Chris Young signing as the fourth outfielder
is a great move for the Red Sox.
(Photo courtesy the AP)
Ben Whitehead Contributing writer
Perhaps lost in the news that was a massive deal to bring David Price to Boston was the signing the day before of veteran outfield Chris Young. The Red Sox inked Young to a two-year deal worth $13 million and made the news official Wednesday.
At first, I was skeptical of the Young signing. With Jackie Bradley Jr., Mookie Betts and Rusney Castillo, and several other serviceable outfielders, why bring in Young? What does he add? Does this mean Dave Dombrowski is considering dangling JBJ or someone else as trade bait?
OK, so we knew Dombrowski was in the market for a fourth outfielder. But I was unsure as to why Young?
Young brings a career .743 OPS, a veteran presence to a young starting outfield, and can fill in the gaps when those young stars need breaks. He batted .252 in 140 games for the Yankees a season ago, so he's done it in the AL East (also played for Arizona, Oakland and the Mets).
As Jen McCaffrey pointed out on MassLive.com, the Red Sox outfield of the future is still in its early stages. Betts is still just a couple years away from being a full-time infielder. Bradley hasn't played more than 127 games at the Major League level - those 127 games were in 2014, so he had less in 2015. And Castillo will be going through his first full season with Boston.
It's a great move and one that should pay dividends down the road. Young will be a leader in the clubhouse, especially to the three outfielders he'll be mentoring. And it's not like he's going to be a complete wash when he's inserted into the lineup. Young can hit and plays the outfield very well. Surely there will be an adjustment to the Fenway Park dimensions, but no doubt he's a strong replacement in any position.
Chris Young joins Jose Bautista and Torii Hunter as the only outfielders with at least 10 HR in each of the last 9 seasons.