Free Agent Pass or Play: Chris Young – Phillies Nation

Free Agent Pass or Play: Chris Young

Young could bring right-handed power, speed, and great defense to the Phillies in 2014 for the right price.

Each day until free agency begins, we at Phillies Nation will take a look at a player who will become a free agent five days from the conclusion of the World Series. We will explore potential performance, fit, cost, and feasibility. We continue today with right-handed outfielder Chris Young. And a reminder: you can check out all the “Pass or Play” posts by clicking on the category hyperlink.


When Young burst onto the MLB landscape in 2007, smashing 32 homers as a rookie for the NL West-winning Diamondbacks, many predicted a long, prosperous career for the then-23/24-year old, particularly if he could limit his strikeouts. By 2010, Young had become a plus-defender and an All-Star with 27 homers and 28 steals. Young would maintain a similar pace through 2011 before injuries slowed him down in 2012. Young was traded to the A’s as part of a three-way deal last offseason that also sent Heath Bell to the Diamondbacks from the Marlins.

Young was a part-time player in 2013 for the A’s but still hit 12 homers and stole 10 bases for the AL West champs. Young has a career .262/.363/.474 triple-slash line against lefties and is a competent center fielder, adding almost two wins in value over his career via defense according to FanGraphs.

Some may be scared by Young’s career 22.9% K-rate but Young also posts a respectable 10% BB-rate. Young’s 9.6% BB rate in 2013 was higher than any Phillie with 200+ PA other than Darin Ruf and Young struck out almost 7% less than Ruf in more PA. Young was successful in 10 of 13 stolen base attempts.


The last couple of posts in this series have had a direct focus on right-handed power hitters. The Phillies do need at least one starting-caliber right handed outfielder and should probably equip themselves with a right-handed bench bat. I think Young could serve either role. Young just turned 30, only three years older than Ruf and is three months older than Mayberry. He can play all three outfield positions well and could allow the Phillies to get creative if someone insisted on having Ben Revere in a trade package.


According to the awesome FanGraphs crowd-sourcing project, Young is likely in line for somewhere between $5-7 million per year for two years. It is worth noting that the Oakland A’s do have a team option available for $11 million for Young’s services in 2014 with a $1.5 million buyout.


Young would not only fit into the budget but would be a great pick-up. Young adds power and speed from the right side that this line-up surely lacks and is much cheaper than other options like Jacoby Ellsbury and Shin-Soo Choo without the need for a long-term commitment. Young would allow the Phillies to get creative and explore trades involving Revere and Domonic Brown.

Verdict: Play, Play, Play

Much like Marlon Byrd earlier today, Young is a player who can really help the Phillies in 2014. Young, in one swoop, can improve the Phillies hitting against left-handed pitching, improve their defense, and improve their marks on the basepaths with significantly less risk than Byrd comes with for about the same price. Young is my sleeper free agent of 2014 and is one player that will be included in my 2014 Offseason Plan for the Phillies.



  1. Lefty

    October 27, 2013 at 4:17 pm

    Agree Ian, I hope they pursue Young.

  2. Fat Joe

    October 27, 2013 at 4:30 pm

    Now this is an argument I can agree with! He won’t cost any draft pick, has at least 3 more good years in him and has a nice potential upside to him. Even if phillies will suck next year, young is a player that2-3 years down the line could be a legit part of a contender. Excellent post Ian!

    • Ian Riccaboni

      October 27, 2013 at 4:41 pm

      Thanks Joe! I think he’s still got some upside and he fits the need for a righty as well.

  3. BeyondInfinity

    October 27, 2013 at 5:18 pm

    I agree with the young signing but COME ON!! Wy does everybody keep talking about trading revere? He is an excellent defender, kinda young and has great contactskills and speed!!! In my opinion revere along with diekman, hamels and brown are the only philly 25man roster players that shouldnt be traded under any circumstance except fir stanton or something like that

    • Ian Riccaboni

      October 27, 2013 at 5:19 pm

      Don’t get me wrong – I don’t want them to trade Revere, either, but if he’s the piece of the puzzle that puts them over the top on a hypothetical trade for a guy like David Price, I’d think about it.

