 2010, and in only 14 games in 2009. That’s 22 games in three years, and he wants a guaranteed deal — coming off of the riskiest surgery a pitcher can undergo? Seriously? Fine — let him sign with San Diego, and best of luck.

Even if by some minor miracle Young is able to throw off of a mound within the next six months, he’s virtually guaranteed to suffer a setback due to his horrendous and dangerous pitching mechanics. It’s not “bad luck” that Young has spent the majority of his MLB career on the DL with myriad back and arm injuries — it’s because he has a pitching motion that is incredibly unnatural and attempts to defy the laws of physics. Which is interesting, considering that Young is an Ivy Leaguer and therefore should know something about what that guy Newton was spewing about after the apple fell on his head. It was Albert Einstein who defined insanity as “doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results;” in Young’s case, he continued to use the same dangerous mechanics over and over — even after multiple injuries — and expected to remain healthy.

My guess is that Young still hasn’t changed his mechanics one iota, and if that’s true, he’s virtually guaranteed to have a setback, since it was his awful form that caused the torn shoulder in the first place. Long tossing will only accelerate the progress — though in his mind he likely thinks it will get him on a mind sooner. This isn’t my opinion — it’s science (which is a subject that most of organized baseball has yet to discover).

Bottom line is that the Mets would be foolish to sign Chris Young this year, even on an incentive-laden deal. The budget is so slim, it makes no sense to spend any amount of money on someone who is more or less guaranteed not to make a contribution in 2012. Even a MLB-minimum salary is too much; I’d much rather see the team use that money on someone who is able-bodied, and better yet, a player who is under 30 and might have a few years ahead of him. Finally, if the Mets sign Young now, I don’t understand the rush. Why not wait to see him pitch off a mound, at the very least? Why not hold on to that dough in case someone else becomes available? It’s not as though there are teams banging down Chris Young’s door right now.

What’s your thought? Do you think the Mets should sign Chris Young? Can they afford to? Why or why not? Post your opinion in the comments — and please provide more than “they have nothing to lose,” because the team’s current financial state requires that every signing be reviewed with a fine-toothed comb.


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. NormE March 13, 2012 at 8:58 am
    You’re correct. It’s a sign of desperation by Mets’ fans, many
    looking to catch lightning in a bottle. The front office is not
    averse to “spin” as a way to deflect the reality of the lack of
    major league arms in the organization.
    Keep up the good analysis.
    • Joe Janish March 13, 2012 at 10:19 pm
      Thanks Norm!
  2. derek March 13, 2012 at 9:33 am
    I agree. Waste to sign him. We are better off giving a young guy a shot. see what they can do.

    young should try out for NBA now, no way he can get back to the mound to help the mets.nice guy thou..best of luck to him.

  3. Joe March 13, 2012 at 9:57 am
    I referenced the fact they were “mulling” him over but the coverage doesn’t suggest much “excitement” or anything. Talk of “nothing imminent” or them “being in touch” is akin with people being “in touch” with Newt Gingrich. The PR from his camp and some note of a connection with Sandy Alderson also ups the chatter.

    It is silly to give him a ML contract but if various pitchers go down, it is also true that there aren’t all these real cheap replacements that might have a few years left and be that much more intriguing than a guy that might give you a month. One slot will go to a Harvey. But, the team needs cheap insurance policies. Some of them will be rubbish heap types. This blog had this conversation already — the options weren’t exciting.

    I guess someone broke has to debate every $1 they spend but especially until the deal is more “imminent,” I’d worry about other things.

    • Joe Janish March 13, 2012 at 10:21 pm
      Joe, yes you did reference the fact that the Mets were mulling Young, but in addition to you have been at least two dozen media outlets reporting the same since late January, so I felt it necessary to address the issue before a signing happens.
      • Joe March 14, 2012 at 10:31 am
        Joe Janish, thanks for the reply, but I never thought you only replied because I mentioned it. I didn’t say I was breaking news there. I was just citing what others were saying.

        Which was talk of ‘mulling’ etc. Nothing immediate. In fact, I’m not sure what evidence is there that they were particularly “hot” on the guy. Heck, I doubt they were “hot” on Pelfrey, who is starting Spring Training about par for course: a tiresome guy who “eats innings.” Mind you, not the same thing as actually winning games.

        Yay. At least Young gave the team an impressive month. Anyway, I guess the question would be who to get instead. You covered this already. Nothing really exciting out there that offers much hope for a long term option. Someone who actually might give you 4-6 wks of performance for “the league minimum” is not horrible.

