Mets Land Bargain in Chris Young

Before free agency began, I ran down five potential bargains that I thought had a good chance to be worth more than the contracts that the FanGraphs Crowd projected them to sign for this winter. On that list was Chris Young — the outfield version — who the crowd forecast for $7 million per year over two years. Today, the Mets have signed for him $7 million for a single year, and I continue to believe that this will likely go down as one of the best free agent signings of the off-season.

It is very easy to focus on Young’s warts. He hit just .200/.280/.379 last year. He doesn’t hit right-handed pitching all that well. Now 30, his defense probably isn’t what it used to be. These statements are all true, but they simply explain why Young was signing for 1/$7M instead of 5/$75M like B.J. Upton last winter. If Young was coming off a good year, and had historically better numbers against right-handed pitching, and was still in his defensive prime, he’d be signing a big money long term deal. For 1/$7M, you get warts. You just pick and choose which warts you’re okay with.

And the particular warts that Chris Young comes with are the kinds of warts worth trying to buy low on. Yes, he had a bad 2013 season, but his track record before last year shows a league average hitter with a consistent skillset. In order to try and maximize his power, he hits a crazy number of fly balls. He takes some walks and gives up some strikeouts in the process. The combination of low contact rates and high fly ball rates means that he’s going to post very low batting averages, but the walks keep the OBP respectable and the occasional home runs mean that he’s still contributing while hitting .230.

None of that changed last year. He still hit for power, drew walks, struck out, and hit fly balls. However, he posted a .237 BABIP that was the lowest of his career, so his wRC+ fell from 98 to 82. Other than that, he was basically the same hitter he’s always been, and while BABIP for hitters isn’t entirely random, there’s no reason to expect him to sustain a career low. Steamer projects him to post a .269 BABIP in 2014, a little below his career average, and that bump would push him right back to league average hitter status.

League average hitters who can also play the outfield pretty well and add some baserunning value are nifty pieces. Yes, Young’s league average hitting comes with a larger than usual platoon split, but he offers enough non-hitting value to still be worth putting in the line-up against right-handers, and the overall production matters more than how it is distributed. Observed platoon splits need to be fairly heavily regressed when projecting the future anyway, so one should not simply accept that Young is a part-time player at this point in his career. He’s more valuable against LHPs, but handing him a regular job is completely justifiable.

Because the Mets already have Juan Lagares, there’s a good chance that Young will spend a decent amount of time in a corner outfield spot. Traditionally, the thought has been that you want bats in the corners and defense up the middle, but that false dichotomy is falling away as teams realize that defense matters at all positions, and you can still extract value from a good glove player in a corner. While Young’s bat doesn’t stack up as well compared to LF/RF types, his defensive abilities don’t disappear when he’s not playing center field, and the diminishing returns of playing multiple center fielders side by side are overstated.

Steamer projects Young for +1.7 WAR over just 434 plate appearances, so the forecasting system actually believes Young is a slightly above average big league player. Because of his platoon splits, you can’t extrapolate his entire value over 434 PA out to 600 PA, but there’s nothing wrong with giving Chris Young a regular job and letting him play most days. And for $7 million, getting a roughly average regular OF is a nifty little bargain indeed.

Last year, Cody Ross – same basic overall skillset, though with less defensive chops — got $26 million over three years. Ryan Ludwick, another average hitting RHB without as much defensive value, got $15 million over two years. Even Jonny Gomes, strictly a lefty masher who should probably DH, got $10 million over two years. For the Mets to land Young with only a single year commitment, even though he projects to be better than guys who got more money for more years, makes this a pretty great little deal. If Young has a big bounce back season, they can either flip him for prospects at the deadline or potentially extend a qualifying offer next winter, and maybe reap a draft pick as reward for their faith in his skills.

Young isn’t a sexy addition, but this is the kind of solid low cost move that smart teams are making these days. If you just focus on what Young can’t do, you’ll ignore the fact that what he can do has value, and $7 million for what he brings to the table is one of the off-season’s better bargains.




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Dave is a co-founder of USSMariner.com and contributes to the Wall Street Journal.


121 Responses to “Mets Land Bargain in Chris Young”

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  1. Zach says:

    I could see this deal and Josh Johnson being the best two deals of the offseason

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    • Blair Schirmer says:

      1/7 for an average (really, a platoon) regular is one of ‘the best two deals of the offseason’? That’s a pretty sad offseason.

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  2. Mark says:

    For a regular (non-bench) player, is it ever considered beneficial to have a large platoon split?

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    • Sylvan says:

      It can be bad because it makes you vulnerable to strategic pen use in the late innings.

      But you could turn that around by batting him between two bopping lefties, so that he’ll get to face more than his fair share of LOOGYs.

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  3. Nate G says:

    One year too many.

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  4. Shankbone says:

    The best part is the one year deal. The Mets were able to leverage the players belief in himself. Good job on that. Did they promise him full time work? Young strikes out at a pretty good rate though. If they do play him full time the BA will be pretty brutal. I thought there would be more demand for him, forcing a 2 year deal, but obviously he wants to prove it on the short term. The Moneyball Mets!

