Blog Entry

Bay-watch finished, Mets' winter looking up

Posted on: December 29, 2009 4:35 pm
Edited on: December 29, 2009 5:21 pm

Whether he wants to or not, slugging outfielder Jason Bay is on the verge of becoming a New York Met. Bay and the club have agreed to terms on a four-year contract worth $66 million, has confirmed, with a fifth-year option that could boost the package into the $80 million neighborhood.

The deal is pending Bay passing a physical examination and, as such, the Mets are not confirming that an agreement is in place.

Barring any surprises with Bay's physical, the move will accomplishes one of the Mets' chief offseason goals, which was adding a slugger who will man left field and make manger Jerry Manuel's lineup more dangerous. It also should silence critics who were chattering that the Mets' dalliance with Bay was "just for show", a transparent attempt to placate their fans while making an offer they knew Bay would not accept.

In the end, they got it done.

Now, regarding the "wants to" part: The Mets made their initial offer to Bay coming out of the winter meetings in Indianapolis some three weeks ago and have been waiting for an answer ever since. Speculation, of course, has been strong in some quarters that Bay must not have wanted to become a Met very badly because, if he did, talks between him and the club wouldn't have dragged along for so long.

But in a chilly winter on the free agent market in which Boston cut bait with Bay and signed outfielder Mike Cameron, and Seattle, San Francisco and the Yankees -- all clubs looking for a big, middle-of-the-order bat -- Bay's options pretty much dwindled to just one. And that one was located with a Queens ZIP code.

However Bay was delivered -- and there's a lot of dollars here to sooth any disappointment the Canada native might have felt when Seattle didn't step up, or when Boston pulled its offer -- there is no doubt that it's a victory for the Mets.

It's not a guaranteed victory, because we've been through this before with them: They traded for Johan Santana two winters ago and signed free agent closers Francisco Rodriguez and J.J. Putz last winter and failed to make the playoffs both years. Much to their fans chagrin, the Mets have proven in recent years that they're a different breed and often add up to less than the sum of their parts would appear.

But they have needs to fill as the time since their last playoff appearance (2006) lengthens and the back-to-back NL champion -- and Mets' NL East rival -- Philadelphia Phillies (who already have traded for Roy Halladay and signed Placido Polanco this winter) continue to swing for the fences.

Though he's now 31, considered a mediocre outfielder and batted just .267 for the Red Sox last summer, he also walloped 36 home runs and finished with 119 RBI.

With a healthy Jose Reyes and Carlos Beltran (it's never too late to start knocking on wood in advance of opening day with them) and with slugging third baseman David Wright, Bay will give the Mets another presence that should make life difficult for opposing pitchers.

But their job is not finished. They still need a catcher -- free agent Bengie Molina remains the most logical bet -- and pitching (bullpen help, especially).

With the Mets, the job is never finished. But with Bay poised to change his workplace address to Citi Field, ever so cautiously, there again is hope.


Since: Aug 25, 2007
Posted on: December 30, 2009 2:12 pm

Bay-watch finished, Mets' winter looking up

"This is funny how a Phillies fan is talking about success. What do you mean every year. For 2 years you have been a good team. What about all those years prior."

The Phils have finished ahead of the Mets in the standings 8 of the last 10 years.  What decade are YOU living in??

Since: Apr 24, 2009
Posted on: December 30, 2009 2:06 pm

Bay-watch finished, Mets' winter looking up

You're an idiot...

Mets opponents had no problem hitting in Citi Field. The away tems hit more home runs there than the Mets did...The only player who struggled there was Wright...Reyes, Beltran, and Delgado missed way too much time last season.

I agree that Bay's numbers may go down, but he will stableize the lineup. Then again...he could have a great year.

Since: Sep 1, 2006
Posted on: December 30, 2009 2:00 pm

Bay-watch finished, Mets' winter looking up

I don't get this Citi field stuff.  The Mets hit more homers at home than they did on the road.  They gave up more home runs at home than they did on the raod.  They hit far fewer home runs in 2009 than they did in 2008, but they gave up about the same number in both years.  The Bay signing can't help but improve their power numbers. 

