Chris Young, who made a total of 24 starts for the Mets between the 2011 and 2012 seasons, has chosen to opt out of his minor league contract with the division-rival Washington Nationals. Under baseball's current collective bargaining agreement, players like Young — who played on a major league deal last year and signed a minor league deal before spring training this year — have the option to opt out of the contract if they do not make their new team's 25-man roster.
With Johan Santana on the shelf as he attempts to build arm strength for the season, Young, who underwent the same shoulder surgery that Santana did, clearly presents an alternative to Jeremy Hefner for the Mets' rotation. He'd also give the Mets a bit of starting pitching depth if Shaun Marcum should require any time on the disabled list this year, which wouldn't be a major surprise.
Young is said to be seeking major league playing time, and perhaps he wouldn't be interested in a reunion with the Mets because their rotation would theoretically be full if completely healthy. With Zack Wheeler knocking on the major league door, things might get even more crowded by the middle of June.
While the Mets could send Hefner to the minors right now without risk of losing him since he has an option remaining, the team would still have to clear a spot on its already crowded 40-man roster to make room for Young. It may be true that there's no such thing as too much starting pitching, but Young might not be much of an upgrade over the likes of Hefner and Collin McHugh. Young posted a 4.15 ERA and 4.50 FIP last year with the Mets, sporting decent strikeout and walk rates but yielding fly balls and, more importantly, home runs at an alarming clip.