According to ESPN and the New York Post, the New York Mets are deep in talks with hurler Chris Young.

While Buster Olney says the Mets are “closing in on a deal” for the 31-year-old former All-Star, the Post is reporting that they are “not close” to signing the lanky right-hander.

I can understand why some people consider him a relatively cheap short term option; I just don’t see too much value in going after him.

His price tag is way too high for someone who will enter the season as an almost unknown quantity and the risk outweighs the reward.

Nobody knows just how his surgically repaired right shoulder will hold up under the rigors of a 150-inning campaign, and even if he does have a clean bill of health, the fact remains that he’s not really been a solid pitcher since 2007.

His velocity was down when he did pitch in four games in 2010 and, coupled with a highly restrictive budget, it just doesn’t make sense to blow it all on one aging guy who may or may not contribute much in the coming season.

The Padres, who paid him $11 million for the last two years, had a pretty simple decision to make in not picking up his hefty $8.5 million option for 2011 and the Mets should give him a wide berth, too.

I know the pitching rotation is in a state of flux with Johan Santana starting the year on the DL, but the team has holes all over the place, most notably in the bullpen now that Pedro Feliciano has declined arbitration.

Depending on who you believe, the Mets have anywhere from $5 to $10 million in the budget this year. They played a risky—but probably worthwhile—game in their dealings with Feliciano this past week, and they would be advised to pass on Young.

In short, Young isn’t the same pitcher—injury or not—that posted back-to-back seasons of double-digit wins. His strikeouts have been on the decline since 2007, his command has slowly worsened and hitters are doing a much better job of putting the ball in play. Young doesn’t have the stuff to make hitters scared and because of his declining skill set, they can wait on pitches in the zone and drive them hard somewhere.

The trend over the last three years that he was healthy is that a) batters are swinging at fewer pitches and b) making better contact with the pitches they do swing it. Young has no deception and no ability to blow guys away. It’s all fastball-slider and neither pitch can be considered a “plus” offering any more.

Fans tend to remember the 6’10” Young as the San Diego All-Star who consistently tossed low-90s fastballs on the black. The reality is he’s a mid-80s guy whose best days are behind him.

New York has the luxury of pitching in a pitchers’ park, so Young may very well be able to post a sub 3.75 ERA there. With the price and risk, though, it’s better to look for cheaper options elsewhere.

2011 is not the year to be inheriting risky arms with inflated contracts.

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