        If not Young, try someone else.

  4. LongTimeFan March 13, 2012 at 10:35 am
    Sign him while he’s available. Whenever he’s healthy, he’s very good. This is low risk, high reward. Do it..
    • HobieLandrith March 13, 2012 at 6:09 pm
      Using your logic, the Mets then should also sign Ben Sheets, Mark Prior, Rich Harden, Pedro Martinez, and Mark Mulder.

      Heck, maybe they should also sign up Rocco Baldelli and Bo Jackson for the outfield as well!

      • Joe Janish March 13, 2012 at 10:22 pm
        I’m with Hobie. There are many, many pitchers who perform well when healthy, but if they’re only healthy for 4 games a year, what’s the point?
  5. MikeT March 13, 2012 at 10:49 am
    Technically, Einstein never said that. Just FYI.
    • Joe Janish March 13, 2012 at 10:27 pm
      Technically, you’re probably right. And unfortunately, if we go down the road of researching most famous quotes by famous people, we will probably find that none of these people ever said any of these things. Even if they are written down and/or were heard on a radio or TV broadcast, chances are the best quotes were written by an anonymous script writer.

      Bottom line? Shhhhhh — you’re killing the dramatic effect!

  6. LongTimeFan March 13, 2012 at 10:53 am
    And To Joe Janish:

    I think your negativity is appalling:

    “Here’s the truth: it’s unlikely Young will return at all this year. Even if he does, why would the Mets care? They’re going nowhere fast, and the soon-to-be 33-year-old doesn’t fit into the plans of a rebuilding.”

    What are you, God? You purport to know the future before it happens. Life doesn’t work that way, and the history of the game doesn’t either.

    And your “Why should the Mets care?” reflects badly on you. The 1969 and 1973 Mets cared. So too the 2011 Cardinals, the 2007 Rockies, the 2011 D’Backs, the 1991 Twins and Braves. These are but a few. As someone who writes a baseball blog, you should have more respect for the game, including the players and staff, everyone who put forth effort and hard work to make things happen regardless of short-sighted predictions. Anyone who doesn’t care should get out of the business. And anyone who doesn’t understand why a team should care, lacks an appreciation for the game’s rich history and the value of hard work.

    • Steven March 13, 2012 at 12:01 pm
      I am going to defend Joe on this. From the point of view of both the Mets and Chris Young this is strictly a business decision. Chris made $1.1 million dollars last year by pitching four games. If he can get that again he will go for it. Heck, even the major league minimum is better than a 33 year old without real work experience can earn in the real world. From the Mets point of view they have a finite set of resources and have to spend it in a manner that is prudent to their owners and to the long term success of the franchise, which is to enhance the value of the asset. Nothing is done for the fans except to the extent it enhances the value of the asset. Unless 1,000 fans are willing to step up and say they will buy a full or partial season ticket plan in return for signing Chris Young, this move just does not make sense
      • Izzy March 13, 2012 at 2:36 pm
        I am with Steven in defending Joe Janish. Whether you think he is negative or posive or straight to the point, I’d mucvh prefer his well thought out commentary over and beoyond the pathetic and very worn out and incorrect commentarry from the long time fan. Wow…Long time yoiu say its low risk and high reward!!! WOW!!! That’s only been said by someone for every piece of crap player signed by every org. But in this case, a man as brilliant and positive as you should know that the line nis bunk. If this is a team building young arms for the future a broken down piece of crap like Young takes innings away frompropects. He has never been healthy. Even his supposedly good years in SD he was to weak and frail to come close to 200 innings. The only thing his sign would do his once again show that Alderson’s horrid assistants are out of touch and still in the days they were in charge. So when you decide to blast Janish how about acting like someone with a thought that hasn’t been used a couple million times. Until that time I’ll stick with Janish’s honest appraisal of the Mets. I don’t agree a lot but at least he uses his brain, something you failed at today long time.
        • LongTimeFan March 13, 2012 at 3:22 pm

          You can bury your head in the sand, but the fact remains the Mets need starting pitching depth and if healthy, Chris Young provides it and of sufficiently quality. To think that the Mets can go through 6 months of baseball with only one proven backup – Bautista – plus Schwinden – is fool-hearty.

          Furthermore, that youngsters like Harvey and Familia aren’t ready hardly results in Chris Young interfering with their development. Calling a pitcher with a career 1,202 WHIP, 3.74 era, 49-35. .590 Winning %, across 139 big league starts, crap, is a big reach.

          It’s also possible, Mets look to trade both Gee and Pelfrey in the summer for prospects opening spots in the rotation. .