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    • Balthazar says:

      This is all predicated upon a conclusion that Chris Young has not entered his decline. His track record is worth the bet, I’m not arguing against somebody taking a chance, especially for a roster spot not projected as full-time. Still, the under on his projection is ‘out of baseball by August.’ It was significant to me that the 2013 As acquired him for his peripherals, sat him down when those didn’t arrive in Oakland, and let him walk. Yeah, $s were maybe the biggest part of that.

      Young is a high risk, though, even at moderate money. This is the kind of deal that looks ‘smart’ if he hits, and is immediately forgotten if he doesn’t—but that shouldn’t be forgotten in trying to establish, over the course of years, whether these kind of ‘buy the decliner’s peripherals’ kind of deals really do pay off with any regularity. To me, most of them DON’T, but it would be interesting to see a real study of that; the facts might prove otherwise.

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  5. Bobby Ayala says:

    You lost me at “Chris Young is a league-average hitter.” I see no evidence over the course of his career to back that up.

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    • wattts? says:

      wRC+ is 94 for his career.
      2010: 109
      2011: 102
      2012: 98
      2013: 82

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    • JayT says:

      MLB average over the course of his career:
      .259/.326/.408

      Chris Young’s career:
      .235/.315/.431

      Young loses batting average in favor of power, and he did play most of his career in a hitter-friendly park, but he’s certainly still within 10% of league average.

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    • TheBigStapler says:

      His career wRC+ is 94 (96 over the past 3 years) so he’s slightly below but I wouldn’t say it’s misleading to call him a league average hitter.

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    • Bobby Ayala says:

      I’m curious how his numbers match up to the average among guys making $7 million next year

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      • JayT says:

        Here is a list of guys that made between $6 and $8 million this year, and were signed as free agents (keep in mind that Michael Bourn’s AAV is $12, but his contract was heavily backloaded):

        Melky Cabrera 0.279/0.322/0.360/0.682
        Edwin Encarnacion 0.272/0.370/0.534/0.904
        A.J. Pierzynski 0.272/0.297/0.425/0.722
        Russell Martin 0.226/0.327/0.377/0.703
        Rafael Furcal 0.000/0.000/0.000/0.000
        Jason Kubel 0.216/0.293/0.317/0.610
        Juan Uribe 0.278/0.331/0.438/0.769
        Josh Willingham 0.208/0.342/0.368/0.709
        Coco Crisp 0.261/0.335/0.444/0.779
        Michael Bourn 0.263/0.316/0.360/0.676
        Jeff Francoeur 0.204/0.238/0.298/0.536
        Marco Scutaro 0.297/0.357/0.369/0.726
        Ichiro Suzuki 0.262/0.297/0.342/0.639
        John Buck 0.219/0.285/0.362/0.648
        Todd Helton 0.249/0.314/0.423/0.738
        Mark Reynolds 0.220/0.306/0.393/0.699
        Jhonny Peralta 0.303/0.358/0.457/0.815
        Cody Ross 0.278/0.331/0.413/0.745

        Going down that list, the only guys that were significantly better hitters than Young has been in his career are:
        Edwin Encarnacion (signed three years ago, before his breakout)
        Juan Uribe (his contract was the butt of many a joke until this year, he wasn’t that much better than Young has been throughout his career)
        Coco Crisp (Had a career year)
        Jhonny Peralta (was signed as a free agent after a terrible year, and it was three years ago)

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  6. Danny says:

    I just think he would have been a better fit on a team that needed a CF for one season. This team needs two legitimate corner OF bats. I don’t see CY as one. His defense wasn’t all that great in LF in 2013(SSS I know) but still.

    If they can get a platoon partner to share the playing time with I’ll like it more.

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  7. LaLoosh says:

    forget the QO next winter. that’s a pipe dream. The issue here is that the Mets need solutions, not more 1 yr patches. If they really believed in this guy, they should have given him a 2 or 3 yr deal.

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    • Mike says:

      I think the Mets realize that solutions to their corner outfield deficit do not exist, at least not in free agency.

      Now if a real solution pops up in a year or two they can take action. If they sign someone like Nelson Cruz they’re stuck.

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      • LaLoosh says:

        re: FA, I agree. They haven’t been active in trade mkt except when they have a 35 yo in a contract yr. Time to get active.

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        • senor_mike says:

          I expect you may get your wish soon, considering that the Mets now have something of a surplus of two very valuable MLB commodities; those being young power RH pitching, and defensively gifted CFs.

          In other words, they now have enough quality, yet expendable pieces to actually be a player in the trade market.

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  8. jruby says:

    I’m pretty ambivalent towards this, maybe slightly towards the “good move” side. I definitely think this is about right in terms of salary, and I was somewhat surprised it was only one year. If he can keep drawing walks, snag 10 SBs again, and get back to some plus defense, his bat is very likely to play well enough justify this.

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  9. vivalajeter says:

    There are about 1,500 comments on metsblog about this signing, and almost all of them are of the “the world’s about to end!” variety. I happen to think it’s a good signing – more money than I thought he’d get 3 weeks ago, but in line with my expectations after seeing what other players have received lately – but from what I’ve read, I wouldn’t be shocked if he’s booed on opening day.

