Wednesday, March 20, 2013

After strong start, decision time for Young

USA Today Sports Images
Right-hander Chris Young tossed five scoreless innings against the Marlins.
JUPITER, Fla. -- Chris Young knows he has a decision to make this weekend. And he knows what his choice will be, if presented with the opportunity to opt out of his minor-league contract with the Nationals and sign a major-league deal with another club.

"I do feel like I'm a big-league pitcher," the veteran right-hander said. "To turn down a big-league opportunity to go to Triple-A is probably not in my best interest. If I'm weighing Triple-A options, this would be at the top of my list. If I'm comparing a big-league opportunity to a Triple-A option, I think you guys would all do the same thing."

If Young was hoping to make a late push to convince another team he's good enough to start in the majors come April, he certainly picked an opportune time to do it this afternoon at Roger Dean Stadium. He tossed five scoreless innings against the Marlins, scattering two hits and a walk and needing only 64 pitches during what was by far his best outing of the spring.

Young's velocity still doesn't wow scouts -- he topped out today at 84 mph -- but he proved effective against Miami's lineup, retiring eight batters in a row at one point and even inducing three swings-and-misses out of the fearsome Giancarlo Stanton.

"I don't know where my velocity is [and] I really don't care," he said. "I've never relied on velocity. And actually, when I've had better velocity, I've given up more foul balls and not as many quick outs. So sometimes it's run my pitch count up. So I really don't pay attention to it."

Now comes the biggest question regarding Young this spring. Free to opt out of his deal with the Nationals on Sunday, the 33-year-old must wait and see if another organization offers him a chance to pitch in the majors come Opening Day. If not, he'll report to Class AAA Syracuse and wait for the Nationals to summon him at some point along the way.

The Nationals' perspective on the matter is clear: They want Young to stay and serve as insurance in case one of their five rotation members gets injured.

"He's a heck of a pitcher," said manager Davey Johnson, who plans to start Young Monday night against the Astros. "He knows how to pitch. We've certainly had troubles with him when we faced him, and he's the same kind of guy. He reads hitters well, mixes his pitches up, doesn't give in to anybody."

Young said he'll talk to his agent, Jon Fetterolf, and meet with Johnson, pitching coach Steve McCatty and general manager Mike Rizzo in the next few days and try to determine both the interest from other clubs and what the Nationals have in store should he remain in the organization.

"There's a lot of stuff that I'm going to have to evaluate," the 2007 All-Star said. "I love it here. I've had a great spring. I love being around these guys. It's a lot of fun. Just being around a winning team, it's so much fun. You can tell how good this team is, and it's fun to be around. ...

"There's nothing not to like about being here. But I'm realistic that this staff is so deep there's 12-14, maybe 15 pitchers deep here. There are a lot of guys who wouldn't be good enough to make this staff."

32 comments:

Gonat said...

He really did pick a good time to pitch well. I believe he's the Nats best #6 option. Zach Duke just hasn't shown anything this Spring and Ryan Perry has shown less. What are the other choices? Stamman and Maya. Bleh.

SonnyG10 said...

After today, it seems to me there is a good chance he will get an offer from another club. I'll keep my fingers crossed and hope for the best.

Gonat said...

SonnyG10, same here but there could also be others in the same situation.

Chien-Ming Wang worked out for the Yankees but they aren't willing to give him a MLB deal. Seems nobody is stupid enough to do that (kidding of course)

Theophilus T. S. said...

I would think there wouldn't be much of a market for a pitcher who can't throw harder than R.A. Dickey -- and doesn't have a knuckler.

timeless46 said...

Why do I think we will really miss Gorzelanny

Theophilus T. S. said...

I guess we'll know how much Gorzelanny is missed when we see how Duke et al do. The 2012 Gorzelanny was pretty good; the 2011 version OK but not memorable. The way the reliever market went I'm just as happy the Nats won't have to kick themselves at the end of the season for giving a two-year deal to someone who couldn't pitch well three years in a row.

Theophilus T. S. said...

If Burnett doesn't start doing better for the Angels we may find we don't miss him either.

realdealnats said...

Any way Chris Young goes to the pen as a long reliever for Duke? I know it leaves us with no left handed relievers but everyone seems to be saying it doesn't really matter anyway.

John C. said...