      • BeyondInfinity

        October 27, 2013 at 5:27 pm

        That’s a good argument but i think the phils should “hang low” for a couple of years and get playera like franco, biddle and crawford involved and then make a play-off push…. But thats just my opinion and i dont think raj would even consider that

    • Scott Culpepper

      October 27, 2013 at 5:33 pm

      Ben Revere is NOT an excellent defensive center fielder, in spite of his speed. And he has a terrible arm.

      • BeyondInfinity

        October 27, 2013 at 5:48 pm

        Touche, he has had some miscues and he has a terrible arm indeed but 2 seasons ago he had about 19 RWAR with his fielding so he can do it

      • Carlos Danger

        October 27, 2013 at 8:31 pm

        Agreed. Revere is a terrible centerfielder – he’s better suited for leftfield. Of course, the problem is that ALL the Phillies’ current outfielders are better suited to play LF.

  4. EddieG

    October 27, 2013 at 5:18 pm

    If Nolan Reimold gets Non-tendered by Baltimore, I rather see them try to go after him than Chris young.

    • Ian Riccaboni

      October 27, 2013 at 5:23 pm

      Reimold would be a decent bench bat but Mayberry has better platoon splits against lefties (.274/.321/.526) so they could probably have about the same player for probably cheaper through arbitration. Is there a different reason you’d want the Phillies to pursue him?

      • EddieG

        October 27, 2013 at 6:29 pm

        Felt that Reimold was a cheaper option for them and I consider him as a bounce back candidate for 2014. I didn’t even look at the splits between him and mayberry, guess I should have looked into those numbers.

  5. Fat Joe

    October 27, 2013 at 5:41 pm

    Ian > Ruin Tomorrow Jr.

  6. Hogey's Role

    October 27, 2013 at 5:48 pm

    I like this option Ian, I forgot all about young, I would definitely play on young for the right price…
    Then I would trade revere, ruf, and maybe another prospect to Oakland for cespedes

  7. Windmill

    October 27, 2013 at 5:50 pm

    All last season we heard “We have to get young, we have to get young”. So they got Delmon and Michael. Is Chris the Young we really need? 8-). He seems like a good fit. RH with some speed and pop and can play all 3 OF spots. Big versatility off the bench too. Get him!

  8. Fat Joe

    October 27, 2013 at 5:59 pm

    Cespedes will hit free agency in a couple of years and that’s when he might be of interest to phillies. Phillies needs to pick up mid level free agents that possibly still could be of value in two three years.

    Guys that are good but not good enough to get qualifying offers.

    I sense that the pirates may look to make a serious run next year. Offer them Cliff Lee, Utley, throw in Howard too. Offer to pay some of their salaries and ask for two-three of their best prospects and 2-3 mid level prospects in return. That’s how to rejuvenate a whole organization.

    • Hogey's Role

      October 27, 2013 at 6:11 pm

      Lee utley and Howard, really?? That nearly doubles their payroll and then you want 2-3 of their best prospects…. Come on, this isn’t a video game dude

    • schmenkman

      October 27, 2013 at 6:16 pm

      Even if the Pirates had any interest in a deal like that, I’d rather keep Lee, Utley, and Howard (who still mashes righties), and add a couple of pieces so the Phils can make a serious run of their own.

      As you probably know signing a FA who’s been offered a QO will cost the Phils their 2nd round pick next year (much less valuable than the #7 pick).

    • DonnieB

      October 27, 2013 at 7:13 pm

      Some people really have no right posting such trash as proposals to trade Lee, Howard and Utley to the Pirates, who would never spend that much money on their entire roster.

      I like THIS Young on our team. His age and price would be a steal if he comes back to his “normal” self, you can count on 25/25 or even back to a 30/30 guy…. wouldn’t that be nice?

      Also would rather see the Phillies sign AJ Pierzynski rather than Ruiz to a 1 yr deal with a 2nd year option. That would give Joseph the time needed in AAA to see that he’s fully recovered and ready for the big leagues in 2015.

      Sign Cory Hart, Cruz or Beltran for RF
      Trade for David Price (Revere, Biddle, Ruf, Quinn, Kendrick and Aumont)
      Sign Feldman, Kazmir, Floyd, or Johnson
      Sign Baker as 4th OF

      Another trade possibility: Trumbo for Asche, Pettibone and reliever.