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    • JAMill says:

      Metsblog commenters are visceral in their reaction to everything, nothing short of swapping Bobby Parnell for Giancarlo Stanton would be good enough, and even then they would bemoan, “We got rid of a quality closer for an injury prone guy!”

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    • Franco says:

      Metsblog is the equivalent of sports radio callers. The other Mets sites are somewhere between this being a non event to loving the move.

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    • Silvio says:

      MMO is filled with the people who were kicked out of Metsblog for being the worst of the worst. Kind of like the prison of Mets commenters. Chris Young is already being called every name in the book. Poor guy. Solid player.

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  10. Joe says:

    Huge mets fan, but your delirious if you think this is going to be on the best bargains. We have 25-30 million to spend this offseason and we just wasted about 25% of our budget and a career 230 hitter. WI was a huge fan of the signing until i herd how much they were paying him. I would be all for it is the signing was for 3-4 million and he would be a platoon player. Another typical Mets both, finding the cheap way out. I hope I am wrong but I dont not see this as being anywhere near a bargain.

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    • attgig says:

      yes, only focus on his batting average and call it a bad signing. welcome to metsblog….oh wait, this is fangraphs.

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      • Joe says:

        Explain to me how this is a good signing? And how can you not focus on his BA?He is not a 7M/yr player. Simple as that.

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        • nico says:

          Probably because batting average tells only a very small part of the story. He draws walks, hits for power, runs well, and plays solid defense. The inflated prices that have been the hallmark of this off-season indicate that he’s worth every cent.

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        • Zen Madman says:

          I think Dave just explained to you why it’s a good signing, if you read the article.

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        • Joe says:

          He draws walks yet its OBP is still only .320

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        • Nick says:

          Do you know what BABIP is?

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        • Joe says:

          Yes, last year his BABIP was below is career norms. But for his career his OBP is actually only .315.

          Last 4 years OBP:

          2010:.341
          2011:.331
          2012:.311
          2013: .280

          And thats considered a bargain. We have two guys on the team Murphy and Davis who have similiar OBP and they wanna trade these guys. COMBINED they make what we just gave chris young!

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    • vivalajeter says:

      LOL, I guess you’re one of the people who came over from metsblog?

      Every team would be all for it if he was signed for 3-4 million, and that’s why he got more than that. This season though, you’ll have trouble getting a 7th inning reliever for much less than that. Young put up, what, about 10 WAR from 2010-2012? If he puts up 2 WAR this year, it’s not a bad deal.

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      • stevenam says:

        vivalajeter, your condescending attitude is quite becoming of a yankees fan like yourself. Mets fans hate this deal because Young is coming off TWO down years, after only having about 1.5-2 good years in his entire career! And even in those years his OPS was sub .800. He consistently strikes out 20+% of the time, and is among league leaders in infield popups. He was a 20/20 guy once upon a time. Last couple years, not even a 10/10 guy. Waste of $7M. And this from the team that couldn’t keep Hawkins? Terrible signing.

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        • vivalajeter says:

          He put up 2.5 WAR in 2012, and that was despite being hurt and only playing in 100 games. It was a down year compared to 2010-2011, but it was still good enough for this contract. Last year was the first time since 2009 that he wouldn’t have been worth a 1 year, $7MM contract.

          I’m not a Yankees fan, but I think everybody would have a condescending attitude after spending more than 3 minutes reading comments on Metsblog.

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    • Griffin C says:

      I agree with you Joe – his BA and OBP are historically bad and more recently awful. When he played outside of CF last year he had a negative dWAR. Not saying he is suddenly a bad fielder but his chance to impact a game with his glove/arm are significantly dimished in LF or RF, so it’s not really relevant how strong he has previously fielded. And just from a strategic point of view: what is the true purpose of signing him to one year – when in that year the Mets best player is out and the majority of their talent is still a year or two from being good? What Sandy is probably trying to do is trade CY in the summer
      for prospects or undervalued players. Not a bad plan and he’s certainly had success doing this but it means we need to continue to be patient. Let’s be honest Madoff reverted us to the As and we need to take what we can get.

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      • vivalajeter says:

        Griffin, I’m curious where you see that he had negative dWAR outside of CF. When I go to his player page and look at his #’s in RF, I see UZR/150 of +18.7 (and a negative number for his time in CF). I also see a positive number in LF.

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        • eltorostrikesagain says:

          WAR is not the end of every story. How about how much he is worth over actual replacement, Juan Lagares. Lagares/Matt den dekker are both plus defensive CF’s (albeit with questionable bats) already under contract for the minimum for next season. Is it worth a quarter of your budget to have a guy who you are basically hedging bets with?

          Everyone is pointing out WAR WAR WAR, if he puts up 2 WAR he’s worth his contract etc..

          By saying this you are taking all of the context out of the discussion. 1 – His contract being around 25% of the Mets’ budget. 2 – players making the minimum on already on the roster who could conceivably return the same WAR.

          Dismissing anybody who doesn’t like this deal as a Mike Francesa caller is very narrow-minded. Maybe he’s worth 7.5 million to a team that can pay Johnny Gomes 10 mil/2 years. That team is a totally different team in a totally different situation however.

