Boston Red Sox sign outfielder Chris Young


The Boston Red Sox have agreed to a multi-year deal with free agent outfielder Chris Young.

We heard earlier this offseason that the Boston Red Sox were in the market to add another outfielder to bolster their depth and it appears they have done so with the acquisition of Chris Young.

Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal tweeted that a source revealed the Red Sox have reached an agreement on a multi-year deal for the 32 year old outfielder.

Terms of the deal have not yet been released, as the agreement is still pending a physical. Assuming everything checks out, an official announcement should be made later this week.

Young spent last season with the New York Yankees, where he hit .252 with 14 home runs in 318 at-bats. Throughout his career he has paired decent pop with a low batting average and a propensity for strikeouts. Young is a career .235 hitter that struggled for years to get on base at a reasonable clip before a move to the Bronx revived his bat. Fenway is another hitter-friendly park that is tailored to the strengths of his right-handed pull swing power, but let’s not pretend that Young is capable of supplanting any of the incumbent outfield starters on this Red Sox team.

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Don’t buy into the notion that adding Young means the Red Sox will look to trade one of their other outfielders. Mookie Betts obviously isn’t going anywhere and if the Red Sox did entertain offers for one of their other outfielders, Young shouldn’t be the top choice to replace them in the long term.

Instead we should expect to see Young filling the need for a right-handed bat off the bench. He’s an above average outfielder that the Red Sox needed to serve as insurance for unproven starters Jackie Bradley and Rusney Castillo. If either of them were to falter or go down with an injury, Young provides the team with a serviceable replacement, but he’s not the ideal for an everyday outfielder.

He’s a platoon player, although it’s not entirely clear who he would platoon with. Young hit .327/.397/.575 against left-handed pitching this year, but all three of Boston’s current starting outfielders hit over .300 against lefties this season. Young could presumably split time with the lefty-hitting Bradley if the .306 mark he posted this year against LHP proves nowhere near sustainable, but at this point we really don’t know if Bradley will struggle against lefties. Prior to his scorching run in August, Bradley never really hit well against anyone at the major league level.

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The Red Sox still have high hopes for Castillo, but the Cuban import does have a disappointing .302 OBP in 309 career at-bats. If he fails to live up to his contract then the Red Sox would be left scurrying for a backup plan. Brock Holt can play the outfield, but the team also needs him to be the primary backup in the infield. Making him an everyday outfielder extinguishes the versatility that makes him so valuable.

The organization lacks top-level outfield depth, at least until Andrew Benintendi is ready, which may not be in 2016 no matter how anxious they are to push the promising prospect through the system. Young gives them some added depth in the meantime, but don’t expect his arrival to signal a more significant shakeup in the outfield is on the horizon.

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The Red Sox will still need to make a move to clear a spot for Young on the 40-man roster, but that won’t be necessary until this deal becomes official in the coming days.