  9. Jay

    October 27, 2013 at 7:03 pm

    Wow what a great idea! I can’t believe I missed his name on impending FAs

  10. Fat Joe

    October 27, 2013 at 7:16 pm

    Hogey, what part of “pay some of their salaries” didn’t you understand?

    • Hogey's Role

      October 27, 2013 at 8:14 pm

      Oh ok you’re gonna pay some of their salaries, oh I feel completely different about it now… Get a clue Howard and utley are injury prone and there contracts are dead weight, I love utley and rallied for is signing, but the truth is the truth and it’s insane to even think Howard could be traded or that amaro would even consider trading him

  11. 64 survivor

    October 27, 2013 at 8:01 pm

    Ian what are you smoking. He hit .200 with 12 HR in 350 AB (worse than Ruff). This isn’t 2007 and he for sure is not worth $7MM

    • wbramh

      October 27, 2013 at 11:50 pm

      The improved defense would be nice but this team needs RBIs.
      Chris Young may help the team lose a few games by 3-1 instead of 4-1.
      Not good enough.

  12. schmenkman

    October 27, 2013 at 8:28 pm

    Young is a below-average hitter for his career (wRC+ of 94) — he can mash lefties (.262/.363/.474), which of course means he’s even further below average vs. righties (.225/.295/.415). But he is a good and versatile fielder, and a good baserunner.

  13. George

    October 27, 2013 at 8:44 pm

    Once again I’ll say that if the Phils really want a better outfield, they’ll have to trade. These righthanded free agents so far are not really much, if any, of an upgrade.

  14. Ken Bland

    October 28, 2013 at 5:32 am

    This series of free agent possibilities continues to roll ot names in seemingly no particular order, and include names that for the money, represent less value than might be the case with some area of duplication of skill.

    Even more importantly, it assumes an exsistence of limited financial flexibility, which is great thinking if you wanna be part of the sheep following the propagandizing ringleader, who despite some financial paralysis established with his contracts, certainly is capable of creating at least some movement to rid the franchise of it’s likely continuation of non playoff baseball.

    Baseball can change cosmetically all younger generations of fans want. Pitching is still the glue. And yet, with know it all spirit, and strength of conviction, people offer viewa on everyday players like they are a solution. Yes, they are. From one level of mediocrity as a team to another.

    The answer starts at the core. Still another gem from Mashiora Tanaka a day ago, running his W-L to 25-0, and almost upping his ERA by allowing a single (home) run, and the masses seem to stay silent on the possibility of the Phils even stirring the pot on this guy. The potential Kendrick and Halladay salaries, not certainly, but basically a waste of money would add up to close to what Tanaka’s salary would be, and the posting fee isn’t even tax chargeable. And all we hear is growing numbers of clubs expressing commitment to the bid.
    But people are quick to comment on the “forthcoming TV bonanza.”

    Talk is cheap, and action’s what counts. Maybe the Phils have an unpublicized plan. But for what’s in front of our noses, the silence of the fan base on this much needed baseball and marketing front rolls by with an amazing quiet. Tanaka is the one free agent that should light up the PLAY sign in the most fluorescent of neon lights. A good portion of the free agent populous, that might even entertain playing for the Phils (scratch Carlos Beltran, you naïve types, almost to the extent that you could have scratched Tim Lincecum) are great for conversation’s leading nowhere.

    • hk

      October 28, 2013 at 7:30 am


      I agree that it is worth making a posting bid for Tanaka. It’s a great way to use the TV revenue since, as you point out, the posting fee does not count against the luxury tax.

      For what it is worth, Pete Mackinin, who spent last year as a scout for the Yankees, was recently rehired by the Phils. According to ESPN New York, Mackinin scouted Tanaka last season. After the MAG signing, I would not be surprised to see the Phils in the bidding for Tanaka.

      • Hogey's Role

        October 28, 2013 at 8:43 am

        I would be ok with the Phils going after tanaka…. Idk if I can see it happening though, I was shocked when we signed mag

      • hk

        October 28, 2013 at 9:13 am


        Actually, their pursuit of MAG and the fact that they went out of their comfort zone and guaranteed money to an “established” international free agent is what gives me hope that they will pursue Tanaka. The fact that they rehired Mackinin – why else would they rehire him? – increases my hope.