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        • Griffin C says:

          Last year with the A’s he played all three outfield positions and posted a -0.7 dWAR. I hadn’t looked into UZR – interesting metric.

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      • Loop D says:

        David Wright is the best Met.

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  11. Kenz says:

    Love it. A league average hitter with good defense and baserunning, coming off a down year. This is basically the Shane Victorino signing, except Young is two years younger. Sure, the Mets need offense, but look what happens to centerfielders’ defensive numbers when moved to a corner spot while still in their relative prime; Victorino, Brett Gardner, to name a few, have stellar numbers in the corners.

    Perhaps this opens the window for Alderson to sign Young’s former teammate, Stephen Drew? As a Mets fan, I can only hope.

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    • nik says:

      No, this is nothing like Shane Victorino who is a superior player in every way.

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      • Kenz says:

        Better? Yes. Superior? Only as a hitter. The spirit of the signing is the same, but instead of 3 years and $39 mil, it’s 1 year and $7.25 mil. People can bemoan the fact that this represents a quarter of the Mets’ offseason budget, or they can realize they still have over $20 mil to spend on a shortstop and another corner outfielder. At this point, there’s no reason for the Mets to be spending anything on a bullpen, except signing a bunch of minor league free agents to stash in Triple-A if needed.

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        • ReuschelCakes says:

          Well, Victorino has 3 +10 battin RC seasons (09, 11, 13) and Young has zero.

          Victorino has consistently added value baserunning and Young has really only 1 season where he has…

          Fielding seems like a push – with SV having 2 +10 RC seasons and Young 2 (albeit at a younger age.)

          The result is that SV has been a 3-5.5 WAR player for the past 7 seasons and CY has only been there in 2010 and 2011….

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        • Noah says:

          Not to mention they can trade Murphy to get some pieces as well and put Tejada at second base.

          I just wonder what Murphy and Davis would bring back in a trade, possibly packaged with Wilmer Flores and Rafael Montero. Would that bring back a premier hitter?

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  12. tcnjsteve says:

    I think Mets fans are angry because of the salary. We are spoiled by the Byrd signing for 700,000 last year. Also, with only 30 million to spend this off-season, it is a bit of a surprise to see a quarter of that spend on a player coming off a very poor season.

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    • Joe says:

      Exactly. 25% of our budget on Chris Young is insane.

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      • nico says:

        The Mets are not two players away. Spending the entirety of the off-season budget on, say, Peralta and Granderson? That would be insane.

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      • Bip says:

        If your budget is only 30 million, how are you going to use that so much more efficiently than Young? Where are the players who will make a substantial improvement to your team who won’t also take a substantial chunk out of that limit?

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        • Paul Wilson says:

          Jeff Francouer

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        • birdnation says:

          “if” the mets have this magic number of 30 mil. sandy said it would be higher than 87. harper said it would be close to 87 but not more (hence the 30 number) than took the statement back the next day. plus this 30 million number doesnt include the possible subtraction of ike and murphy, they could take on 40 million and shed 10? stop trying to guess the financials of crooked owners and careful to leak front offices, you’ll probably be wrong.

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    • harmony55 says:

      Look at Steamer’s 2014 WAR projections for Chris Young and Marlon Byrd, then look at their respective free agent contracts this offseason. The Mets may have gotten a steal.

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  13. coldseat says:

    “If Young was coming off a good year, and had historically better numbers against right-handed pitching, and was still in his defensive prime, he’d be signing a big money long term deal. For 1/$7M, you get warts.”….well if Marlon Byrd was Babe Ruth, he’d be signing a billion dollar contract…

    $7/mil for one year is not bad, but I’ve actually watched Chris Young play over the last 2 years & he looks about done. But maybe the Mets hit big like they did with Byrd last year, but I doubt it. As $7 mil is not exactly nothing (unlike their Byrd signing), this move seems puzzling for where they are in their development.

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    • Wobatus says:

      He didn’t look done in 2012, he looked injured. He was about the hottest player in baseball in April 2012, then he ran into the wall in a game and had a deep shoulder bruise and ligament damage. He came back way too soon and couldn’t hit or throw. In 2013 you got a kinda worst case scenario line based on his skill set. Power suppressing park, extremely poor babip, etc. Citifield may not be the best fit for his game either, but you still need power, and he is young enough that I think this was a shot worth taking on a 1 year deal.

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  14. Cold Day in Hell says:

    I think this will go down as one of the worst signings this winter. He’s no longer in his “prime” as some have suggested, or if he is, he’s on the downside of his prime meaning he’s unlikely to match his 2011 breakout season. I’ve heard more than one scout say Young’s bat speed has materially diminished – which means I suspect he will continue to rack up the Ks and lead many Mets fans to bemoan Sandy for the signing.

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    • Zen Madman says:

      He doesn’t have to match his breakout season to be a value. He’s getting paid to produce like 1 win. If he’s league average, they’re paying him half what he’s worth. This signing doesn’t fix a lot of the Mets problems, but it’s a solid gamble.

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      • LaLoosh says:

        gamble on what? He may not outproduce Andrew Brown. It’s a low risk, low upside signing for which they got no discount, and apparently no options for future years if he does bounce back.

