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?


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.

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. Rob March 27, 2012 at 10:23 am
    Hey Joe: I’m kind of flabbergasted about this one. Why invest anything in a pitcher like Young (who is probably three or four starts away from another shoulder blowout if his mechanics stay the same) and take starts away from developing other young talent. Or could it be that they don’t have any “other” young talent and are trying to build “depth” on the cheap, rather than invest in legitimate players to create that depth? This is probably as much about trying to get something for nothing; after all, they don’t have any money to invest in any depth right now.

    The whole thing just continues to disgust me. And this is with the Brain Trust in place. Who knows? Maybe they have a plan, but I’d sure love to ask Sandy that question over a beer and get his honest response.

    Keep up the great work, Joe!


    • Joe Janish March 27, 2012 at 12:45 pm
      The only thing I can think of is the Mets plan to sneak into the NBA, in which case they’d have a formidable front court of Young, Rauch, and Loewen, with Pelfrey coming off the bench.
  2. Izzy March 27, 2012 at 11:45 am
    Move is very strange considering that in the next several days, several healthy veteran players will become available as teams decide to cut veterans rather than pay them extra to go to the minors.
    • Joe Janish March 27, 2012 at 12:55 pm
      You bring up an OUTSTANDING point — the timing of this makes no sense. It smacks of a Minaya move — bidding against oneself, rushing to sign someone who is not highly coveted, and taking a huge gamble on physical health.
  3. Kanehl March 27, 2012 at 12:30 pm
    I guess Sandy, et al (hopefully, Jeffie’s still banished to the sandbox and not influencing personnel decisions) remembered how good he looked in 4 starts last year and think it’s a low money bet that could pay off. Given his injuries and increasing fragility, this seems pretty unlikely, but I can’t get too worked up about this. I’m still trying to get over the enormous discouragement of the Wilpons’ settlement that seems to leave them in perpetual control of the franchise. After that, any marginal decision like this is small potatoes. My 2012 prediction: 72-90. More importantly, given the mood of Mets fans (turning away in disgust more than being worked up at this point), it’ll be interesing to see how much further the attendance and ancillary revenues decline this year. That and the Wilpons’ debt load is our only hope for regime change.
  4. Joe March 27, 2012 at 1:03 pm
    I really don’t care. If they didn’t sign him, to a minor league contract, would they suddenly have lots of money to sign someone else? As to it taking a year or more, so there is a shot he will give them — like he did last year — a month or so late in the year. He already did more for them than D.J. Corrasco did, honestly. For much cheaper.

    Bottom line, how much (article didn’t say) and since he can’t pitch now anyways, are they not going to pick someone up in the five day window (didn’t say)? Till then, unlike say Jon Rauch which was about some real money that could have been used for someone else, this doesn’t really thrill me much.

  5. jerseymet March 27, 2012 at 1:32 pm
    Young’s pay isn’t mentioned. This could just be a good guy thing by the Wilpons. Giving Young access to the Mets facilities.

    Young’s rehap could be a case study for the Met’s medical team.

  6. Chris March 27, 2012 at 7:10 pm
    I went to the mets – Washington travesty Sunday. If Harvey is among the best we have coming up the pipeline we might as well release everyone. I went in excited to see him and the air came straight out. The difference between him and Strasburg was incredible
  7. DaveSchneck March 27, 2012 at 7:48 pm
    I understand your take and agree that the likelihood of Young contributing is remote, but let’s not confuse this with the Ollie Perez signing. As Jerseymet said, this deal is basically for him to rehab at the Met facilities, throw some minor league rehabs if and when he gets that far, and go from there. I don’t think they released anyone to provide him a spot, and they give up nothing. So long as he doesn’t block anyone with a potential future should he actually recover enough to pitch in the majors, it is a non-story.
    • Joe Janish March 27, 2012 at 9:13 pm
      Well, I intentionally included the release of several minor league pitchers in the same story for a reason.

      Nick Carr, for example, is a similarly injury-riddled pitcher — except, he’s 25 years old and throws 95 MPH. To add Chris Young to the organization meant someone had to go. Maybe if they don’t sign Young, they keep Carr or one of the other youngsters. To me, looking at an organization that is going nowhere for at least 2-3 years, I’m more inclined to give a spot to a 25-year-old flamethrower with injury problems than a 35-year-old who has proven time and time again that he can’t remain healthy for more than 15-20 starts a season. But, that’s just me.

      • Joe March 27, 2012 at 11:21 pm
        You need to show us that Carr would have staid as compared to one of the others who didn’t offer much but were at least pitching now.
        • Joe Janish March 28, 2012 at 8:30 am
          It didn’t necessarily have to be Carr — he’s merely an example. I would have kept just about any healthy pitcher under the age of 30 and still on a minor league contract rather than made room for Young.