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?

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. nymets_news_esp February 22, 2013 at 5:32 am
    I agree with you. The Mets have enough arms within the organization in the case of an injury, so resigning Young didn´t make much sense after signing Marcum. Specially when Wheeler is supposed to come up during the year.
  2. Mikey A February 22, 2013 at 1:55 pm
    Exactly. And I’d rather give one of our young arms a chance than waste a spot on an old, injury-prone vet who isn’t in our future plans.
  3. Dan B February 22, 2013 at 5:43 pm
    I never saw Young in the long man bullpen role and I wonder how well he would respond to AAA. I wonder if he retires if he doesn’t make it out of spring training. But for Young, the Nationals seem to be a good fit considering their depth and chances for the playoffs. I always admire the players who leave MLB kicking and scratching.
  4. DaveSchneck February 22, 2013 at 6:09 pm
    “Punchless, bullpen-deficient, defensively-challenged Mets”? Do you have to be such a Debbie Downer on February 22? You are right, Rizzo is going with the Omar Minaya/Jeff Wilpon plan of starting pitching depth on a favorite. I like CY, and wish him the best, and in a way if he lands a spot with the Nats that is good news for the Mets, as he is clearly not on the same level as the other 5 Nats pitchers. I still think they are going to pluch Lohse if anything happens to one of their top 5.
    • Joe Janish February 23, 2013 at 12:21 am
      Debbie Downer? I thought I was being optimistic.
    • Izzy February 23, 2013 at 8:17 am
      Dave the difference between the Mets and professional teams whose desire to win is that when the Mets sign a guy to a m inor league contract he instantly becomes a centerpiece of m alderson’s big league team. when real teams give a guy a minor league contract its to fill in if a major league player gets hurt or to be the 26th player for a day if there is a make up double header. Of corse Young is not as good as DC 5 starters. He’s not supposed to be. He’s not supposed to be. He replaces Wang/Lannan. Met fans are starting to think that the rest of baseball is trying to emulate the failed Alderson approach. Not the case. .
  5. friend February 22, 2013 at 6:40 pm
    Did anybody have February 22 in the “when will the Mets announce that Johann Santana might not be ready for opening day” office pool?
  6. argonbunnies February 24, 2013 at 1:46 am
    Chris Young is no worse than many teams’ 5th starters. Getting a viable #5 for a minor league contract is a great deal. I’m always in favor of the Mets getting great deals.

    No, I won’t be pining for Young this year, but yes, if the Mets could have gotten him for the price the Nats paid, then I wish they had.