Chris Young grateful for cross-town opportunity with YankeesChris Young talks about moving from the Mets to the Yankees in the same year
In any given year, a team's September call-ups can fall under a number of categories.
Some, like the majority of the Yankees' additions this year, are players who have been up and down from Triple-A all year coming back to provide extra depth; others, like catcher John Ryan Murphy last year, are made to get a player on the 40-man roster ahead of Rule 5 eligibility and/or give them a taste of "The Show" a little early; and yet others, like Antoan Richardson this season or Freddy Guzman in 2009, are specific role players brought in to flash their one attribute (in their cases, speed).
And then there's others like Chris Young, whose September "call-up" to the Yankees is, above all, a second chance to prove himself to everyone.
"It's great to have this opportunity. It's just my first day here, but from what I've seen of the vibe in the clubhouse and the coaching staff, it's a lot of fun right now," Young said Tuesday in his first meeting with the Bronx side of the New York media. "I'm just going to try to stay ready for whatever opportunity comes my way and make the most of it."
Just over 10 months ago, Young signed a one-year, $7.25 million contract with the Mets, a deal that both sides hoped was at best the second coming of the previous year's Marlon Byrd signing and at worst a flier on a guy who had shown potential in the past but hit just .200 with 12 home runs in Oakland in 2013.
It worked out more towards the latter, as Young hit .205 with eight homers in 88 games, steadily losing playing time until he was simply designated for assignment - a move the usually cost-conscious Mets knew would end in them eating all but a small chunk of his remaining salary.
"I went into the season expecting to do good things, and it just didn't work out," Young said of his time with the Mets. "In the 250 at-bats I had there, I should have done more, but I didn't, and when you struggle, you lose playing time. At the end my at-bats were few and far between, but that comes with the territory."
Young was designated for assignment on August 9 and released on August 15, so it was officially 12 days "between teams" until he was signed by the Yankees on August 27. A lot can happen in two weeks, but for Young, there was a little voice telling him not to give up on living in New York just yet.
"(Coming to the Yankees) is nice, and I got to keep my same place," he laughed. "I had a little time at home (in Texas) to see the family, and now I'm right back at it. I was just about through the process of getting my furniture out, but something told me to wait until the end of the season because you never know, you could end up back around here and you'll need your stuff … well, I ended up down the street!"
That turned out to be good self-advice, as the Yankees inked him and sent him to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, where he played in four of the RailRiders' final five games and went 3-for-15 as the regular right fielder.
Many assumed when he was signed that the intention was to bring up Young to provide outfield depth come September 1 - an assumption that also proved to be correct - and now that he's here, Young knows that the first five months of the season won't matter if he makes the sixth one count.
"I'm disappointed with what happened (with the Mets), but at the same time, you have to let it go," he said. "This is a new team, one that's on a playoff push right now, and there's no real reason to hold onto the past. What's done is done; all I can do is look at this as a fresh opportunity, and I'm very excited about it."
And, beyond the whole apartment thing, he gets a cool piece of history, being one of the few to have played with the Yankees and Mets in the same season.
"I don't know how often that's happened, but it worked out great for me," he said. "But to be able to say I had the chance to play for both the Mets and the Yankees, whether it was in the same year or 10 years apart, is exciting, and I'm grateful for the opportunity."