Mets Sign Chris Young, Release Minor Leaguers

According to ESPN-NY, the Mets have signed pitcher Chris Young to a minor league contract. Why? No one knows. Perhaps the recent Picard settlement has resulted in a sudden flush of cash that ownership couldn’t wait to spend, and Kelvim Escobar was out of the country.

As you know, Young underwent a similar surgery that Johan Santana experienced — repair of a torn anterior capsule in the pitching shoulder. The possibility of full recovery from such an operation is bleak, and usually takes a minimum of one year. Young had this procedure done last May; you do the math.

However, Young “feels good” and the Mets have money to burn now so what’s the harm in signing him to a minor-league, non-guaranteed deal, right? Better to have him taking up space on a AAA disabled list than hire an extra scout or two. And if the Mets didn’t roll the dice now, some other MLB team may have swooped in and stolen Young from right under their noses — and then who would the Mets have to pitch in four or five games at some point in late August or early September?

Per ESPN-NY:

Young is due to fly to New York on Tuesday, where he will be examined by team doctor David Altchek, who performed the procedure last May 16. The GM expects Young will be in Port St. Lucie by Tuesday evening and report to work the following morning.

“At that point, or shortly thereafter, he’ll throw and we’ll see where he is,” said Alderson, who met with Young in late December in San Diego and remained in periodic contact. “Right now we don’t have an expectation other than a general one — that he’ll be able to pitch at some point. Until he’s seen by the doctor, and we actually see him throw, we really can’t make an estimate as to when he might be ready.

“He wanted to wait to make a decision until he had progressed to a certain point, at least in his mind. He got to this stage and felt he was ready to go in a more structured environment, so we’ll see what happens.”

See? The Mets are being very responsible about this signing — they’re going the extra mile and having Young’s shoulder examined (never mind that this is happening AFTER the ink is dry on the contract). This is a breath of fresh air coming from a team that has been struck with so much bad luck in regard to injuries over the past few years. Perhaps finally they’re learning a few things.

In other news, the Mets have released a bunch of minor leaguers: Tobi Stoner, Eric Niesen, Nicholas Carr, Roy Merritt, Chris Hilliard, Ronny Morla, Steve Winnick, Lucas Stewart and Chase Greene. This news isn’t exactly stunning, but it’s mildly interesting. At one point a few years ago, Merritt looked like he might have a shot to be a LOOGY; he reminded me of a “lefthanded Cecilio Guante.” He never progressed, however, from that peak. You may remember Stoner as the kid from Germany whose cockiness ticked off his Mets teammates. If nothing else, his was a missed opportunity for enormous jersey sales to the drug-taking crowd.

Nick Carr and Eric Niesen also jump out of that group; both were highly touted early in their pro careers but never quite made necessary progress. Niesen flat-out didn’t put up numbers, and he’s now 26 — too old for AA. Carr, though, is a different story; he pitched fairly well but had elbow issues that eventually required Tommy John surgery in June 2009. He appears to be fully recovered and still throws fairly hard — 93-94 MPH according to reports I’ve seen — but apparently he hasn’t progressed enough to warrant further investment of time and resources. After all, Carr turns 25 in mid-April, and the Mets need space for other oft-injured pitchers such as Chris Young.

So that’s the scoop for today — what’s your thought on these moves? Speak out in the comments.

11-12 Offseason

About the Author

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.

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