        So kind of the Mets to act as a stepping stone for Young. He has a good yr, he’ll hit the market in a yr and find a team willing to pay going rate for a 3 yr deal (read: not the Mets).

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        • Zen Madman says:

          If he has a good year then he’ll help them win games and/or they can trade him midseason. If he has an amazing season, then they get extend a QO. They’re paying him like he’s a 1-win player, but he has the capacity to perform like an above average starter. He might stink, but the projection is 1.7 wins. That’s a +EV gamble. It’s not a huge deal or anything but it’s like getting half a win for free.

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        • LaLoosh says:

          Mets extending a QO is a pipe dream. Young is very nearly damaged goods bc of shoulder issues since 2012. I don’t care that the Mets paid him 7M, but the point here is that this doesn’t get the Mets anywhere. They are on a treadmill of 1 yr deals while this was supposed to be the year that they were unshackled by payroll issues and they would be able to make some bigger player investments. This isn’t a good sign toward that plan.

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        • Bingo says:

          The Mets are several years away from being relevant. Especially with the status of Harvey up in the air.

          I don’t see how this signing is bad. There is some value to be gained here. And if Young does bounce back to earlier levels, you might gain a draft pick.

          What is the alternative for the Mets? Do you think Ellsbury would be enough to make them legitimate? Thats a pipe dream.

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    • Kenz says:

      That’s what people said about Shane Victorino. This signing is Victorino-lite, right down to the good 2011 seasons, except Young is three years younger. Walks, power, defense. 1 year. Good enough for me.

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    • nico says:

      Few things –

      1) 2010 was his breakout season, not 2011.

      2) It would be virtually impossible for a one-year/seven-million deal to be the worst signing of this or any off-season. He would basically need to hit into a double play at every at-bat and flub every ball hit his way to make a seven million dollar investment the worst move of the winter.

      3) His K rate was high last year, yes (24.8%), but it wasn’t even the highest of his career (which was 26.5%) and is pretty much in line with that of his career (22.9%). What’s more, his isolated power last year was only 17 points lower than his career average (.179 to .196). I don’t see any evidence to support a “diminished bat speed” theory.

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    • Bip says:

      A 1-year contract doesn’t have the capacity to be the worst signing. Because no matter how bad Young is, next year they’re of the hook. To label a 7 million total commitment the worst contract of the off-season is the definition of being overdramatic.

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    • jpg says:

      Mets fans have endured Jason Bay, Collin Cowgill, Mike Baxter, Rick Ankiel, Captain Kirk, and Andrew Brown the defensive misadventures of Lucas Duda, amongst others, the last few years. Young is basically Scott Hairston with the bat but takes more walks, plays better D, is a better base runner and stealer. He’s not perfect but would anybody prefer any of the above names?

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    • jruby says:

      It is almost literally impossible for a one-year, $7,000,000 deal to be one of the worst of the winter. There will be many signings this offseason that cost a team more than $7 mil in present-day value, which is what this deal costs the Mets if Young does absolutely nothing at all.

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  15. John says:

    I think as a Mets fan, what has me the most confused is looking at all the stats, including the advanced metrics, how is Chris Young any different than Ike Davis, who the Mets FO doesn’t want to pay ~$4 to, and can’t wait to get out of here. Sure his career is about half the plate appearances, but davis walks more often, strikes out about the same, has more power, and has more recently been more productive. That is the confusing thing. The Mets FO has been saying all along THIS is the offseason they make some changes. Then they say they have $25 million to spend. Then they use 1/3 of that on a player they already have and can pencil into their line-up for cheaper. If I am wrong, I am willing to listen, but in 1700+ ABs, ike has walked in 12%, k in 24%, ISO is .192, wOBA is .334 and wRC+ is 112. Young, who is 4 years older and is such a bargain is at 10%, 23%, .196, .325, and 94. Again, the Mets HAVE this player (at a lower cost!) and can’t wait to get rid of him. But THIS is a great, bargain signing? Sorry, even non-reactionary Mets fans who frequent fangraphs are not buying it.

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    • nico says:

      As a non-reactionary Mets fan who frequents Fangraphs, I disagree. Even if I grant you the premise that Davis is a better hitter (which I don’t, as last season’s career high in K% and career lows in…just about everything else would indicate that he’s a dead duck), you fail to take defense and baserunning into consideration. Davis is an okay baserunner and a defensive liability – Young is undeniably stronger in both of those aspects.

      And all of that is besides the fact that the Mets have a need of outfield talent, a logjam at first, and that Davis, for reasons beyond my grasp, apparently has some value as a trade chip.

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      • Joe says:

        Davis a defensive liability?!? That is so far from the truth.

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        • nico says:

          A career dWAR of -1.5 says liability to me.

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        • Bip says:

          @nico in defense of Davis, both fangraphs and b-ref factor positional adjustment into their defensive value ratings, so Davis is getting a deduction for being a first baseman. given that, he’s probably an above average first baseman, but he’s definitely still worse than Young, who has a well above average CF as recently as 2012.

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      • John says:

        So last year, at age 25, bc he posted career lows in a number of categories, he is a dead duck. BUT at age 29 (and thus leaving prime) an OF who also posted career lows at all stats is somehow a better bet to bounce back and not be a dead duck?

