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Royals sign Chris Young to one-year deal

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The extreme fly-ball pitcher inks an incentive-laden deal with a base salary of $675K.

Tall guy.
Tall guy.
Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

The Kansas City Royals and Chris Young have agreed to terms on a one-year deal per (I believe) Chris Fickett, as seen here:

The terms were laid out by Andy McCullough thusly:

This is a big-league deal, so assuming health Young is guaranteed a spot on the 25-man roster, though at a very low initial price if he is unhealthy or doesn't reach the benchmarks to yield incentive bonuses.

Young made inroads toward reestablishing himself as a viable major-league starter last year as he held down a 3.65 ERA in Seattle over 165.1 IP and 30 appearances, 29 of which were starts. One might point at his .238 BABIP last season as being unsustainable, but the Ivy Leaguer owns a career .251 BABIP, so that mark isn't that aberrant.

Back in November, Young was profiled here as a potential fit for the Royals. Given that Young stands at just shy of seven-feet tall, he has an extreme batted ball profile. This batted ball profile has allowed him to outperform his FIP and xFIP by significant margins--his 3.77 ERA stands 0.61 runs/points lower than his FIP and 1.05 runs lower than his xFIP. That batted ball profile fits especially well with the Royals strengths and ballpark. As I wrote at the time:

. . . [T]he 6'10" Princeton alum owns a 56.2% flyball rate. . .

His in-field flyball rate of 15.4% since 2006 is good for the seventh-best mark amongst hurlers with that same 200 inning threshold. Of course, IFFB% is calculated by taking the amount of in-field flyballs against the fly-balls induced, so Young being the most flyball prone of any pitcher in that time means that he's actually inducing more infield flies in total than many of the six guys in front of him. Of the top ten in IFFB% since 2006, Young is the only starting pitcher.

Young may not be the sexiest signing in the history of the franchise, and some may bristle at the notion of guaranteeing him a spot on the 25-man roster, but it would be difficult to argue that the Royals were set in terms of rotation depth to start the season.