Mets Sign Chris Young

According to various reports, the Mets have signed Chris Young. Not the pitcher, the outfielder.

Somewhat unusual signing for a team already stocked with fourth and fifth outfielders, but perhaps Terry Collins can channel the ghost of Gil Hodges and platoon this collection of flawed players to success.

On the positive side, Young once hit 32 homeruns in a season. On the negative side, that was in 2007. His numbers have steadily decreased since his rookie season. It was a pretty quick fall from grace, and sad, considering how much promise he showed as a 23-year-old.

Now, Young is 30, and coming off his worst season as a pro. He still has some power, and above-average running speed, but he strikes out a ton and doesn’t get on base very often. Prior to moving to Oakland, he hit LHPs better than he did RHPs, so there is some historical evidence supporting the theory that he could do well as part of a righty/lefty platoon in a corner spot (Lucas Duda, I’m looking at you). Additionally, Young is still a very capable center fielder, which is valuable.

Certainly, there will be much sarcasm from Mets fans on Twitter and throughout the blogoshpere, but I don’t hate this signing. I can see what the Mets are thinking — or rather, hoping. Many players have a rough time in their first year in a new league, and it’s very possible that returning to the NL, combined with playing exclusively against lefthanded pitchers, will turn Chris Young into one-half of a somewhat productive corner outfield platoon. Assuming this is only the beginning of a complete roster makeover, it’s a decent first move of the winter. Now, if this turns out to be the biggest the Mets make in the offseason, well, that’s another story. And considering that the cost of this one-year contract is $7.25M, there’s a possibility that this could turn out to be the Mets’ top free-agent signing. Did they overpay? Possibly, but they’re going to have to overpay for nearly every free agent they go after.

What’s your thought?

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. Steve S. November 22, 2013 at 11:39 am
    Whoa at $7.25 million! He’s going to start, when he really is a platoon guy.
    • izzy November 22, 2013 at 11:48 am
      Gotta agree with Steve S. 7,25 makes you a platoon candidate in the Bronx or LA, not in Queens. Makes Indians and Phillies look brilliant with their outfield signs. This guy’s numbers seem truly atrocious.
      • Steve S. November 22, 2013 at 3:44 pm
        Hard to believe, but Chris Young is now the Mets’ second highest-paid player!
  2. Dan Capwell November 22, 2013 at 12:09 pm
    Meet your 2014 OD RF. Perhaps this is a precursor to another move, but it is hard to believe that based on the current regime’s track record.
    • Dan42 November 22, 2013 at 6:33 pm
      His arm is too poor to play in right.
  3. Sidd Finch November 22, 2013 at 1:09 pm
    Horrible signing. Just horrendous. We’re going to pay $7.25 million for 15HR 20SB 150Ks sub .320 OBP who can’t hit righties. Great!
  4. DanB November 22, 2013 at 1:30 pm
    I like any move that replaces one player with a better player. However, it is a head scratcher. If Young plays poorly, there goes a large % of our offseason buying spree. If he does well, the Mets won’t be able to resign him. He won’t sell tickets and the Mets won’t be competing in 2014. If the Mets sign Granderson and add a big pitcher, it makes more sense. But I fear this is our big outfield addiction.
  5. DaveSchneck November 22, 2013 at 2:49 pm
    Like it or not, $7.25 mil is the going rate for a guy of Youong’s caliber. If healthy, despite the atrocious line from 2013, he is likely to give WAR of at least 1.5, given plus defense, so the Mets should get their money’s worth. The problem is their spending budget, and slotting him in as a starting 150 game player. If he played the majority of games but not all, platooned with a guy like Den Dekker who can hit RHP better, is used as a defensive replacement and PH off the bench that can pop one out, he could be a good signing. I see him as a #6/#7 hitter. If he winds up being “the bat”, oh my, it’w going to be a long long summer of 2014.
    • argonbunnies November 22, 2013 at 10:42 pm
      A flawed hitter who used to derive value from his legs and has turned 30… who was replacement-level last year… and you’re seeing at least 1.5 WAR? I’d put that as his likely ceiling.

      Agreed on your other points. He could improve the team as a part-time guy, but spending 1/4 of the budget on him makes me pessimistic for 2014.

      In the past, guys like this were available on the cheap late in the offseason. If someone like Hairston signs for $1 mil in February, this Young deal will look terrible. Perhaps the supply of part-time OFs has dwindle, though; I dunno.

  6. DaveSchneck November 23, 2013 at 8:54 pm
    Bunnies,
    If healthy in his age 30 season, and perhaps sitting once a week against a tough RHP, I do believe there is a. very good chance of a WAR of 1.5 or better. I am not in love with this signing, but I don’t hate it either. WAR is being valued at $6 to $7 mil which means the Mets should get their value for the money spent. However, if they fail to acquire a bigger bat than his, ie a #4, I will be very unhappy.
    • argonbunnies November 24, 2013 at 2:45 pm
      Let’s put it this way: if Young is a 3-WAR player in 2014, I will be surprised. If he is replacement-level, I will not be surprised.

      Young’s a high-K, low-avg guy, and his offense in the past has been based on HRs and the walks that come with being a HR threat. What happened last year? He moved from the thin air of Arizona to the cavern in Oakland, where pitchers aren’t scared of the long ball. His awful numbers there don’t surprise me. And now Citi Field? Yikes.

      He has a weak arm, and his defensive metrics are in decline, not unusual for a fast 20-something approaching 30.

      Young is a nice package of tools to get on a 1-year deal, but the Mets coaches probably have their work cut out for them to get a positive contribution out of him. Maybe Hudgens can wave his Byrd wand…

  7. micalpalin November 26, 2013 at 2:44 am
    ‘Maybe Hudgens can wave his Byrd wand…’

    The really farsical thing here is the Mets signed a guy who is downright awfull compared to Byrd for virtually the same annual salary.

    ‘Precursor to another move…” Yes trading David Wright.