          And insofar as “Low-risk High Reward,” that your beef is with the concept’s longevity does not make it an invalid one. Low risk, high reward is good business. You’re just looking for something to blow smoke over for being pissed at me in support of Janish. Wisdom is passed from generation to generation with
          well-worn concepts that have passed the test of time but never grow old. “Survival of the Fittest,” It Ain’t Over Till It’s Over,” “Tomorrow Is Another Day,” “Treat Others Like You Want to be Treated.” “The Grass is Greener on the Other Side.”

        • Izzy March 13, 2012 at 6:18 pm
          Lets deal with fact lonf time if you think what you wrote is facts. Chris young provides guaranteed space on the DL, un;less of course you think 3.5 appearances a year gives a team depth. Sign him and you prove you are a bad GM, wait that’s what we have. second, you do not have facts about who is and who isn’t ready. all you have is the BS coming from an old and worn out GM who has predetermined the time a guy needs in the minbors. Guess what person who doesn’t have any facts behind his words. Every guy is different. Guys like Alderson wouldn’t bring Zimmerman up with a half year in the minors because it isn’t time. That is pure crap. Griffey Jr would rot for a year at each level with guys like you and roidal sandy in charge of him. And if you want to deal in “facts” whuy throw a mythical trade into your factual book of crap. Face it… You are a shill for Alderson. A guy that buys anything spoon fed to him. why are you onb the rolls??? Anyone not on the roll of Alderson wouldn’tcome bacvk with rewal facts. Maybe start your own site. The Sandy is god site. I’m sure you’ll have a horde of yess men with you.
      • LongTimeFan March 13, 2012 at 2:47 pm

        Firstly, we’re not privy to the negotiations. We don’t know what’s going on. Janish is speculating on cause of the delay which hasn’t gotten any press to back up Ken Davidson’s tweet. And certainly the Mets aren’t going to sign Chris Young if there’s reasonable chance he won’t pitch in the majors this season.

        Should he be ready to pitch, he’ll be an immediate asset on the field and off. There’s a full season to be played and the Mets need starting pitching depth which a healthy Young provides without loss of players through trade. It’s more a matter of when Chris Young will be deemed ready for the majors and whether the investment is worth it under those conditions.

        The remaining Mets option is to wait till 5 days before the season starts when more players will be available, and perhaps they’re already waiting for that. One way or another, they need starting pitching depth, and Chris Young, if healthy, is capable of providing that this season and perhaps gives us a leg up for next.

        On that potential free agent list is:

        Aaron Cook,

        Vicente Padilla

        Jeff Francis

        Livan Hernandez

        Kevin Millwood

        Joel Pinero

        Zack Duke

        Ramon Ortiz

        Jamey Wright

        • Izzy March 13, 2012 at 6:22 pm
          Nice list…. the 62 mets will be worrying about their record being shattered. Tell us how valuable each will be to the Mets. Tell us.. Really we need amusement…Collins;’ moronic tirades are stale.
    • Realist Mets Fan March 13, 2012 at 6:09 pm
      I don’t recall any of those teams depending on broken-down washed-up pitchers who can’t pitch anymore like Chris Young. I’d rather see Boof Bonser return.
    • Joe Janish March 13, 2012 at 10:52 pm
      Steven and Izzy, thank you for defending my honor, it is greatly appreciated.

      LTF, here is my response:

      Re: “… your negativity is appalling …” and “What are you, God? You purport to know the future before it happens. Life doesn’t work that way, and the history of the game doesn’t either.”

      My negativity is my choice and my choice to publicize it is my right. The fact you find it appalling is your choice and I won’t try to change your mind on that. No, I’m not God, I’m a realist, and it doesn’t take a genius to realize that there is little chance of the Mets getting to the postseason. As a realist in 2006, 2007, and 2008, I believed very strongly that the Mets would win the NL East. By believing that, did it make me God or did it make me one who could see the future?

      Re: “And your “Why should the Mets care?” reflects badly on you. The 1969 and 1973 Mets cared. So too the 2011 Cardinals, the 2007 Rockies, the 2011 D’Backs, the 1991 Twins and Braves.”

      You may have misconstrued my quote. I am not saying that the Mets “don’t care” in general, I’m saying that there’s no reason for them to care about Chris Young this year. Very different.

