Chris Young: Is he deja vu all over again?

Chris YoungThere’s an old saying, “those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it”. It seems that while watching the 2014 version of the New York Mets, that management hasn’t learned that lesson.

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.

16 comments for “Chris Young: Is he deja vu all over again?

  1. Joe Gomes
    July 31, 2014 at 9:16 am

    The right move would be to release CY and Abreu and bring up den Dekker and Capt. Kirk. Do I expect them to do this? no, they are to set on their losing ways.

  2. Reese Kaplan
    July 31, 2014 at 9:49 am

    Wait, let me get this straight…you’re advocating more playing time for players who have proven to be mediocre at best — Nieuwenhuis and Young, Jr. — with the rationale that they need to play to get into a groove. There’s a certain infielder sitting on the bench night after night who posted Cabrera-like numbers in AAA who can’t sniff a start.

    The problem is with the guy filling out the lineup card whose record got worse from year one to year two, got his option picked up, then finished the same in year three and got a contract extension.

    Editor’s Note – Please do not capitalize words in your post, as it is a violation of our Comment Policy.

    • Eraff
      July 31, 2014 at 12:01 pm

      I believe Kirk and/or DenDecker should be on the etam rather than CY and/or Abreu.

      Both guys can run, they have some LH pop…they can play CF…. they are cheap and controlled. They are by definition 4/5 OF’ers.

      I’d like to allow these guys to define thenmselves.,…grow/show their ability, or Fail! They’re on the 40 man—they will definitely be subject to decisions in the off season. The guys who occupy those two final bench slots right now are pretty much useless in the roles they’re being asked to fill. So, whay the objection to dumping Abreu and CY and bringing in Kirk and Den Decker—or one of them?

      If Kirk or DD will have any career, it will now be established as a 4/5 guy to start–may as well start trying it….a non-lose proposition!

      This is more an argument for the entire process than a Stamp of Approval for either DD or Kirk…. they still have development possibilities, and some of it can only happen at the MLB level.

  3. Metsense
    July 31, 2014 at 11:47 am

    At the time of his demotion, Kirk Nieuwenhuis had a year to date slash line of 328/509/837 which was second on the team in OPS. In the last 30 days he has an OPS of .780 and against RHP an OPS of .851 for the year. Kirk is capable of playing all three outfield positions and could also be used as a pinch runner. I would replace Abreu with Kirk and start him as part of a left field platoon.
    Kirk’s platoon partner should be Campbell not CY. Campbell has an OPS of .811 vs CY’s .548 against LHP. This would mean the first base platoon would be abandoned.
    I realize that CY has finally got hot but I think it would be more worthwhile to platoon Kirk and Soup to see if they could be significant bench players in 2015 and quite frankly more productive 2014 players than CY.
    Frank, a very interesting analogy between CY and Bay and the inability of management to recognize a poor choice.

    • July 31, 2014 at 1:53 pm

      The difference is that Young is only crappy on a game-by-game basis: he’s never been looked at as a long-term solution to anything. He’s only signed for this year and his $7.5 million will definitely be off the books in 2015, without all the “will-he-or-won’t-he?” attached to Bay.

  4. July 31, 2014 at 2:52 pm

    I think releasing Chris Young and 40 year old Bobby A is the right thing to do. There is little chance that Kirk and Matt D D would do any worse.

    We need to give them a chance, as well as other youngsters.

    There is no reason to have CY or BA in the line up, other than to justify the signings. They are not going to be part our future and our future looks very bright. We should be playing for 2015 by this point, barring a massive winning streak and a collapse of the division.

    We should be giving more time to Wilmer Flores. The time we finally gave to Duda has worked out. As much as EY is fun to watch on the base paths, he does not appear to get on base. He is not the answer.

    Since CY is not the answer, why play him?

    I don’t understand how someone could possibly get this many plate appearances while coming so very close to batting under .200. I grasp the contract issue, and saving Sandy Alderson’s face, but I don’t understand it regarding baseball sense.