      • Ken Bland

        October 28, 2013 at 4:06 pm

        Not that it matters, but I can’t remember (if I ever even knew why Mackinin left. I know he interviewed for the Cub and BoSox jobs…shouldn’t say know…I THINK he did. If he interviewed for the Cub job, it’s kinda weird how there’s been no reported interest in him this timen

        The posting fee’s tricky. Pretty sure it was right around 51 mil for both Yu and Dice K. So how do you determine a sensible, yet winning bid, particularly with several big shots involved, and maybe more than previously.

        I’d love to see the club participate. One step at a time, I guess.

    • wbramh

      October 28, 2013 at 4:38 pm

      I believe Tanaka would be a great addition but unless the team lands a couple of RBI men Tanaka will join Hamels, Lee & Gonzalez as 3 or under ERA pitchers with 6-15 W/L records.

      • schmenkman

        October 28, 2013 at 4:57 pm

        I realize you’re exaggerating, but losing 5-4 is no better than losing 3-2 (except for fans who like more offense). In other words, I believe runs prevented are no less valuable, and no less important in winning, than runs scored.

        Now there are other knocks on Tanaka, namely that his pitches won’t break as much in MLB because the seams on the balls aren’t raised as much. I don’t know if there’s anything to that, just passing along what I’ve read.

      • Ken Bland

        October 28, 2013 at 5:17 pm

        Well, for starters, even without talent acquisition in other spots, hopefully Asche and Hoawrd improve what they got out of the corners last year.

        I mean, it’s definiterly a problem, I’m not even suggesting that development is a cure all, but the rotation is what strikes me as more priority. Besides that, Tanaka is about a 4 year investment. Even another asset in the pitching area, Bronson Arroyo couldn’t be more than a 2 year possibility. Figure he’ll meet Father Time at some point.

    • Ken Bland

      October 29, 2013 at 7:46 pm

      A day later, Tim Dierkes on Phils/Tanaka


      Comment From Ruben
      Why hasn’t anyone linked my to Tanaka yet? Am I that stealthy, or has everyone just lost faith in me?


      Tim Dierkes:
      I guess it’s possible, but if they’re on him they’re keeping it quiet for sure. I see them going with a Josh Johnson type to round out the rotation.

  15. schmenkman

    October 28, 2013 at 8:47 am

    Young might be a nice addition, but he will be an upgrade only on the bases and in the field, since he’s been essentially the same hitter as Delmon and Mayberry.

    Stats since 2010, with wRC+ taking into account that CY played in a better hitter’s park for 3 of those years:

    C.Young (age 26-29): .225/.322/.425 (.328 wOBA, 100 wRC+)
    D. Young (age 24-27): .275/.310/.430 (.321 wOBA, 99 wRC+)
    Mayberry (age 26-29): .247/.307/.428 (.320 wOBA, 99 wRC+)

    vs. lefties since 2010:

    C. Young: .255/.361/.458 (.359 wOBA, 122 wRC+)
    D. Young: .300/.346/.476 (.353 wOBA, 121 wRC+)
    Mayberry: .277/.326/.522 (.361 wOBA, 128 wRC+)

    vs. righties since 2010:

    C. Young: .227/.303/.411 (.314 wOBA, 90 wRC+)
    D. Young: .265/.295/.411 (.307 wOBA, 90 wRC+)
    Mayberry: .230/.297/.375 (.297 wOBA, 84 wRC+)

    Still, a run is a run, and those improvements in the fiend and on the bases are certainly worth considering.

    • George

      October 28, 2013 at 9:34 am

      I know it’s just a typo, but “improvements in the fiend” still has a bit of humor about it. I guess Chris Young isn’t quite as hideous as “Demon” Young.

      • schmenkman

        October 28, 2013 at 9:45 am

        Definitely better than “Demon”. In fact, while Chris and Delmon may be give you the same at the plate, they are like Jekyll and Hyde in the rest of their game.

    • George

      October 28, 2013 at 5:12 pm

      Of course Chris is far superior to Delmon. I was merely commenting on your typo of “fiend,” instead of “field.” I thought that the way D.Young had handled RF, fiend was probably the appropriate word, so it seemed to be slightly humorous.

      I always thought Delmon was a horror out there, and combining his bad bat with his bad defense, and his past bad attitude, he’d be ugly even if he was good looking physically, which he isn’t.

      • schmenkman

        October 28, 2013 at 5:14 pm

        Yep, I got it, and was agreeing with you.

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