Over the weekend, rumor had it that the New York Mets were considering releasing underperforming outfielder Chris Young. Despite hitting two home runs on Tuesday night against the Oakland Athletics, the Mets should still part ways with Young.
Last night against the A’s, Young tried to silence his critics by going deep twice to help his team defeat MLB‘s best team at the moment. Unfortunately, it was too little, too late for Young as the outfielder already is a free agent bust. With Kirk Nieuwenhuis making the most of his opportunities and Juan Lagares coming off the DL this week, Young appears to be the odd man out — and rightfully so. After signing a one-year, $7.25 million contract in the offseason, Young was expected to do a little better than a .209 batting average and six home runs almost halfway through the season. If the Mets were to keep Young, he would merely take up a roster spot and prevent a younger, higher potential outfielder from getting playing time.
The main issue for the Mets with Young is his salary. Trading such a poor performer is a great challenge as it is, but a poor performer whose production has sharply declined the past three seasons and is making $7.25 million a year is virtually impossible. Any sports economist would agree with Mets’ commentator Gary Cohen‘s assessment about the contract being a sunk cost that should not dictate the team’s decision regarding roster spaces and playing time. Even if the Mets were to find a taker, the team would almost certainly get stuck paying the majority of this bad contract for the rest of the season. Since Young is virtually untradable, the best bet for the Mets would be to just eat the money and release him so a more deserving player can get playing time.
Every team has been guilty of signing a bad contract at some point, but the key is to cut the losses and not let it continue to hurt the team.