That said, Bay would have been a good signing at 10M/year.  The Red Sox tried to get him for $15M per, and that was way too high.  The Mets are out of their minds to go 16.5M/year.  I like Jason Bay, but he has little defensive range and is now playing on a club without a DH.  His downside over the next four years is substantial and his upside is zero. 

Since: Aug 24, 2008
Posted on: December 30, 2009 1:42 pm

Bay-watch finished, Mets' winter looking up

Not a good deal for the Mets, in a stadium that is not homer friendly they pick up a guy who batted .270.  This team needs players with averages closer to .300 who can get on base, steal and get the extra base hits.  Omar should be putting a team together that takes advantage of the stadium, not guys who will fail.  The Mets can only get guys who hit monster shots for homeruns, then they have a chance to get some out of Citifield. 

Omar needs to pick up players that would excel in Citifield, the powerally guys, the ones with high on base percentages and the guys that can run the bases.  We have now picked up someone who will fail at the plate and in the field.  Another brillant move by the worst GM in the game.  We also overpaid for this pending failure, so now Bay will get booed by fans, when in the end it's not his fault but our beloved GM who is totally clueless!

And Kudos to the Mets owners who built a stadium based on speed, pitching and defense all the qualitities that the current team lacks.  All the things the team lacked when they were planning the stadium.  Obviously planning is not the forte of Mets owenership, it's more like knee jerk reactions to situations.  They are not proactive, but reactive which will never make for a successful team.

Come next year when there are quality players in the free agent market, we will sit on the sidelines because the payroll is too high and suffer with the current team.  It may be time to reconsider rebuilding, start all over and move the players that we yield some young talent.  At least Met fans will be able to accept being in the cellar knowing that we are grooming young talent.  Right now the minor league system has few potential major league players, and if Murphy is the best we had in the system last year, well it speaks volumes for the job Omar has done.

By the way if Murphy is still the firstbaseman, the team will be lucky to finish 4th.  Not that it's Murphy's fault but you need power and/or production (runs and RBI) out of the corner positions.

Another disappointing year on the horizion, I am losing what little interest I have in baseball and will not continue to support this team until they have a plan in place that makes sense.  Getting free agents just to keep the fans happy is not the answer, this move does not make the team a contender, and this with the second highest payroll in the game.  This is an extremly flawed plan that will hurt this team for years to come.

Since: Sep 18, 2007
Posted on: December 30, 2009 1:35 pm

Bay-watch finished, Mets' winter looking up

Completely off the topic, but the picture on the MLB page of CBSsports with J Bay in the St. Patrick's Day uniform reminds me how aweful those uniforms are.  I use to love the Green Jerseys the Sox wore on St. Paddys day, but these new ones that double as their Earth Day uniforms are nothing short of gross.  Front Office at Yawkey Way, stop with these aweful shirts really it is embarrasing to those of us with Irish decent who embraced the Green uniforms that were originally intended to only be worn on March 17th.  Bring back this tradition, and lose the special Earth Day uniforms.

Since: Dec 29, 2009
Posted on: December 30, 2009 12:49 pm

horrible signing

His power numbers will take a serious hit, due to the fact that no one can hit homers in Citi field, and his defensive innabilities will be seriously exposed in that spacious outfield. I give it two months before the media and fans rip him to shreds! 

Since: Aug 16, 2007
Posted on: December 30, 2009 12:45 pm

In a Less Than Desirable Situation, Mets Sign Bay

Jason Bay agreed in principle to a four year, $66 million contract with the New York on Tuesday, officially ending his season-and-a-half stint with the Boston .

 While GM Theo Epstein never explicitly stated that the Sox were out of the bidding war with Bay, the writing was on the wall. Epstein signed veteran outfielder to a two-year deal, and used the money that would have gone to a long-term deal with Bay to sign right-hander .

