With Juan Lagares scheduled to come off the disabled list on Thursday, the tenure of Chris Young with the New York Mets could be coming to an abrupt ending. A source within the organization told ESPN New York’s Adam Rubin that Young’s “days are numbered” with the organization based on his disappointing play this season and his lofty – he’d signed a one year deal for $7.25 Million – price tag.
Team officials have since denied that report, according to Mike Puma at the New York Post.
Coming off a resoundingly disappointing season with the Oakland Athletics during which he hit just .200/.280/.379 with 12 HR in 375 plate appearances, the Mets signed Young early this past offseason with the hope that he could bounce back and produce with a fresh change of scenery. That hasn’t been the case. He’s batted .201/.284/.313 on the year in 202 plate appearances, adding just twelve extra base hits (8 2B, 4 HR). Defensively he’s been serviceable and his versatility is a plus, but even that has fallen off from years past. With much of the Mets roster scuffling, Young’s struggles have become further magnified.
Should the Mets follow through with releasing Young, they will be forced to swallow the remainder of his salary for this season. If the team doesn’t, he’s going to be facing a limited bench role as is with Lagares returning from the DL and stepping back into a starting role alongside Curtis Granderson. That would leave the remainder of the outfield playing time to be split between Eric Young, Bobby Abreu, and Young (assuming that Kirk Nieuwenhuis is the one optioned down to the minor leagues to make room on the active roster).
New York has received plenty of criticism for the Young signing, though much of it has been unfair. Once the Baltimore Orioles signed Nelson Cruz to a one year, $8 Million deal at the start of Spring Training there were many up in arms wondering why the Mets hadn’t offered Cruz that deal instead of signing Young. The timing of the two deals is all that needs to be pointed to in order to explain that one. The Mets jumped on Young early in the offseason, at a point in time where Cruz was in search of a multi year deal in the tens of millions of dollars range. Nobody could have foreseen how the market for him became non-existent, leaving him with few options before Baltimore’s offer came along.