Kansas City Royals manager Ned Yost has decided to finally stop the bleeding by sending starter Chris Young back to the bullpen, according to Kansas City Star beat writer Rustin Dodd:
I guess late is better than never, but pretty much every baseball fan with three functioning brain cells had this move figured out weeks ago. Yes, there’s a problem with who will replace Young in the KC Royals rotation. But, pretty much any replacement-level starter with a pulse would be better than Chris Young right about now.
Just how many home runs did Young have to give up before Ned recognized the problem? The answer, of course, is a mere 26 in 60.0 innings.
Ned Yost and the Kansas City Royals front office have achieved great things with patience. A less balanced group would have squandered a championship club before they gelled in the second half of 2014. But, sometimes your strength can turn into your weakness, which has been the case this season with Chris Young.
In many ways, I think Chris Young’s unexpected success last season for the KC Royals (11-6, 3.06 ERA in 123.1 IP) caused his downfall. Hitting coaches around the league have discovered the keys to preparing their teams to face Young as a regular starting pitcher, which has led to them looking for that high fastball. When deception and slight of hand are the basis for your success, scrutiny is your worst nightmare.
There’s some hope that Young can perform much better as a long reliever. His height and his deceptive, long-armed delivery will play better following harder-throwing pitchers. Also, batting coaches will not focus nearly as much effort preparing their teams to face Young. All of that is to the good.
Chris Young signed a well-deserved $11.6 million, two-year extension with the Kansas City Royals before the 2016 season. That deal need not become an albatross if Young moves to the pen. Young only needs to produce about 1.5 WAR (Wins Above Replacement) to justify it, which works out to about 0.75 WAR per season. That’s not out of reach for a long reliever that soaks up more than one inning in his outings.
Let’s just hope that KC Royals general manager Dayton Moore can find some help during the major-league swap fest before the August 1 non-waiver trade deadline.