Nationals Sign Chris Young

The Washington Nationals have provided employment to Chris Young — the former Mets pitcher, not the slugging outfielder.

Young gets a minor-league deal and invite to spring training. His best shot at making the big club is via injury to one of the projected starting five — Gio Gonzalez, Stephen Strasburg, Jordan Zimmerman, Dan Haren, and Ross Detwiler. It’s a good move by the Nats, as their only insurance policy behind those five is the usually awful Yunesky Maya and righthanded prospect Nathan Karns, who despite his 25 years of age has only 37 games of pro ball under his belt.

In fact, this signing alerted me to the Nats’ curious and dangerous lack of depth in terms of starting pitchers. A team focused on going “all the way” should have — at minimum — 7 to 8 legit MLB starters in their organization at the start of the season; the Nats have five and a half. That said, I wonder if they’re in play for Kyle Lohse, and/or will be adding any other veterans to staff over the next week — though there aren’t many available. The only ones I can think of who are somewhat decent are Carlos Zambrano, Roy Oswalt, Derek Lowe, Chien-Ming Wang, and Carl Pavano (who is recovering from a ruptured spleen) — slim pickings.

I’m mildly surprised that Young didn’t re-sign with the Mets, considering his relationship with Sandy Alderson, but once Shaun Marcum joined the club, there wasn’t much room for Young on the Mets’ 25-man roster. If the choice was to hope for an injury to a Mets pitcher or a Nats pitcher, I suppose the latter was more enticing, considering that the Nats appear to be the team to beat in the NL East (or the NL overall, in the minds of many pundits). Personally, I didn’t see much need for Young for the Mets, even in a AAA-depth role. He proved to be an inconsistent starter who ran out of gas after five frames, and that type of performance can be found from the likes of Jeremy Hefner or any number of AAAA starters that are readily available for the MLB minimum salary. On a team with a strong lineup and deep bullpen like the Nationals, Young could be a viable fill-in starter, but for the punchless, bullpen-deficient, defensively challenged Mets, he wouldn’t bring much to the table.

What’s your thought? Do you disagree? Should the Mets have brought Young back for another go-around? Why or why not?

12-13 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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