For example, in December of 2009, the Mets outbid no one in order to overpay for a solid defensive corner outfielder that was supposed to have a big bat too. That player is Jason Bay.
Bay stayed in New York for three years, crashed into walls and endured a barrage of boos night after night for his inability to get his offense going. He did this all while collecting close to $43m in his time here and another $21m after he’s been gone for two years. What did the Mets have to show for this $64m? A batting average of ,258 with 26 home runs, 124 RBI and 128 runs scored in 288 games played.
He also brought energy, hustle, a positive example and a winning smile to New York. The problem is that it cost $64m! He battled injury after nagging injury and found himself in and out of the lineup due to poor production. In the end, the team had to part ways with him and his massive contract in November of 2012 in order to make room for younger players with higher upside.
Fast forward just one year later. November of 2013, the Mets signed a corner outfielder to a $7.25m contract. This outfielder was supposed to strengthen the lineup and make hitters like Lucas Duda and David Wright more dangerous in the heart of the order. Instead, he is batting .205 with eight home runs, 27 RBI and 29 runs scored in 81 games. The outfielder in question is Chris Young.
He has battled injury while finding himself in the role of a platoon player due to his poor offense. He wields a solid glove and is seemingly well liked in the clubhouse. Does any of this sound familiar? Management is more than halfway through another Jason Bay experience on a smaller scale.
Meanwhile, they send a young player like Kirk Nieuwenhuis down to the minors and let the speed of Eric Young Jr cool down on the bench. Both are players that need at bats to get themselves into a groove. Chris Young has had chance after chance to get into a groove. He has yet to really do so.
Perhaps it’s time for the team to trust their homegrown position players. After all, they trust pitchers at nausea. Even to the point of watching them implode and costing the team a game multiple times. Yet, a Kirk Nieuwenhuis or a Matt Den Dekker can’t get a legitimate chance or an extended look due to the $7.25m price tag attached to the baseball cap of Chris Young.
If the team really wants to make a statement this trade deadline, they’ll eat that contract and cut him loose or, better yet, arrange a trade regardless of what little they would get back. Give the young talent a chance to shine in the latter months of the season. Maybe then the team won’t collapse so quickly.
The players must have a chance to apply what they’ve learned from their mistakes of past years. Management needs to be honest with themselves and the fans and admit to the mistakes of the present tenure. They need to recognize when it’s time to move on from the old ways and let the talent that they drafted mature completely at the Major League level.
Then, and only then, will this team really be embracing the youth movement. That vote of confidence may be just what the youth on the roster need.