As I’m sure you’re all aware of by now, the Mets resigned pitcher Chris Young to a minor league deal earlier this week. While signing Young will always come with a great dealk of risk, the reward could possibly outweigh the risk here. (Yet once again.)

Considering the rotation is full of question marks, signing Young was done to bolster depth with the hope that Young can get past his surgically repaired shoulder (a torn anterior capsule in his shoulder- the same injury Johan Santana is recovering from) and contribute something. Of course, even something is a lot to hope for.

Young is the textbook definition of injury-prone.

Young has only made 40 starts in the last four seasons due to an assortment of injuries. Last year for the Mets, Young made only four starts, but those outings showed promise. In those four starts in which he pitched 24 innings, Young allowed only five earned five runs on 12 hits and 11 walks. Even more impressive was the fact that Young struck out 22 batters.

Talent has never been the issue with Young. It’s just been about staying healthy. Young and GM Sandy Alderson have had a history together and for whatever reason, Alderson has a reasonable amount of trust in Young.

It’s not at all likely that when and if Young comes back this season that he’ll contribute all that much (or at least be counted on to). But considering the dearth of pitching options available (outside of a real expensive option like a Roy Oswalt), Young seemed like a logical option to gamble on.

If the Mets can’t rely on the five starters ticked for the rotation (Johan Santana, Mike Pelfrey, Dillon Gee, R.A. Dickey and Jon Niese) then they will be in some trouble. If that were to happen the Mets would then have to rely on Young (when he would be healthy enough to pitch), Miguel Batista and Chris Schwinden.

The Mets’ front office is almost certainly not going to rely on any of its young arms like a Matt Harvey or Jeurys Familia to help with depth. The Mets’ brass realizes Harvey and Familia (not to mention Zack Wheeler) both need seasoning and rushing them up to the majors would be a hindrance on their growth.

Granted he is able to throw, and even if he is not 100 percent, Young still is more of an upgrade over the likes of Schwinden and Batista. Young has shown in the past that his stuff, while not electric, is albeit deceiving. Batista has proven nothing more than being a stopgap option while the upside with Schwinden is very limited.

With many thinking this season will be a lost cause, the signing of Young makes sense as he should serve as a great placeholder before the Mets think about turning the reins over to the likes of Harvey and Familia.

As long as the Mets can stay relatively healthy for the first month or so, then Young could become a valuable asset when he is ready to start pitching again. With not a lot of risk riding on the Mets this year, they were more within their bounds to take another chance on Young.

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One comment on “Chris Young: A risk worth taking (again)?

  • Brian Joura

    Last year I thought the risk-reward equation was out of whack with Young – that there was too much risk since we were counting on him to be one of our starting five. But as a guy to call up as an injury replacement? I think that’s the proper role for him. Anything he gives the Mets this year is a bonus, so I’m glad they re-signed him.

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