The Red Sox have agreed to a multi-year deal with outfielder Chris Young, according to Ken Rosenthal:
Sources: #RedSox in agreement with free-agent outfielder Chris Young on a multi-year contract, pending a physical.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) November 30, 2015
While attention has been focused on Boston's needs on the mound, the Sox were always going to find themselves in the market for a fourth outfielder. As it stands, they're set to head into the season with Rusney Castillo, Jackie Bradley Jr., and Mookie Betts manning the outfield. That's three players who could prove quite productive, but also three players with a combined total of about 2,000 plate appearances. With Castillo also having struggled to stay healthy, having not just a backup outfielder, but one who could slot into a starting role without causing the Red Sox too much grief was important. And Brock Holt isn't enough, given that he's also backing up pretty much the entire infield.
Chris Young certainly seems to fit that bill. He hit .252/.320/.453 in 356 plate appearances for the Yankees in 2015, and while he's a good ways removed from his best years with the Diamondbacks, he's perfectly capable of manning a corner spot, and can cover center in a pinch if necessary. Frankly, given the playing time he received in 2015, it seemed unlikely that the Red Sox would even be able to land Young as a fourth outfielder.
But a fourth outfielder he is, make no mistake. There's been some small smoke around trading Jackie Bradley Jr., but the move for Young doesn't signal anything of the sort. For one, if the Red Sox did trade Jackie Bradley, they wouldn't be targeting Chris Young as his replacement. The Sox are pushing hard this season if the rumors about their interest in David Price are true, and you don't sign David Price only to put Chris Young in as a first-choice OF behind him.
Instead, Young is a great complement to Bradley. He can get some games against left-handed pitchers, who he holds a 122 career wRC+ against, with Fenway Park helping to make his natural pull swing particularly dangerous. In a way, the Red Sox went out and got their Jonny Gomes for 2015, but with less embarrassing defense.
So far, there's no details on the dollars or years. It's hard to imagine it's going to be egregious, but don't be surprised if the Red Sox went a little high to convince Young to come into a situation where there's no clear starting spot for him. He's not a first-division starter these days, no, but he likely could have found a starting role elsewhere, and the Red Sox aren't a team to quibble over an extra million or two.