Chicago Cubs: Veteran hurler Chris Young could help club


Looking to shore up the back-end of the rotation, could the Chicago Cubs turn to veteran right-hander Chris Young on a short-term deal?

Coming off a World Series title with the Kansas City Royals, Young saw a mixed role with the club, making 34 appearances, including 18 starts for Ned Yost‘s club, pitching to a 3.06 ERA and 1.086 WHIP in 123 1/3 innings of work.

So far, there have been no official reports linking the Chicago Cubs to the 36-year-old righty, but this early in the offseason, that hardly means anything. Most recently, Kansas City was linked to having interest in their veteran, but where he winds up remains to be seen.

Now, I understand. Most Cubs fans want David Price, Zack Greinke or some combination of the two. Based on Theo Epstein’s comments this week, that doesn’t seem like a very probable outcome.

We’re talking in excess of $300 million for two players. If I was just being honest, which I’m known to do from time-to-time, I’d go out on a limb and say that the team would be better served focusing on the Ian Kennedy and Mike Leakes of the world – adding depth to the entire roster, rather than put all their eggs in one basket with Price or Greinke.

Throw Young into that category, as well.

He’s no-doubt past the prime of his career. But if he wants the chance to win, the Cubs offer an alternative to Kansas City, where he’ll likely get the chance to help the Royals defend their title and seek a third-straight American League pennant in 2016.

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In the last three years, Young has been consistent, if nothing else. I know that more than a handful of Chicago Cubs fans will immediately be turned off by his age, but, again, I preface my case for him based solely on a short-term deal.

Since 2012, the lanky journeyman is just above .500, totaling 403 innings and change for the New York Mets, Seattle Mariners and Kansas City. In 2014, he won American League Comeback Player of the Year after pitching 165 innings for the M’s – and followed that up this season with another solid campaign.

Of course, some numbers suggest he’s been the beneficiary of plus-defense in both of the last two seasons. His FIP indicates that he was really about a run-and-a-half worse than his earned run average indicated in both 2014 and 2015. With the Cubs’ at-times shaky defense, that could be a detractor for both sides.

Let’s not fool ourselves. Chris Young isn’t the type of guy you count on in Game 1 of the World Series. But he’s experienced, he’s weathered plenty of ups-and-downs in his career and he knows how to win – all of which make him valuable to Chicago in the near future.