Chris Young — the pitcher — was released by the Padres at the end of spring training. That looked like the end of the baseball line for the 38-year-old. And it was, but only on the playing side. He just took a job in the league office.
Major League Baseball just announced that it has appointed Young as Vice President, On-Field Operations, Initiatives & Strategy. Young will work under MLB Chief Baseball Officer Joe Torre and will report directly to Senior Vice President, On-Field Operations Peter Woodfork, this Monday.
Per the league’s news release, Young will work with MLB’s Baseball Operations and Umpiring Operations Departments on issues affecting play on the field, including the application of playing rules and regulations, on-field standards and discipline, pace of play and other special projects. Among his duties: ensuring that ballpark and field alterations meet MLB standards; working on MLB’s pace of play and game presentation initiatives; advising on on-field disciplinary issues; assisting with negotiations with umpires, players and Minor League Baseball; participating in issues regarding player safety, on-field equipment and wearable technology; and having a role in official scoring reviews submitted to MLB.
In the short term, this announcement means that Young’s 13-year playing career is over. He finishes it with a record of 79-67, a 3.95 ERA (103 ERA+) and a K/BB ratio of 1,062/502 in 1,297.2 innings across 271 games, 221 of which were starts. He appeared with the Padres, Royals, Mets, Rangers and Mariners.
As far as the longer-term implications, Young, a Princeton graduate, is getting involved in league operations at a relatively young age as far as these things go, in what sounds like a more substantive job that a lot of ex-players land. If he finds this work to his liking, he could be a pretty important figure in the game someday.