After passing his physical, the Mets officially announced the signing of our new rightfielder Chris Young this afternoon.
“Chris has had a distinguished career to this point and we think with regular playing time we think he can return to his all-star caliber performance,” GM Sandy Alderson said.
“He’s a tremendous defensive outfielder, brings some power, the approach we’re looking for offensively and some speed on the bases.”
Alderson said that Young could bat anywhere from 5-7 in the lineup.
Young said he spoke to David Wright multiple times on the phone before signing with the Mets, so credit the Captain for helping the Mets to land this sought after player who was being pursued by the Cubs, Giants, Royals and Red Sox before he decided to sign with the Mets..
Young Is Exactly Who We Think He Is
If you’ve read anything I’ve written here, you know that I try my best to support this organization in their decisions. I’m a fan of the team – I supported Minaya to the end, I will support Alderson to the end. Why? Because if I’m gonna be a fan of a team, I’m doing it with the mindset that in order for me to be happy – I need the men who make decisions to succeed.
Ever since Chris Young signed, there seems to be an onslaught of opinions being tossed around. I tried to look at them all, and come up with as informed a decision as I could as to whether or not I liked the acquisition.
This move brought to the forefront the one thing I cannot stand about sabermetrics. At times, people use it as a way to polish a turd. It’s not used to say “let’s look at just how good this guy is,” but merely “let’s look to see if it’s as bad as people really think?” It’s almost at times used in a way a publicist might react in a crisis situation.
“Oh no! The Mets just signed a borderline terrible outfielder, quick – find some numbers that will divert everybody’s eyes!”
That is what is happening, and that is why I cannot stand sabermetrics sometimes.
Chris Young is often being compared to the 2013 Marlon Byrd. I find this comical because what NOBODY could have predicted would happen in Byrd – everybody is seemingly predicting will happen for Young. We saw one fluke season from a corner outfielder, so hey why can’t it happen twice in a row? Because if you know anything about flukes – they are often consistent, right?
This isn’t to say Young has no positive attributes. I recognize he has some speed, some defensive ability and what I’d consider borderline power. That isn’t the problem.
The problem is, this signing says two things to your average Mets fans.
#1 Chris Young is our starting corner outfielder that we desperately needed. Oh by the way, he is a center fielder.
#2 This contract was done with the “just in case” mindset of, “If we’re terrible in 2014 but he bounces back – we can always trade him.”
This idea that they are finding “undervalued” talent to me is exhausting. $7.5million for a below average outfielder is overpaying for his talent – so calling him undervalued is ridiculous.
I’ve also heard conspiracy theories that this signing was done because of potential bad press for the Mets lack of signings so far this off-season. I don’t buy into that at all. Can’t they just make a poor decision without some other motives for that decision? No GM is ever going to be right about every player – they aren’t signing Chris Young because some fans are calling up WFAN complaining – they signed him because they think he’s going to be better than he has been for years.
What really grinds my gears about this move is that I would bet the majority of people who are in favor of Chris Young, are the same people who were against Jeff Francoeur. Francoeur had a great 2009 with the Mets, had his detractors but they really unleashed the fury in 2010. Francoeur in 2010 is very comparable to Chris Young in 2013.
I do not need a bunch of charts to tell me that Chris Young as a starting outfielder is a bad idea. That doesn’t mean it won’t work – bad ideas work at times.
But, that doesn’t mean we should be happy when a bad idea is put into place. For starters, many Arizona fans believe Chris Young hasn’t been the same player (which isn’t saying a lot) since a shoulder injury in 2012 when he crashed into the wall. Great, because if there is one thing Mets fans know all too well it’s that players who have declined due to injury always bounce back for the Mets (right?).
Chris Young is terrible against right handed pitching, he benefited from playing in Arizona, and he’s had 2 good years and five below average years. As Bill Parcells once famously said, “you are what your record says you are.”
We can use whatever advanced stats we want to make ourselves feel better about the fact that Chris Young, as of now is one of our starting outfielders – but sometimes the eye test is valid too. Young has been a below average hitter for the majority of his career – and right now he is a starting outfielder for the 2014 Mets. That’s all you need to know.