    Sometimes it sounds like Terry Collins is saying that there is nothing Flores could ever do to get playing time because “we, I, you have to win now” (Collins drives me nutty with his pronoun butchery).

    If Sandy is calling the line up, fire Collins and have Sandy put on a uniform or…

    let each man do his own job.

    • pablo
      August 1, 2014 at 1:01 pm

      I agree with everything said about giving young talent a chance. How do you know what they can or can’t do without substantial consistent playing time? It’s clear the team has only a very small chance of getting into the playoffs, so why not give as many young players that have worked so hard for so long an opportunity to prove themselves? If you don’t try, you don’t get. How are we going to ever know what they can or can’t accomplish?

  5. Patrick Albanesius
    July 31, 2014 at 4:54 pm

    Good article. The main difference, as mentioned, is that CY is only here for a year. Without anyone asking about him at the deadline, it’s likely he’s just being bled out to see if there is any spark left. I don’t see him entering September on the Mets. Probably same goes for Abreu.

  6. Julian
    July 31, 2014 at 5:24 pm

    I have to disagree with the statement that this is “deja vu.” I am not disagreeing with the fact that Chris Young has been beyond terrible and he deserves to get the boot, but we should look at this from the perspective of Sandy Alderson.

    Before Chris Young came Marlon Byrd and before Byrd were Scott Hairston and Willie Harris. The Mets, and Sandy Alderson in particular, have a recent history of turning slumping 30-year old outfielders out of irrelevance and into a semi-spotlight. Alderson and Co. thought that they could pull it off once again with Young. The reason that this signing looks like a catastrophe is because it is worth 7.25 million dollars, if it were for only maybe 3-4 million then Mets fans wouldn’t be freaking out as much. My guess as too why this contract is so large is because there was probably a semi-bidding war with another team and the Mets just wanted to solidify the outfield.

    Another quick note, no one should be pulling the Nelson Cruz card just because he has hit that many homers. Cruz would have never come anywhere close to that total at Citi Field.

    • Eraff
      July 31, 2014 at 10:22 pm

      Cruz is on a one yr deal to prove his value for a bigger longer deal. Citi would have been the last place he would choose with such a one year proposition

  7. Rob
    July 31, 2014 at 8:44 pm

    I also want to see Den Decker and Capt. Kirk in the outfield soon. They have shown to be better then Abreau and C Young (definitely their potential is also better then a 220 line, as they have given us more then that). Lets also give Flores more time so we can see what he can do. Lets stop talking about trades and let our young players show their stuff. On the same line, we are starting to get some of our prospects stalled by what is above them. Lets open up some room……….

  8. Chris
    July 31, 2014 at 9:54 pm

    Red Sox made an offer to Bay after the season. It had some medical contingencies. 3 years guaranteed with a fourth based on staying healthy. They had also negotiated with him somewhat high profile during the season. So to say they bid against nobody is a bit of a stretch. Easy to look back now, but at the time he was coming off of a 36 hr and 119 RBI season.

  9. TexasGusCC
    July 31, 2014 at 10:42 pm

    The problem with the Mets front office is a combination of too much ego and too little savvy. They try to hit a homerun on every trade they make, instead of looking to improve the team with each deal. Further, the players like Chris Young or last year Rick Ankiel are kept here by the love their idiot manager has for veterans and this blocks the youngsters.

    Notice how Dan Uggla was cut after 12 at bats by the Giants? Would the Mets have cut him so quickly? Doubtful. They would force feed him to “improve his value”.

  10. TexasGusCC
    July 31, 2014 at 11:06 pm

    Also, what losing ball club looks to sign so many players past their prime?

  11. Eric Kench
    August 1, 2014 at 9:46 am

    How could they bench the NL stolen base leader in favor of a player hitting .200? It make’s no sense! What’s Collins doing?

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