Chris Young will pitch for the Nationals tomorrow. Of that he is certain. What comes next, and what uniform he will be pulling on Tuesday, remains an open question.
If the Nationals do not add Young to the 25-man roster by the end of today – which would take some kind of freak occurrence or injury – he will be free tomorrow to opt out of the minor league contract he signed in February. That decision would then take 24 hours to take effect.
Young is scheduled to start tomorrow when the Nationals travel to Kissimmee to play the Astros, which will happen whether or not he opts out of his deal. While Young would be interested in staying with the Nationals, he would leave the organization if it meant a guaranteed major league deal. Young has not spoken to other teams directly, but he said his agent has indicated he will have options.
“There’s interest, yeah,” Young said. “I’m not going to get into the details of it, but there’s opportunities. I’m just trying to decide what the best fit is with a lot of different ways. There’s just so many considerations. I can’t get into every hypothetical. Once I have all the information, I’ll evaluate and see.”
The Nationals hold Young in high regard and hope to keep him. They made starting pitching depth a priority this offseason, and they see Young as their clear best option behind their established starting five. “He’d be the guy,” Johnson said.
Young has enjoyed his experience with the Nationals and appreciated how they have handled his situation. Still, his clear priority is to pitch in the majors. Young would not value playing in the minors for a contender like the Nationals over guaranteeing himself a spot in a big league rotation.
“Syracuse doesn’t play in the World Series,” Young said.
If Young cannot find a major league suitor, though, he would gladly stick with the Nationals. He has found them accommodating as he prepared for the season and handled his contract status.
“They’ve been unbelievable,” Young said. “It’s just a first-class organization, top to bottom. There’s not a bad thing I could say about this place. They’ve done it right the whole time.”
In two major league starts this spring, Young has allowed four earned runs over 12 innings, allowing nine hits and six walks while striking out seven. In his last start, Young shut out the Marlins for five innings, using his deceptive arm angle to offset a fastball that hummed between 79 and 83 mph.