      But, as long as you opened this can of worms, I have to point out that the ’69 and ’73 Mets; ’11 Cardinals; ’07 Rockies; ’11 D-Backs; and ’91 Twins and Braves all had legitimate personnel in place, on paper, to compete for their respective divisions in those particular years. The 2012 Mets, on paper, have no chance whatsoever to compete even for third place in the NL East. Their only shot is to hope that the four teams ahead of them each lose 50% of their rosters to injury or death. I’m not going to root for such horrific events.

      Re: “As someone who writes a baseball blog, you should have more respect for the game, including the players and staff, everyone who put forth effort and hard work to make things happen regardless of short-sighted predictions. Anyone who doesn’t care should get out of the business. And anyone who doesn’t understand why a team should care, lacks an appreciation for the game’s rich history and the value of hard work.”

      Again, you have completely misconstrued my statement, which referred to the Mets caring about Chris Young rather than not caring in general. But again, I feel moved to answer your scathing comments.

      First, I have plenty of respect for the game. Who are you to judge my respect for baseball? Do you have any idea how many thousands of hours I’ve volunteered and dedicated to the sport, so that others can enjoy it and play to the best of their ability? I’ve been a baseball player, instructor, and/or coach for over 30 years. Who are you and what have you done for baseball? Have you taught the game to anyone? Have you helped anyone get to MLB? And what is your thermometer or other measurement for “respect” of baseball? Is there a test I can take? Don’t you DARE question my respect for the sport, and please spare me the ridiculous defense of “players and staff, everyone who put forth effort and hard work to make things happen regardless of short-sighted predictions.” Seriously? These people get paid to play and coach a GAME, and they get paid a heckuva lot more than the rest of us do to perform jobs that are much less forgiving, much more stressful, and generally much more important to society.

      And as for “getting out of the business,” I must inform you that writing this blog every day is far from a “business.” Rather, it is a labor of love. This site generates almost enough money every year to cover the expenses of its upkeep. To me, negative cash flow does not equal a business — it is defined as “expensive hobby.”

      • DaveSchneck March 14, 2012 at 9:07 am
        Joe J,
        Kudos on this post, the lively debate has been interesting and entertaining. To your last point, unfortunately for us fans, negative cash flow has and continues to define the Wilpons’ business/hobby. I hope you don’t need to rely on Madoff accounts to keep the site afloat.

        For my last 2 cents on Mr. Young, his signing would only make sense to protect from rushing any kids, but, while he is probably a great guy and hard worker, given his injury history there would be better options should that situation arise.

  7. DaveSchneck March 13, 2012 at 11:51 am
    This is a no-brainer. How could anyone stop Young and Rauch down low in the paint?
    • Joe Janish March 13, 2012 at 10:56 pm
      Wow, you have a good point! Further, there is reason to keep Big Pelf around — who along with Adam Loewen fills out a formidable frontcourt!
  8. jerseymet March 13, 2012 at 12:54 pm
    Some writers have generation 2k starting at Bingo and moving up to Buffalo by years end. This leaves the staff at Buffalo fighing for their careers. We have no room for Young. Best of luck to him.
  9. argonbunnies March 13, 2012 at 4:03 pm
    We don’t have money to sing Oswalt.

    We don’t want to rush our young guys.

    We don’t have anyone in AAA who deserves a shot in the big leagues right now.

    Thus we need filler. Of all the filler options out there, Chris Young is the most effective when able to take the mound. Thus the interest. I’d love to have him on a minor league deal. No one will give him a major league deal, so I expect I’ll get my wish. If he’s too hurt to play, our fallback options will be what they would have been without him. Although if the Mets only have room in the budget for Young or Kyle Davies, Davies might be a better gamble.

  10. murph March 14, 2012 at 5:21 am
    Come on, Chris Young was 1-0 last year and cost just over $1.

    Compare that to Johan Santana, who was 0-0 last year and cost over $21 million.

    It is simple math.


    • MikeT March 14, 2012 at 10:44 am
      That… is actually quite clever.

      I’d also like to defend Joe here. I sometimes ask myself why I still return to this blog when he and I, and much of the readers here, do not agree on much at all. Then Joe posts something like this, and shows his knowledge and insight into pitching and I remember that all the statistical analysis in the world cannot predict what Joe can. He knew Chris Young would get injured last year. He said it in a similar fashion to this year. I kinda hope the Mets do sign him so that Joe can be proved right again… or if he is wrong then the Mets would end up with a really nice pitcher.

      Point is Joe knows pitching, and Joe knows throwing mechanics. Did you know he also predicted Jenrry Mejia’s injury last year too? Hey Joe, what other injuries have you predicted? Santana? Pedro Martinez? Strasburg? John Maine?