Tom Gorzelanny was really really good last year as long as it really really didn't matter. I had this as a general impression, and after he left I went and looked it up. If you look at his stats on Baseball Reference, you will see that the closer the game, the higher the OPS he surrendered. In "late & close" situations he gave up an .822 OPS; .823 in a tie game. As the score diverged, for 1, 2, 3, 4, or >4 runs, the opponent OPS was .804, .794, .790, .765, .587. When the Nats were more than four runs ahead or behind, Gorzelanny was lights. out. Splits of .211/.291/.296. But when the game was hanging in the balance he was eminently hittable.

John C. said...

So, in short, I disagree with timeless46, and shan't miss Gorzelanny at all in 2013.

baseballswami said...

Bullpens are a strange alchemy. Hanrahan was so-so here, great in Pittsburgh. Capps was great here and now is out of a job. It's got to be the toughest aspect of a team to build and count on. Cross your fingers and toes and hope for the best.

sjm308 said...

I have long supported Henry and had hope against hope that he would right the ship. It is becoming clearer to me that the ship has a pretty big leak. My question is: People have always said that as soon as we try and send him down someone will gamble and scoop him up. Would they still do that the way he has pitched this spring and last year? If we can get him through waivers and keep him in AAA to once again hopefully refine his talents at least it does not hurt the big club. I am already gearing up to not seeing him this spring in DC. If he is moved, would they move Young to the bullpen or is he basically a starter no matter what?

Thanks as always.

Gonat said...

sjm308, yes, someone will scoop up Henry and try to teach him to be a pitcher. It probably won't work. His problem is in his head unfortunately.

baseballswami said...

I still say they find a way to start him on the DL one more time. Check his teeth. Or maybe his buttocks. Got to be something amiss.

baseballswami said...

Whose buttocks did we pray for? I can't remember. Bowden era.

Sec. 3, My Sofa said...

Jesus Colume. "We pray for his family, and his buttocks," Bowden said.

Sec. 3, My Sofa said...

*Colome

Gonat said...

Only JimBo!

baseballswami said...

Ah, the bad old days...

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Nats at Disney World today!

Gonat said...

baseballswami said...
Ah, the bad old days...
___________________________

The good old days when you consider 3 years ago a pitcher like Chris Young would come here and be the #3 pitcher and today he doesn't have a chance at being the #5 pitcher.

That's called progress.

Rabbit34 said...

Big mistake on Young's part if he moves on. It won't be long before he is pitching in place of our of the starters.

Section 135 said...

If Rizzo is serious about winning then Henry should be on his last legs. He has shown over and over again that he is who he is, an inconsistent , wild, headcase who can't help a team trying to win. I would rather risk losing Henry than Young, who may still work well out of the pen, provides insurance and seems to be a good clubhouse guy. I can;t think of any scenario other than a blowout where Henry could help this team. He single-handedly lost at least 3 games last year. Let him go.

Tcostant said...

Seems like Rizzo blew it on one front. I understand the opt-out for a major league deal, but the interesting part of this Young say he can sign a minor league deal elsewhere. If a team says to him come to the minors now and once the early off days are over will bring you up, then he will be gone. Rizzo should have made the opt-out clause for only a mahjor league contract.

blovy8 said...

There are a lot of bad teams where he would start, but I also think Young could get a decent offer from the Rangers if they're tired of Detroit wanting too much for Porcello.

TimDz said...

Rabbit34....

Your handle would be better served if you changed it to Donkey34...as in Eeyore...

John C. said...

Tim, as tempting as it is, please don't feed the trolls :)

Sec. 3, My Sofa said...

Rizzo should have made the opt-out clause for only a mahjor league contract.

And then put a gun to Young's head and said "Sign the [AB] paper, Martin, or you're dead!"

I wonder, would that work?

Sec. 3, My Sofa said...

I think Young, if we can take what he's quoted as saying at face value, would take Syracuse over another AAA gig, unless the pay was much better, or the promise of a call-up included, for instance, another opt-out if he's not up by, say, May 1. He can read the same stuff we can--he knows the odds of getting called up here are good, but not sure.

Sec. 3, My Sofa said...

As was already pointed out, Vegas odds don't predict baseball, they predict how people will bet on baseball. That said, how's their track record at predicting finishes? Anybody know?

Sec. 3, My Sofa said...

And FWIW, just before the season starts, and when the numbers are released, is the only time you'd ever bring this up. And it's as worthwhile a topic as any on a slow day in spring training on a baseball blog.

natsfan1a said...

OT but this thread is old anyway, I love your new pic, sec3. It makes me happy. That is all.

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