October 4, 2013

Should He Stay Or Should He Go: Eric Young Jr.

Photo Courtesy Of @Lets86It
Eric Young Jr. was a man searching for an opportunity.  Never a regular fixture in the Colorado Rockies outfield, Young became expendable.  When the Mets finally demoted Ike Davis, sliding Lucas Duda over the first base, the team was in need of an everyday left fielder.  Sandy Alderson immediately sent AAA pitcher, Collin McHugh, to Colorado in exchange for Young's services.  Upon his arrival, Young received the opportunity he had been waiting for.

Whether or not Young seized his opportunity probably depends on what you expected from him.  If you were looking for a power hitting outfielder, aka the pipe dream the Mets had for Duda, well than Young was not your man.  If you were looking for a speedster capable of hitting leadoff, a role the Mets were lacking, and a significant defensive upgrade from the aforementioned Duda, well than maybe Young was your guy.

Young would go on to bat .251 for the Mets in route to stealing 46 bases on the season, good for second in all of baseball behind only Jacoby Ellsbury.  He also played top ten defense amongst his peers in left field.  Not an all-star by any means, but certainly a respectable showing given the circumstances.

The question now becomes whether or not he has earned the opportunity to be a member of the 2014 New York Mets outfield.  As per MLB Trade Rumors, the arbitration eligible Young is predicted to earn $1.9 million in 2014.  That's a raise of $1.5 million over his 2013 salary, one which I feel is both warranted and appropriate for a player of his caliber.  That said, while I think the Mets should do what they can to make sure Young remains on the roster next year, I don't think he should be the starting left fielder of the future.

There are better options available to patrol left field next season, but that doesn't mean Eric Young Jr. shouldn't be kept in the fold.  There hasn't been a Mets player since Jose Reyes who has caused the type of havoc Young managed on the base paths in 2013.  His speed is a game changer and although Young proved this season he is capable to playing a significant role when necessary, his skill set is better suited to see him as a fourth outfielder, a defensive replacement, and a late game pinch hit/pinch run option.  Basically, Young would be an excellent addition to the Mets' bench in 2014 and its for that reason he should stay.

Like what you've read?  You can follow me on Twitter at @RobPatterson83.

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