The Mets spent significant money on free agents for the first time in a long time this past offseason, signing Bartolo Colon and Curtis Granderson to multiyear contracts. They also inked outfielder Chris Young to a pricey one-year, $7.25 million deal.
Young, 30, was coming off a disappointing .200/.280/.379 (83 OPS+) season with the Athletics in 2013, but he did hit .243/.331/.436 (104 OPS+) with the Diamondbacks from 2010-12, so there was reason to think he could bounce back at a relatively young age. At worst, he would be a platoon bat against lefties (career 125 OPS+ vs. LHP).
The bounce back has not happened for Young and Mets. At all. He comes into Monday hitting .201/.284/.313 (71 OPS+), including only a 55 OPS+ against lefties. It's the fourth straight year his overall OPS+ has declined. With Juan Lagares set to come off the disabled list later this week, the team appears ready to cut Young loose according to ESPN New York's Adam Rubin:
A team insider acknowledged Chris Young's "days are numbered" with the organization, which is prepared to eat the remainder of this year's $7.25 million salary. The internal debate at this point centers on whether to pull the trigger this week, but it's definitely being seriously weighed, a source told ESPNNewYork.com.
As Rubin notes, the Mets will play the A's this week and are scheduled to face southpaws Scott Kazmir and Brad Mills during the series. I suppose a big series against his former team could save Young's roster spot for a little while, but once the "we're getting ready to release him" wheels are put in motion, they're tough to stop.
In addition to Young and Granderson, the Mets currently have Eric Young Jr. and Kirk Nieuwenhuis in the outfield. Nieuwenhuis has put up a 156 OPS+ in limited time while Lagares has been out and would take Young's roster spot if he is indeed cut at some point.
The Mets would still owe Young the remainder of his salary if they drop him, though another team could then sign him for the pro-rated portion of the league minimum. He hasn't hit for two years now, but Young does offer very good center field defense.