Over this past weekend, Chris Young was booed by his hometown fans. That needs to stop.
Let’s get something out of the way. Young has been terrible this year, but what did we all expect? Young has been in decline the last four seasons, so was there any real reason to expect that this year would be a bounce back for him? Marlon Byrd bounced back last year, but Byrd’s 2012 season was a weird anomaly in his career and not a long term, slow decline. Some baseball players have shorter primes and fade earlier than others. Young appears to be one of those players, so it might be that the Mets got him when he finally ran out of gas, but is that Young’s fault?
Let’s be honest with ourselves. Young is being booed because he represents the failure of the system, not the individual. Young is working hard out there, everyone can see that. He’s trying, but he just doesn’t have anything left in him. That’s not his fault. He’s not overweight or not working hard on the field. He’s just an athlete with fading skills, someone that Mother Nature is no longer providing with the elite talent that made him one of the few to not only make it to the major leagues, but make an impact at the major leagues.
But let’s get real here. Young didn’t offer himself a 7.25 million dollar contract. He didn’t jump the gun on the offseason and present himself with a lot of money. Young wasn’t the one who prioritized trying to trade a first baseman and attempt to acquire a shortstop while getting his free agent signings done early. All of that was done by Sandy Alderson, with the agreement of Fred and Jeff Wilpon.
We’re booing because we’d love to see Nelson Cruz manning left field and leading the national league in home run’s and RBI instead of the American League. We would rather have Michael Morse for 1.25 million dollars less, platooning with Lucas Duda and lumbering around left field as he has a return to form offensive season. But that’s not Young’s fault. Young didn’t cause Morse to have the worst offensive season of his career last year, nor did Young make Morse a terrible outfielder. Young didn’t give Cruz PED’s. He also didn’t offer Cruz a qualifying offer or act as Cruz’s agent and request a four year deal for most of the winter. It’s not Young’s fault that those two players are more successful than he is this year and all on similar one year deal contracts.
The Mets front office made a poor decision last year when the signed Young early in the offseason and didn’t at least try and wait out Cruz. But that’s not Young’s fault and we have to stop making him the scapegoat.