One of the most expensive free agent signings for the New York Mets this winter has barely taken the field. Outfielder Chris Young signed a one year, 7.5 million dollar contract in the offseason and was expected to be a starter in the outfielder. Injuries derailed the start of Young's season, as a right quad injury limited him to half an inning in the season's second game before he was sent to the disabled list. Young is, however, on the road to recovery, Mike Puma of the New York Post reports.
Young has played two games of extended spring training and is headed to Triple-A Las Vegas today for extended playing time. Young will likely remain with the 51's for the next few days, and he could return to the Mets in time for their next homestand on Friday night. Young's return could provide an offensive boost to the struggling Mets, but it does create an interesting dilemma.
When spring training ended, Chris Young was likely going to be the club's primary left fielder with Juan Lagares in center, Curtis Granderson in right, and Eric Young Jr off the bench. EY, however, has started hitting very well over the last week and has resembled the igniter the Mets had over the second half of last season. Lagares has hit as well, and he has been arguably the team's most consistent offensive player. Granderson is hitting the worst of the three outfielders, but with a 60 million dollar contract and a proven track record Granderson will be given every opportunity to succeed.
Manager Terry Collins didn't address the playing time situation when asked by reporters yesterday, but if we were to guess we would assume EY loses some playing time for now. Chris Young is capable of being the team's leadoff hitter, and Juan Lagares is hitting better than Eric Young anyway. Lagares is also the best fielder of the group, so as long as he is hitting he should see every day playing time. Eric Young will likely transition into a fourth outfielder/supersub role that he was eyed for in the spring, but he will likely get some playing time as well. For once, the Mets' outfield depth is a good problem to have as opposed to a troubling situation.
Tags: Baseball, Chris Young, Curtis Granderson, Eric Young Jr, Juan Lagares, MLB, New York, New York Mets