After hitting an disappointing .217/.296/.399 (92 OPS+) from 2012 to 2014--and jumping between four different teams--it seemed rather likely that Chris Young's career was almost over. His defense was certainly serviceable, but no team was going to make room for a below-average corner outfielder with a major platoon split. That platoon split, though, turned into a career resurgence.
Young was released by the Mets on August 15, 2014, and the Yankees picked him up as a free agent 12 days later. In 163 games for the Yankees, he hit .257 /.326/.465 (118 OPS+) with 17 home runs and 2.1 rWAR. The Yankees mostly used Young as a fourth outfielder and platoon bat against left-handed pitching, and he was phenomenal in that role, especially considering the Yankees paid him the league minimum in 2014 and just $2.5 million in 2015.
It's unsurprising, then, that he would parlay that success into a larger contract elsewhere, and he found that with the Red Sox. Ken Rosenthal reports that Young has signed a multi-year contract with Boston, pending a physical, the terms of which are currently unknown. While the righty slugger spoke of his interest in a full-time role, Young fits as their fourth outfielder behind Mookie Betts, Jackie Bradley Jr., and Rusney Castillo, with Brock Holt likely getting pushed to the infield. This gives them flexibility to use him as backup for Castillo and Bradley, who are still relative unknowns, and they could always trade from their surplus. I wouldn't be shocked if they stood pat with what they have.
#Yankees never played seriously for Young. Cashman: "We love Chris Young, He did a great job for us. Once we acquired Hicks that was it."— Joel Sherman (@Joelsherman1) November 30, 2015
As for the Yankees, the loss of Young could set up the recently acquired Aaron Hicks to take on his role, if the Yankees don't end up trading Brett Gardner. Hicks has hit left-handers almost as well as Young has, but doesn't seem to be as useless against righties. When you include their differences in fielding and versatility, losing Young might be an upgrade–if everything goes well.
I would have loved for the Yankees to re-sign Young to fill the role he had last year, but a multi-year contract seems like too much. Even though his 2016 could be almost as good as this past season, I doubt years beyond that would be any better than league average, especially since he's already at his age 32 season. He's also a much better fit in Fenway Park; Yankee Stadium is not the ideal ballpark for lefty mashers. I wish Young all the best in Boston, and hopefully he stinks against the Yankees.