Red Sox Make Strong Move in Signing OF Chris Young


Signing Chris Young gives the Boston Red Sox nice depth and a strong platoon option in the outfield.

The Boston Red Sox made their first significant free agent signing of the off season on Monday, as they agreed to terms with 10-year veteran outfielder Chris Young, who has spent the last two season with the New York Yankees. The signing of Young was first reported by Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports, with Jon Heyman of CBSSports later reporting that Young received two years guaranteed from the Red Sox.

On the surface, the Red Sox bringing in a free agent like Young seems odd. The team appears perfectly ready to head into 2016 armed with young guns Mookie Betts, Jackie Bradley and Rusney Castillo as their starting outfield. Young has typically been an everyday player throughout his career, but as a career .235/.314/.429 hitter, it is not like he should be guaranteed a primary starting spot.

At this point in his career, Young could easily be considered a fourth outfielder, which is a role I could see him excelling in with the Red Sox.

First and foremost, Young has always been a much better hitter against left-handed pitching than right-handers. This was never more obvious than last season when Young hit an abysmal .182/.246/.339 against right-handed pitching while destroying left-handers for a line of .327/.397/.575.

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Also, Young is a dead-pull hitter, so there is plenty of reason to suggest that he would have success in Fenway Park ripping the ball off of the Green Monster in short left field, and has the ability to play all three outfield positions. With Bradley, Betts and Castillo each being able to play centerfield, Young’s defensive versatility does not really mean much to Boston.

Simply put, Young is a talented player who can make an impact for the Red Sox. But with his extreme splits, he is likely a platoon outfielder who is best suited for a bit of a reserve role at this point of his career. Obviously, with his strength coming against left-handed pitching, Young’s playing time will likely be limited.

Bradley is the only left-handed hitter out the bunch of starting Red Sox outfielders, so he would be the most likely candidate to be in a platoon with Young. Bradley is expected to be the team’s primary center fielder in 2016, so when the Red Sox face a lefty, moving Mookie Betts to center and getting Young into the line-up would make a lot of sense.

That being said, Bradley was actually better against left-handed pitching last season, although in an extremely limited sample size. His elite defense play and possibly ability to hit lefties may be enough to keep Bradley in the line-up all of the time. In that case, perhaps Young steps in for Castillo at times against lefties?

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It will be interesting to see how it all plays out, but adding Young gives the Red Sox many different options. They now have talented outfielders who can make a difference on a day-to-day basis. Finding enough time for them all may be difficult at times, but having too much depth is never really a bad thing.