PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla -- Could the Mets and pitcher Chris Young be primed for a reunion?
With the Mets' pitching depth in peril thanks to injuries, and Young available after opting out of his minor league deal with the Nationals, the conditions seem ripe for another run together. According to a rival executive, Mets general manager Sandy Alderson attended Young's final start with the Nationals on Monday night. Alderson was joined by other Mets personnel.
Young has a prior relationship with the Mets, going 5-9 with a 3.76 ERA in two seasons in Flushing. Following shoulder surgery, Young posted a 4.15 ERA last year in 115 innings while helping to absorb the workload in the rotation during the second half.
Indeed, Citi Field is familiar terrain for the 33-year-old, who is an extreme fly ball pitcher. The Mets showed interest in the winter but Young eventually signed a minor league deal with the Nationals. He took advantage, posting a 2.25 ERA in four spring starts until he was informed that he wouldn't make the team.
"I feel like I’m a major league pitcher and I can help out a major league team," Young told reporters. "But I’d also like to help out the Washington Nationals, whenever and however that may be."
Scouts have clocked Young's fastball mostly around 79 -82 mph though he has occassionally touched 85. One evaluator questioned Young's stuff and called his spring results a product of "smoke and mirrors."
However, another scout offered a reminder about Young's abnormally long stride. At 6-foot-10, Young's fastball may register in the low 80s, but it looks much faster to hitters since he is releasing the ball further in front of the rubber than most other pitchers.
Indeed, the height helps. One scout this spring said that when Young is able to elevate, his fastball is "still swing and miss at 85."
Perhaps, the Mets feel the same way.