        Stats are the stats. They are the same hitter. Duda and Satin are not better hitters. Davis is not a liability at first, and the players they hope to replace him with ARE worse defensively than he is. Young is an ok corner outfielder but has been a bad centerfielder. And any stats person will tell you that we have a LONG WAY TO GO before you can really take any credence and make across position comparisons on defensive value. But thats ok, you hate Davis, as do most Mets fans. I just don’t understand how this, at a higher cost on the same length of contract, is such a great deal. This is your new every day outfielder. If that satisfies you, great, but for the same reasons you think Davis is terrible, that is why replacing Davis in the line-up with players (Duda and Satin) who are worse both offensively and defensively, and adding an outfielder who is the same kind of problem player the Mets FO complained about (too many strike outs) baffles me. Davis walked in over 15% of his plate appearances last season and his career avergae is over 12%. Chris Young have been declining over the past three years and is now entering past-prime years.

        My argument is the Mets need a major upgrade in the OF and at SS, and according to you, at 1B, not to mention holes in the rotation and bullpen. Given FA asking prices, using 1/3 of your offseason budget for a player who isn’t a major upgrade over players already on your roster for cheaper wise? I would argue no.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

        • Bip says:

          Welcome to free agency in 2013. I get that Young not an impact player, and that he is not the perfect fit for the Mets.

          But if you’re expecting to be able to get a better player for 7 million a year, then you’ve got another thing coming. 7 million is basically the price of a win now, and 1-WAR players are never much to look at.

          You said the Mets have about $30 million to spend this year. Well that will buy you about 1 impact player, and then you’re done for the year. The Mets certainly have more holes than that.

          Vote -1 Vote +1

    • IZZY2112 says:

      One guy plays 1B, one plays CF. If Ike Davis could play CF, he’d be a very good player.

      +9 Vote -1 Vote +1

      • John says:

        Chris Young is no longer a CF and should not be valued that way. According to defensive stats, he is a sub-par CF. He is a corner outfielder. There are similar offensive expectations from corner outfield positions (particularly RF, where I imagine young will play) and 1B.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

        • Bip says:

          He’s no longer a CF? After one year with a bad rating following three consecutive years with a very good rating? Other players are not held to such a high standard.

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    • Zen Madman says:

      If Ike were guaranteed to play to his career averages, he’d be a productive player. The last two first-halves have spooked the fans and possibly the front office. Steamer projects Ike at 1.5 WAR over just 437 PA. That’s about league average. If you just look at his career numbers, there’s nothing wrong with him as a starting 1B, at least against RHP.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Loop D says:

      Ike Davis seems like a clown. Its not always about #s. Sometimes it’s about people. Maybe…..

      Vote -1 Vote +1

      • eltorostrikesagain says:

        Juan Lagares in already on the roster making the minimum and just put up 2.9 WAR last season because of an awesome defensive year in CF.

        Tell me again how valuable Young is to the Mets in CF because that is such a glaring need.

        Somebody has to hit the ball and protect Wright.

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  16. fazzyh says:

    my question is: why was the Marlon Byrd trade seen by many as an overpay, when Chris Young is seen as a “steal.” I appreciate the differing lengths of contract and relative age, but given the drastic difference in their recent performance, it seems a little odd.

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  17. GilaMonster says:

    I absolutely love this deal. I probably would have tried to land a 2/$12 deal with Young. He is solid defensively with upside offensively and has a lot of tools.

    Being a Red Sox fan, I loved the idea of a Young/JBJ platoon.

    I’m surprised we didn’t see more competition. I know his BA is awful…etc. But I think a lot of smart teams could have used him.The Red Sox,Reds,Phillies..etc. all come to mind….Well, the Phillies aren’t smart.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • LaLoosh says:

      he’s going to the Mets bc they promised him regular playing time, not platooning.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Tristram Shandy says:

      When did Jon Bon Jovi start playing outfield?

      Vote -1 Vote +1

    • B N says:

      Yah, as a Red Sox supporter, I’m mildly bummed to have not grabbed him at this price. It’s not a contract that will break any banks, and he could have been a very useful player in a park that helps your batting average a bit.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

      • robb says:

        Wow, you know met fans have become irrational when red sox fans appear calm, reasoned and act as glass half full proponents. While players dont exist in a vacuum, this feels like a fair deal. Also, Davis has value to others that exceeds his stats.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

  18. Nifty says:

    Thanks for using the word nifty (twice, no less). I was beginning to think people forgot I existed.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  19. JamesDaBear says:

    Very Cameron-esque… Mike Cameron-esque. Good signing by the Mets. If he shows some comeback, they could get some value from him in July too.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  20. don says:

    this is not a good deal for the mets. if they were a big budget team then yeah, little to lose, because young is a 4th OF. but the mets have probably spent 1/3 of their offseason budget to a guy whose numbers can be replaced internally for 1/7 that. they have way too many holes to fill with only 14 million remaining. that means they can average like 3.5 million per signing to fill LF, RF, 1B, and SS. that doesn’t even touch the SP and bullpen help, or backup C needs.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • nico says:

      Where are you getting your numbers? I don’t recall $21 million ever being bandied about as the amount the team has to spend in the off-season – matter of fact, several reports came out after the signing that indicated the Mets still have 20-25 million to spend.

