The Chris Young experiment has finally come to a painful conclusion, one which all players dread. Friday afternoon the New York Mets decided that they would listen, possibly for the first time, to the fans’ insistent plea to get the failure known as Chris Young off their roster by designating him for assignment. Something tells me not many will lose sleep over Young’s long-desired departure, and, instead, people can vent their frustrations — well-rested, I might add — on Twitter about another bone-headed Sandy Alderson signing that inevitably didn’t work out. This time, however, it wasn’t a bad move made on Alderson’s part, despite how it played out.
We all like to play Captain Hindsight for our respective teams, because we could do a better job as general manager, right? Nevertheless, this was a move that looked promising and sensible on paper, yet on the field it was far from it. And, ultimately, the way Young performs is really what matters, but pointing to this as an uninformed decision to further tarnish Alderson’s reign as the Mets GM is downright ludicrous.
2013, obviously, was a poor year for Young, the 30-year-old right-handed hitting outfielder. With his first team post-Diamondbacks, he only managed to salvage an abysmal 0.5 fWAR and 82 wRC+ in 375 plate appearances as a member of the Oakland Athletics. His market value was hurt by his ’13 campaign, but his unsustainable .237 BABIP suggested he was the byproduct of a lot of misfortune. If I were a member of the Mets’ “incompetent” front office I’d look at it and think to myself Young had a very good chance to break out of whatever he found himself in the midst of last season.
He had been a decent defensive commodity throughout his career and likewise offensively. Given one win (wins above replacement) costs roughly about $6-7 million on the market, a one-year, $7.2 million pact seemed not only reasonable but a steal. The season before last he was a 2.5 win player and a 4.5 fWAR before that. It was likely he would pay dividends based on his aptitude, but I guess it just wasn’t meant to be. Oliver 5-Year Projections thought he was going to be a 2.5 fWAR player in ’14, so, yeah, the Mets weren’t alone in their assumption.
What New York didn’t anticipate was Young’s “decline” would persist into 2014, driven by an even more untenable .226 BABIP. I guess we can chalk this up to one of those “can’t predict baseball” moments. Oh, and check out this Tweet.
— Beyond the Box Score (@BtBScore) February 22, 2014
Last time I checked Nelson Cruz was doing pretty darn good, even given his recent struggles. So, yup, that’s baseball for you. Just please for my sanity don’t let me see another “Alderson screwed up again” Tweet, because he made the right move.