The Bay signing has wide-ranging implications for several clubs, but the actual move should raise some perplexing questions. Of the free agent hitters available at the beginning of this off-season, Bay was second best behind Matt Holliday. Bay wanted to stay in Boston and the Red Sox hoped to keep him. But Bay insisted on the prospect of a fifth year of any type of contract, and the Sox remained resolute against it. When the Mets came calling with a similar four-year deal to what the Sox were offering plus a vested option for a fifth, Bay accepted the deal that he had been looking for.

But once the Sox had signed Cameron and Lackey, they were effectively out of the discussions for Bay. The Sox are less than $10 million away from the luxury tax limit for the 2010 season, and re-signing Bay would have put them over that limit. The St. Louis have focused solely on re-signing Holliday, thus removing one potential buyer for Bay. The , and also went after other players and dropped out from the Bay sweepstakes as well.

In the end, it appears as though the Mets were bidding against themselves. Due to a rash of injuries last season that sidelined seemingly the better half of their lineup for extended amounts of time, the Mets were in desperate need of a power-hitting outfielder, and it showed in the negotiations with Bay.

One of the biggest snag-ups about Bay was his defense, which often went unnoticed in the strange dimensions of Fenway Park. With no designated hitter in the N.L., Bay will have to play the outfield until he is 35 or 36, a prospect that deterred the Sox, especially for $16 million a year. Bay also displayed an unfortunate inability to connect on off-speed pitches and was prone to very cold slumps.

The Mets’ new CitiField is quickly becoming known as a right-handed hitters nightmare. Just ask : his home run total dropped from 33 in 2008 (the last year in Shea Stadium) to 10 at the new CitiField. Bay has spent most of his career in the N.L., so there should not be a terrible layover while he tries to become acclimated with new ballparks and pitchers, but the Mets would be foolish to expect a home run total in the high 30s from Bay.

But at least the Mets got their man. For the Red Sox, the search is on for some spark in the middle of the lineup. They remain the number one buyers for third baseman Adrian Beltre, who is an excellent fielder with some offensive upside. But if Beltre is the answer, that means that Cameron and Florida cast-off will patrol left field for the ’10 campaign. Combined with speedy and the mediocre , the Sox may field an outfield that has a legitimate shot to account for less than 30 home runs.

Other names are possibilities, such as ex-Yankee Xavier Nady, who would be a decent option in the outfield, but injuries limited him to only seven games in 2009. If the Sox were unwilling to go after Bay, they will definitely stay clear of Holliday, which means that any other move would have to come via a trade. And if the Sox were unwilling to unload the farm system to acquire , then the same can likely be said for the ’ .

Since: Feb 11, 2009
Posted on: December 30, 2009 12:45 pm

Bay-watch finished, Mets' winter looking up

reminds me of when they got Kevin McReynolds

Since: Jun 14, 2009
Posted on: December 30, 2009 12:35 pm

Bay-watch finished, Mets' winter looking up

What's this notion that Jason Bay is a mediocre outfielder? As someone mentioned he lead the AL in assists (granted he plays at Fenway with the short left field), and he didn't make many errors, had a good fielding percentage, 0.989 or something, and he also stole a few bases here and there, so I wouldn't call him a player "with no speed"

It's funny how everyone who played for Boston last year is considered a bad outfielder despite the statistics. First people crap all over Jacoby Ellsbury and now Jason Bay's getting trashed.

He'll do well with the Mets. 30 HRs and 100 RBIs with an average of at least .275. Count on it.

Also, you guys are all idiots. Plain and simple.

Since: Jan 5, 2007
Posted on: December 30, 2009 12:31 pm

Bay-watch finished, Mets' winter looking up

All right! My Mets signed Jason Bay! Woo-Hoo! There's only 1 thing standing between the Mets and an N.L. East Division crown now: All the other teams in the N.L. East.

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