Chris Young, a top G.M. Candidate, Chooses Rangers Over Mets


All the billions in the world, apparently, cannot change one stubborn truth about modern baseball: everything takes time. The Mets will have a general manager someday, and the new owner, Steven A. Cohen, will surely find players to take a small slice of his fortune. But for now, the industry is adjusting its batting gloves, stepping off the rubber and checking the defensive-alignment card tucked inside its cap. So we wait.

In normal times, executives and agents would be prowling the halls of a hotel in Dallas at the winter meetings this week. The pandemic canceled the event, but the Metroplex’s local team made some news. The Texas Rangers introduced the former pitcher Chris Young as their general manager on Monday, hiring a rising star who had interested the Mets for the same vacancy.

Young, 41, had been a vice president for Major League Baseball, handling player discipline, overseeing umpires and serving as the primary liaison between the commissioner’s office and field managers. He is the second general manager hired this off-season from the M.L.B. office, after Kim Ng of the Miami Marlins.

Cohen, whose record $2.475 billion purchase of the Mets closed on Nov. 6, had pledged to hire both a president of baseball operations and a general manager to work under Sandy Alderson, the new team president. Alderson, the general manager of the Mets’ pennant-winning team in 2015, quickly realized that teams have become increasingly protective of intellectual capital.

“These opportunities do not present themselves often, and I recognize what a special opportunity this is and I’m up for the challenge,” Young said. “To me, that’s everything. I am a competitor by nature and what the Texas Rangers mean to this fan base and this community and what they’ve meant to me — that, to me, is the most compelling aspect of this decision.”

Young is a big loss for the commissioner’s office. As a 13-year major leaguer who was playing as recently as 2017 — and who happens to be 6-foot-10 — he commanded respect and had a keen understanding of the game on the field, something many players find lacking from the league office.

Young’s formal role did not extend to labor relations, but it did not hurt to have a longtime player on staff — especially with the sides still unsure if pandemic-year rule changes (universal designated hitter, expanded playoffs, the runner on second base at the start of extra innings in the regular season) will be in play again for 2021. Young was a go-to resource for Commissioner Rob Manfred on everything from the composition of the ball to the impact of analytics on the pace of action. Those big-picture answers will have to come from elsewhere now.

“We’re in an era where there is countless information available,” Young said. “Has that impacted the style of play in our game? Probably, to some degree. And does it make for the most compelling entertainment value? That’s something the central office is evaluating.”

As for Young, he will be evaluating just one team now — far from New York, where a rich and ready superfan is learning all about the peculiar, plodding rhythms of the baseball winter.



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