Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Sox Sign Young

Young will be a nice complementary piece for Boston (Newsday)
Red Sox GM Dave Dombrowski made his second major move of the offseason yesterday, inking Chris Young to a two-year, $13 million deal.

The pact is a reasonable one for Young, 32 and a fourth outfielder at this stage in his career. More importantly, it adds depth to Boston's young outfield, which is relying on the inexperienced trio of Mookie Betts, Rusney Castillo, and Jackie Bradley, Jr. (less than 2,000 major league plate appearances between them).

A lefty-mashing righthanded power-hitter, Young fits the Jonny Gomes/Cody Ross type that tends to do well in Boston. Now on his fifth team in five seasons, he has proven he can handle big market pressure after two years in New York. Young was a fixture in the Yankees outfield last year, playing 140 games and posting a 112 OPS+. That stability was huge for the depleted Bombers, who still made the playoffs despite losing two-thirds of their outfield (Jacoby Ellsbury and Carlos Beltran) for extended periods of time.

Young earned consistent playing time with his strong start, slugging six home runs and putting up a 1.084 OPS through his first 22 games. The streaky slugger fell off the rest of the way, but that didn't discourage Joe Girardi from getting him into the lineup almost everyday.

Young isn't going to be a difference maker, but he's shown he can play a key role on a contender. It's very likely that the Red Sox will need him, as it's easy to envision a scenario where Bradley slumps his way back to the minors, Castillo is still too raw to play everyday, and/or Betts struggles in his second full season. At the very least he'll spell one of those guys' names when they need a breather and pop a few homers over the Monster. He'll earn his keep even if he's only one win above replacement level, which is how many he's averaged over the past four years.

Nice move, Dave. Now go get David Price.

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