      They don’t have a 1B gap (Duda is just fine there) and with the Young signing they no longer have two corner outfield gaps – there doesn’t necessarily have to be some butcher lumbering about in left or right field (we’ve had just about enough of that with Duda, thank you).

      So the reality is, in fact, that they have up to $25 million to address corner outfielder and SS issues, with pitching (is SP even an issue? I’d go to war with Niese/Gee/Wheeler/Torres/Mejia) and backup catcher as secondary concerns. The picture is much less grim than you paint it.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

  21. Tonto says:

    Is the write an Alderson/Wilpon schill.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  22. Stu from BPC says:

    1) Chris Young is incredibly average when playing at his best.
    2) Last year is far from his best and his best is likely well in his past.
    3) Average is worth $7mio/year.
    4) Chris has pop. To earn that pop he strikes out and hits fly balls.
    5) Young can’t hit right handed pitchers but his super averageness against lefties makes this OK.
    6) Young is OK defensively but don’t worry he’s in a corner spot where his bat doesn’t make up for his lack of defensive but its OK bc he isn’t playing CF and defense is important so his average defense is a + bc its not CF and his bat isn’t that good.
    7) Young is soooooo average that he is awesome and cheap at $7million
    8) If he bounces back next year he will be exactly average.
    9) average. average. average. average. average. if we are lucky.
    10) also, average
    11) average

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Noah says:

      I think you missed a lot of what the article was saying. First of all, Young at his best is an all star caliber player (he posted 10.5 WAR across 2010 and 2011). He’s a GOOD defensive outfielder as well, not average.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

    • hk says:

      In free agency, average costs a lot more than $7M per season.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

  23. Stu from BPC says:

    That was my summary of the article.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  24. Pedro says:

    This signing would have been ok for any team looking for a 4th outfielder. Not the METS specially when we just learned thqt the wilpons will not let Sandy spend more than 30M. We just spent 23 percent of the budget on an outfielder that has gotten progresively worse in the las 4 years. Guys we have to set up some kind of fund or something selling shares so we can buy off the Wilpons at whTever the cost, because we are not going to see the playoffs in our lifetime.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • hk says:

      Pedro,

      If you were GM, how would you have spent the $30M? Would you have preferred to spend $13.25M of it – it most likely would have cost more – on Peralta and been tied to him when he starts declining while the Mets (hopefully start improving)?

      Vote -1 Vote +1

  25. shoewizard says:

    Stu made me laugh…

    Looking at this from the players perspective, this makes no sense to me. Why sign a 1 yr deal to try to rebuild value in a place that is not conducive to your skill set. Yes,…big outfield , good outfielder…yada yada….but they pay for the homers.

    If I were Young I would have taken half as much to go play in Colorado or Houston on a one year deal, put up some stats, and THEN signed the 3 year 24 million deal next year. But that’s just me.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Wobatus says:

      He is from Houston and hits well there. I imagine they offered him far less than 7.25. Me, I’d take the 7.25 and play in NY for a year. What if he gets hurt? That extra 3 million might be your retirement fund. Plus one assumes most teams are aware of park effects.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

  26. MJK says:

    I couldn’t disagree move with this move. Young has been going downhill since his stint in the minors while still a diamondback; this is the problem with the untutored obsession with stats. Stats without context are meaningless and worthless, and are worse than simple prudential judgment based on subjective observation because these unanchored abstractions called stats possess the veneer of automatic legitimacy…

    This is a strange and expensive move that is bewildering to me. Now the team has an even more crowded outfield, and not that much of a talent delta…

    -7 Vote -1 Vote +1

    • shoewizard says:

      That’s great, except you got the context wrong. He had his “stint” in the minors when he got demoted in the 2009 season.

      http://www.baseball-reference.com/minors/player.cgi?id=young-001chr

      His time in the minors in 2012 was for a rehab assignment after his shoulder injury in late April 2012.

      Young actually came back from the minor league stint to post his best season in 2010. He was still very good in 2011, despite a low BA, thanks to the aforementioned OBP, Slugging, Defense and Baserunning

      In 2012 he started out like a house on fire, and then ran into the wall in Chase Field and messed up his shoulder and came back well before it had healed properly, completely torpedoing his season.

      Then he went to the worst possible environment for a FB hitter prone to low BA, but that wasn’t his choice.

      Your anti stats without context rant is pretty much devoid of any actual value because you have no idea about the context which you claim to understand.

      The mistake here is that Chris Young is best suited to play in a place where FB are more likely to go over the wall. Simple as that.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

  27. Hangumup says:

    Metrics tell you history. They cannot accurately project ANYTHING. That being said, it certainly sounds like they Mets are back on their march towards mediocrity. Chris Young is the luckiest man alive because he is getting fulltime money to do a part time job.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Bip says:

      Define “accurately project” and give and example of what you consider to be an accurate projection.

      And science begs to differ, considering the same statistical principles that are used to create the more advanced metrics in baseball are the same that have formed the backbone of modern experimental science.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

      • B N says:

        Indeed. What use are metrics that only give you better-than-average predictive accuracy? I’m holding out for ones that are right 100% of the time. Otherwise, they’re useless! Useless I say!

