NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Chris Young thinks he’s a New York kind of guy.
So when the Mets approached his representative shortly after the start of free agency, the 30-year-old outfielder was eager to reach a deal rather than test the market.
“It did give a peace of mind that I was looking for,” Young said Tuesday after completing a $7.25 million, one-year contract with New York. “I’m not a fan of waiting until the last minute and stretching out everything. I’d rather just know where I’m going and get it done.”
Young hit .200 with 12 homers and 40 RBIs last season for Oakland, which acquired him from Arizona as part of a three-team trade after the 2012 season. His best year was 2010, when he was an All-Star and batted .257 for the Diamondbacks with 27 homers and 91 RBIs.
Mets captain David Wright and manager Terry Collins helped recruit him.
“To hear it from a player’s perspective definitely made a difference,” Young said of Wright’s pitch. “He can tell me how things work, how (the Mets) go about their business, do they believe in themselves, the type of fans they have, the type of players they have, the stadium, the city, the fan base. All those things were brought into account to help me make this decision, and I’m happy with it.”
Young is eager for a “fresh start” in the Big Apple.
“I’ve always been excited about playing in the New York market,” he said. “Those kind of things intrigue me as far as, I like playing on big stages. I like big-game moments.”
Not that the Mets have seen many of those lately.
New York’s outfield combined to hit .238 this year (29th in the majors) with 50 homers (tied for 24th) and 209 RBIs (16th), according to STATS.
“We’re very excited to have him,” general manager Sandy Alderson said. “Chris has had a distinguished career to this point, and we think with regular playing time will be able to return to his All-Star-caliber performance from his days in Arizona.”
Young joins a projected outfield that includes Eric Young Jr. — the NL stolen base leader — and defensive whiz Juan Lagares, who may be slightly ahead of Young in the pecking order for center field.
“Playing center field has always been my natural position,” Young said. “Last year with the A’s, I did play some left and some right as well, but there was a learning curve and I did struggle at times with it early on, but as the season went on I was able to get more comfortable with it.”
While the Mets hope to be more active in the free-agent market this offseason, they have been taken aback by the prices. Shortstop Jhonny Peralta agreed to a $53 million, four-year contract with St. Louis, and catcher Brian McCann has a tentative $85 million, five-year deal with the Yankees.
“I think in some instances the contract amounts have gone way beyond what most would have predicted,” Alderson said. “In other cases they may be generally in the line. For example, I don’t know that anybody is terribly surprised about the McCann contract. I think people have been surprised about the Peralta contract.”
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