Chris Young: Good player but not a great contract

Chris YoungOn Friday, the Mets signed free-agent outfielder Chris Young to a one year, $7.25 million deal. The signing was met with some criticism. The Mets’ fanbase felt as though Sandy Alderson wasted too much money on a player who was below average last year. Given that the Mets reportedly only have between $30-40 million dollars to spend this offseason, this is a valid argument. However, the Chris Young deal is a good move, but it should have for two years, not one.

There are a lot of things that make Chris Young not that sexy. Last year he hit a line of .200/.280/.379, and put up a below-average defense. He also couldn’t anything a right handed pitcher threw at him — even if he had a boat paddle — as he hit an abysmal .193 against righties. However, as bad as his 2013 season was, it’s reasonable to assume that Young will perform better in 2014. He was extremely unlucky in 2013 with a BABIP of .237, which is likely why his batting average was chomping at the Mendoza line.

Young has never been a player that has produced high BABIPs, but other than the 2013 season, he had never produced a BABIP below .260. It’s reasonable to infer that his BABIP will be higher in 2014, and he will regress back to the mean. When Young has been able to sustain a batting average of .230 or higher he’s been at least league average at the plate, and has even provided a little bit of power. As far as his defense goes, it’s difficult to say whether he’ll ever be an elite defensive fielder again. We could assume that his below-average defense last year was just an outlier, and that he should continue to defend at an elite level. Then again, he is 30 years old, and his range could be declining since he is older.

Young should perform well this season for the Mets. It’s not too much of stretch to say that he will be worth 2.0-2.5 WAR. He’s done that in the past, and with some regression back to the mean he will probably do it again. The main problem with the Young signing is that Alderson gave him a short-term deal with a higher average annual value. Alderson probably could have lowered the average annual value if he had increased the duration to two years as opposed to one. Rumors have it that Nate McLouth — who has a similar skill set to Young’s — is looking for a deal in the range of $10-11 million over two years. Alderson probably could have made that offer to Young.

We don’t really know how 2014 will shake out. Alderson has a to find a lot of value to account for the fact that Matt Harvey is not going to be available. Some of the acquisitions he makes now may not have an impact until 2015. That’s why Young should have been signed for two years, so that if the pieces don’t come together now they will at least have some base for 2015. If Young didn’t want a longer deal with a lower average annual value, then McLouth would have been a better all around choice than Young.

7 comments for “Chris Young: Good player but not a great contract

  1. November 24, 2013 at 12:43 pm

    Spencer the problem with being signed to a one year contract is that if Young performs well he’s gone by the trading deadline. It’s a temporary move that does not address the teams need for better outfield play with some continuity attached to it. The same problem is going to rise again next year. Why not sign Byrd for 2 years for 1 million more than you’re paying for Young’s potential to become the player he was. While all you’re asking is for Byrd to continue his level of play. That leaves the Mets with 20-25 million left in the piggy bank to sign another 4th outfielder.

    • Joe Vasile
      November 24, 2013 at 4:20 pm

      Let’s not kid ourselves here, the problem here is that there’s only 20-25 million left in the piggy bank after signing one guy for $7.25 million. It’s disgusting that this is what the Mets have been reduced to.

    • NormE
      November 24, 2013 at 4:50 pm

      I think you are correct about Young. If he’s bad the Mets are not stuck beyond 2014. If he’s okay they may be able to move him and make room for Cesar Puello sometime during the season.

  2. Metsense
    November 24, 2013 at 2:39 pm

    I agree that Sandy should have also included a team option year.
    The Mets offense can’t function with Lagares, EY and Tejada along with the unknown production of d’Arnaud. (d’Arnaud should be able to produce at least average catcher numbers,NL AVG:17 HR, 307/379/686, based on his minor league pedigree)
    If this signing was for Chris Young to play center field then it was a good signing.
    2013 NL AVG: 14 HR, 329/394/7222013
    C Young: 12HR, 280/379/659 Career 315/431/746 20 HR
    Lagares: 4 HR, 281/352/633
    The Mets still need a RF and either an upgrade to at least an average SS or LF.
    If this signing is for Chris Young to play RF then not as good.
    NL RF Avg: 23 HR 334/443/777
    C Young: 12 HR 280/379/659 Career 315/431/746 20 HR
    With Chris in RF, the Mets still haven’t solved the problem of Lagares, EY, Tejada and d’Arnaud in the same lineup.
    Hopefully this is only the first move and Sandy will land an impact bat OF and a better than average SS.
    As an aside, I read that some Phillie fans are upset that Amarro gave Byrd 2/16 when they could have filled their CF need with Young for 1/7.25. It is a matter of perspectives.

    • November 24, 2013 at 9:24 pm

      Metsense who us out there that is an impact bat that needs to sign a cheap contract to further their career. Because that’s the only type of free agent that the Mets are looking at. Stop gap players to fill weaknesses from year to year. Helluva way to run a MLB team. As I stated before what happens if Young plays beyond expectations? Do they trade him at the trading deadline? You know the team will not be interested in any extension especially if he seeks 10-12 million for several years. So what’s the point? A revolving door policy? The Mets are sinking. The other 29 teams are going to use their additional 25 million dollars in television revenue to target players that will improve their team for the long run. So Young plays center and Lagares sits on the bench as your 4th outfielder since his offensive numbers are not consistent with a corner outfielder.

  3. November 25, 2013 at 7:24 am

    It’s really sad that this is the type of player the Mets are targeting. They are acting like the A’s or Rays but just not as smart. This also makes it look highly doubtful they will sign Drew to play short. It’s looking more and more likely that Tejada will be the Mets shortstop this year…

  4. November 25, 2013 at 7:44 am

    Maybe the Mets figured this would be Tejada’s bounce back year and save them payroll for another 4th outfielder. And if that’s the case then I would not be shocked to see Ike Davis at first base then.

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