There is no question that the 31-year-old Young is talented. Since breaking into the major leagues in 2004 with the Texas Rangers, Young has made 135 starts, holding opposing hitters to a .220 batting average.
Despite the fact that Young can occasionally go through bouts of wildness, he has still limited his opponents to a .299 career on-base percentage. Basically, he will retire seven of every ten batters he faces. That type of success rate leads to fewer big innings by the opposing team.
There is one drawback to having Chris Young in your starting rotation. His 6'10" frame is very fragile.
From 2005-2007, Young made at least 30 starts each season. As you can see below, in each season he lowered his ERA and WHIP, while striking out more batters.
- 2005: 31 starts, 4.26 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, 137 Ks
- 2006: 31 starts, 3.46 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, 164 Ks
- 2007: 30 starts, 3.12 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, 167 Ks
Then 2008 came along and the brittle Chris Young was born. From his third consecutive 30+ start season in 2007, he went down to 18 starts in 2008 to 14 starts in 2009 to only four starts this past season.
His walks have also been on the rise as he has struggled through these annual injuries. If Young is healthy (and that's a BIG if), he can be a fine acquisition for the Mets.
Young is known as a fly ball pitcher, which is perfect for a pitcher's ballpark such as Citi Field. Having pitched most of his career for the San Diego Padres in cavernous Petco Park, Young knows how to pitch to his park's dimensions.
In 45 career starts at Petco Park, Young maintained an exceptional 2.85 ERA and 1.11 WHIP, striking out nearly a batter per inning (250 Ks in 265.1 innings). He also held opponents to a .205 batting average and .283 on-base percentage. Pitching half his games at Citi Field could lead to similar results.
As long as the Mets don't do something stupid and sign him to a three-year, $36 million contract, Young could be a good fit. He would need to prove he is healthy, but if he does, a one-year, incentive-laden deal would not be uncalled for.
The Marlins signed Javier Vazquez to a one-year, $7 million contract. The Dodgers signed Jon Garland to a one-year, $5 million contract. Both of those pitchers were healthy last season. The Mets should be able to sign Chris Young for less than that. He may be the most fragile of the three, but if he can stay on the mound, he may end up being the best bargain.