Some time ago, I joked that when New York Mets GM Sandy Alderson signed Chris Young for $7.25 million, manager Terry Collins surely collapsed from disbelief. Maybe that didn’t happen, but I can’t imagine it being too far off.
Since being selected to the All-Star team for the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2010, Young’s home run and RBI totals have gone from 27 and 91 to 12 and 40 in 2013. His average has also dipped from .257 to .200 in that time. Despite all the signs of a disastrous signing, let’s try to be positive about this, okay?
Young was an All-Star! Wait, I already said that? Shoot. Okay, well, he was the first rookie in MLB history to hit 30 HRs and steal 25 bases. That’s kind of cool. He hit three homers in a game — once. Awesome, right? He’s won an MVP – team MVP, that is, for the Diamondbacks … in 2010. Man, this is harder than I thought. Um, I hear Young’s a heck of a guy; that’s gotta count for something, right?
The simple truth is that the best part of the Young signing, the only good part, is that he’s only on a one-year deal. The St. Louis Cardinals‘ “World Champion” t-shirts had barely been shipped off to Djibouti when Alderson signed Young, and although the GM had no idea Nelson Cruz would end up signing with the Baltimore Orioles for only $8 million (also for one year), Alderson certainly could have waited 10 minutes, you know, to maybe check Young’s stats before handing over the cash.
In a rushed, knee-jerk reaction to inject offense into his club, Alderson gummed up his outfield, stalling the development of Juan Lagares, who is certainly capable of putting up bad numbers at the plate for far less money. Lagares, the kind of defensive player Young could only dream of being, can become a solid player for the Mets, anchoring their up-the-middle defense opposite Travis d’Arnaud for the next decade. Young won’t be here long enough to get a parking spot.
But Young is entering his prime and he’s playing for another contract. Maybe that will be enough to make me look foolish for ragging on him this offseason, but I doubt it.