Chris Young to Yankees: Latest Contract Details, Analysis and Reaction

Tyler ConwayFeatured ColumnistAugust 27, 2014

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Updates from Tuesday, Sept 2.

The Yankees called Young up to the big leagues on Tuesday, according to the team's official Twitter feed:

Adam Rubin of reports that the Mets saved money on Young when the Yankees called him up:

Original Text

Looking to bolster their organizational depth in the outfield, the New York Yankees signed veteran outfielder Chris Young to a minor league contract on Wednesday.    

Jon Heyman of CBS Sports first reported the deal, though no terms were disclosed:

Young, 30, was designated for assignment by the Mets earlier this month. The 2010 All-Star struggled mightily in 88 appearances, batting .205/.283/.346 with eight home runs and 28 RBI. After holding down a regular spot in the Mets' order for much of the season, Young saw his playing time all but evaporate before his release. 

"It caught me a little bit off guard," Young told reporters. “I wasn’t expecting it. I understood that the playing time had changed. I realized that. I didn’t think this was coming. The team has to do with whatever’s best for the team and I respect that.”

He signed a one-year, $7.25 million deal with the Mets last winter. The deal was designed to give Young an opportunity to atone for an awful 2013 campaign in Oakland and re-enter the free-agent market this winter with a more attractive resume.

John Bazemore/Associated Press

Nothing of the sort happened.

Long a streaky hitter with a propensity for strikeouts, Young's performance fell off a cliff despite his best strikeout rate since a 30-game cup of tea in 2006. For the second straight season, he was the victim of bad luck on balls batted into play, and this season saw his isolated slugging percentage dip to career-low levels. His .226 BABIP was the eighth-worst mark of any player with at least 200 plate appearances this season.

All of that would seem to portend bad luck. Davis has never been the luckiest player on the planet, but he typically hovered around league average during his time in Arizona. That he's nearly matching his prime-level fly-ball rate and setting a career low for isolated power seems counter-intuitive.

In that sense, the Yankees might be buying low on a player who could contribute in September. Whether the team or Young will take advantage remains to be seen. 

Kathy Willens/Associated Press

New York is already loaded in the outfield, which features Brett Gardner, Jacoby Ellsbury and Martin Prado locked into starting spots. When your fourth outfielder is future Hall of Famer Ichiro Suzuki, there's not going to be much playing time allotted to a struggling 30-year-old trying to save his career. Once a solid outfielder with good range and speed, Young was also in the midst of his worst defensive season using available advanced metrics.

Three years removed from his third 20-homer, 20-steal campaign, Young seems like a solid buy-low candidate. But he's also two years removed from being an effective player, has a career .233 batting average and isn't worth the trouble if the ball is staying in the yard.

With the Yankees struggling to stay in the wild-card race, it'll be interesting to see how (or if) they deploy Young.


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(All metrics via FanGraphs.)