        Other things that we should dispense with, due to their inaccuracy:
        - Home pregnancy tests (Pssh, even if you ARE pregnant, about 1/4 end in miscarriages anyway. Totally bogus.)
        - Election polling (If we could predict the president, we wouldn’t need to vote! That’s undemocratic.)
        - Actuarial tables (Sometimes smokers live until their 90′s. Therefore they and I should pay the same insurance rates. Same deal with drivers with lots of accidents. Maybe they were just unlucky!)
        - Our very senses (Our perception is fallible. Therefore, we might as well just close our eyes, ignore them, and walk around aimlessly)

        Once statistics are outlawed, only outlaws will use statistics. Though we will have little way to tell if that is true, due to our inability to test it statistically.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

  28. The Honorable Sen. Clay Davis says:

    I like the Mets. I like this signing.
    a). Mets have so many holes to fill that this offseason; whatever free agent budget they have cannot turn them into solid divisional contenders unless they sell the future from the farm through trades. I think the Mets realistically have another year to go.
    b). Young is a value play, minimal cost for a good upside gamble, he’s a right handed bat, and he’s only two years removed from playing at an all-star level; he can actually field; he can actually steal a base, and some of his poor form might come down to the injury which was pretty severe
    c) even at 1 WAR he is not a significant cash loss
    d) even at 2 WAR he is flippable for more prospects
    e) how much more fun was it to watch the mets this year with competent outfield defense for a change?

    Arguments about percentage of budget spent are completely irrelevant – blame the Wilpons for the TOTAL available cash to the FO – and don’t expect Robinson Cano by himself to turn the Mets into contenders because that’s all this budget will get you. Pulling trades to make your team great also need the GM on the other team to co-operate – so people saying Murphy and Davis for A BIG BAT have no grip on reality.

    Chris Young isn’t our future, but he’s an asset purchased reasonably cheaply and given this market they’ve made a quality purchase here.

    Yes to buying assets with some future value. No to buying assets on a downl

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  29. Bip says:

    Before witnessing the reaction for myself, I saw a few people report that Mets fans had typical-Mets-fans reactions to this signing, which is to say, apocalyptic. I don’t want to generalize about a fanbase – as a Dodger fan during the “Best Fans St. Louis” crap I’ve had enough of it – but this comment thread certainly is holding true to that description.

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  30. Wolf359 says:

    While this might not be the worst free agent signing, there’s no way in hell that this will be one of the best bargains of the off season. Just like at the stats. Nearly every metric has been declining steadily for at least three years.

    BB% declining since 2011
    K% increasing since 2011
    BABIP declining since 2010
    OBP declining since 2010
    wOBA declining since 2010
    WRC+ declining since 2010
    BsR declining since 2010
    Off decoding since 2010
    Def declining since 2011
    WAR declining since 2011

    The trends are crystal clear that this guy is past his prime and is more likely to crater than to return to his glory years …

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • jruby says:

      Trends are… Tricky. Basically what you’re telling me is he’s getting older. I’d be very surprised if his BABIP keeps going down. That being said, if it does, he’ll select himself out of regular playing time

      Vote -1 Vote +1

  31. MGL says:

    Sorry, but I can’t help re-writing this article:

    Steamer projects him at 1.7 WAR next year. That’s 4mm and change per win. Bargain.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  32. Jason says:

    Big picture… This team is really starting to come together well.

    Just because The mets have money to spend doesn’t mean we should. That is what keeps us in the perpetual cycle of waiting out bad contracts. There is no such thing as a bad 1 year deal. Citi field’s outfield dimensions require the Mets to think defense first.

    Ike will be better this year, there are people who have said it takes two years to fully recover one’s strength from valley fever. His OBP is a great indicator. we’d be selling low.

    We don’t need to trade Murph to upgrade the OF and keep E. Young in the leadoff spot they both have enough versatility to get regular playing time.

    We are fortunate to have Sandy, we actually have real hope long term, which we only briefly had with Omar.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  33. Diego says:

    If this is considered a good value signing then there is a serious contract bubble in MLB. Insane that the qualifying offer was 14.1 mil this year. There has to be a correction at some point. Contract values can’t keep increasing at this rate. Its the problem with using “precedent” in contracts. Great for the agents and players, bad for the teams. I know every team is receiving that fresh TV $ but this seems like money burned for a team in rebuilding.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  34. Blair Schirmer says:

    The depressing context, of course, is that this might well be the Mets biggest FA signing of the offseason.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  35. Craig says:

    The problem with this analysis, IMO, is that it treats the opportunity cost of having a younger player with more upside receiving Young’s PAs as having zero value. Additionally, this analysis ignores the fact that a decent season for Young could cost the drafting position.

    I’d be surprised if this contract looked like a bargain by year’s end, there is really no doubt that the Mets would be better off having spent the money on foreign free agents, international development, scouting, etc.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • vivalajeter says:

      Who are these young outfielders the Mets have with plenty of upside? Young was a 4 WAR player from 2010 through his shoulder injury in 2012. I don’t see the Mets with anybody with that ceiling, that he’d be taking time away from.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

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