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: Sep 5, 2006
Posted on: December 30, 2009 8:49 am

Bay-watch finished, Mets' winter looking up

No one on the Mets hit many home runs last year.  Total for the year was 95, total at home was 47.  What does it say when your most prodigous home run hitter is Daniel Murphey with 12? Jeff Francouer led the team with 15, but I think half of those were with Atlanta.  This is just speculation, but the timing is incredible: was this drop-off in home runs due to the new ballpark (Citifield) or the Mitchell Report?  I am not saying that any Met was on the juice, but David Wright was averaging over 30 homers a year.  Figure one-half to come on the road, and that would be 15.  Wright hit 10 homers all of last year, with 5 at home and 5 on the road.  If it were Citifield, then I would expect his home run total to be double with 15 on the road and 5 at Citifield.  I really hope that David's problem was mental and/or to someone trying to change his swing.

Now, will Jason Bay help the Mets?  Not as much as we would like.  As a right handed batter, if he pulls the ball to left, then it's an out.  I admit I known nothing about his stroke, but if he doesn't hit with power to right, then his numbers are not going to be that good.

My problem with the Mets is with the front office and ownership.  If the Wilpons want the Mets to have a championship team in 2010, then they should at least keep up with the Phillies.  It seems that every week, the Phillies are getting stronger and Mets are staying right where they were to begin 2009.  No trades for pitching.  Signing oft-injured help in the bullpen that already sucks.  I know many fans didn't like Brian Schneider, but replacing him with Bengie Molina?  I'm old and can probably outrun Molina; he averages about 15 homers a year.  Schneider is no power threat, but handled pitching well and would not have cost the Mets that much.  On top of that, I think Omar Santos will likely be the starter for the Mets anyway.

Since: Feb 2, 2008
Posted on: December 30, 2009 8:14 am

Bay-watch finished, Mets' winter looking up

I disagree...slightly...his homerun totals could go down for sure.  But if you remember pull hitters had no trouble hitting homeruns last year.  Wright was affected because it negated his opposite field power.  Also he changed his approach to hit for average and steal bases.

I do think the Mets need to follow the Yankees and just make Citi Field match Shea Dimensions.  That being said Bay can still hit 25+ there.  Regardlesss we needed another bat, and building your team around Carlos Delgado is not going to cut it.  Now we sign Molina and hope that the health of Beltran and Reyes return.

Since: May 15, 2008
Posted on: December 30, 2009 4:30 am

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. Yes the Mets are struggling but don't act like the Phillies are perennial winners. When a Mets fan proclaims they are World Series contenders it is no different from all the other teams fans who think their team has a chance. Phillies said that same phrase for like 50 years before they won anything.

Since: Aug 25, 2007
Posted on: December 30, 2009 3:55 am

Bay-watch finished, Mets' winter looking up

"..but I think that if the Phillies and their fans are looking at winning the division this year, they'll have to go through the Metropolitans to do it." they do every year??

Every year it's the same old story with Mets fans - "this is our year!"...."this year is different!"...blah blah blah. Most people have enough common sense not to stick their hand into the fire after they've been burned once. Mets fans just never learn. They'll keep putting their hands into the fire until they have nothing left but charred stumps.  Last year when Peter Gammons picked the Mets to finish ahead of the Phils in the East, one astute observer replied by saying "Who'd have known that joke would be so funny 3 years in a row."

Well it's still funny.

Since: Oct 15, 2008
Posted on: December 30, 2009 3:42 am

Bay-watch finished, Mets' winter looking up

name me one pitcher besides for halladay that isnt a question mark for the phillies ? i think our lineup is about even if we get molina and orlando hudson but the pitching staffs are not much different i mean the phillies number two is cole hamels if thats not a question mark idk who is

Since: Aug 22, 2006
Posted on: December 30, 2009 2:31 am

Bay-watch finished, Mets' winter looking up

You're all pathetic!!! The Mets could sign Jesus Christ and people would still say he sucked..

You're all just haters...this season will be different...There was alot of adjusting the team had to go through last season. The injuries just slowed the process, never allowing the team to gel or get used to the new ballpark..

This team will recover as long as Reyes can stay healthy and the pitching gives them a chance to win games. There is plenty of offense in this line-up. When the pitchers figure out how to pitch in the ballpark they will contend...

Since: Jun 19, 2007
Posted on: December 30, 2009 2:03 am

Bay-watch finished, Mets' winter looking up

The Mets needed to lock up a pitcher, not to say this bat and position wasnt needed, but Johan Santana coming back from another off-season surgery cannot shoulder this burden of being the only Mets starting pitcher able to get a win every time he takes the ball. But if you were to flip the script you can argue that many of Johan's starts that were blown because of the bullpen (duh) but also because they couldn't hit especially once Reyes, Delgado, Beltran went down.

But so is baseball. The only team that wanted Bay...needed Bay finally got their guy. Whether he wanted to join, well that's just something he's going to have to deal with for the next 4 years. C'Mon Jay its better than Pittsburgh!!

Since: Jan 20, 2009
Posted on: December 30, 2009 1:20 am

Bay-watch finished, Mets' winter looking up

Signed Scott Boras.  The Mets are still only the third best team in that division.  Until Manual is fired they will go nowhere.  The Phillies are by far the class of the National League. 

Since: Jan 20, 2009
Posted on: December 30, 2009 1:16 am

Bay-watch finished, Mets' winter looking up

I'm sorry to be rude, but you must have never watched baseball.  The Phillies staff is far superior to the Mets staff.  You talked about Hamels being a horrible #2.  Santana is coming off an injury and his numbers have gone down for two straight years.  The Phillies lineup is the best in the National Leage and they are now three deep as far as starters go.  Happ is one of the best young starters in the league.

Since: Oct 8, 2006
Posted on: December 30, 2009 12:46 am

Bay-watch finished, Mets' winter looking up

I really can't believe that reading through all of these posts, and no one mentioned that Bay is one of the best at on base percentage in the game.  Citi Field is big, and it's hard to hit homers, so you need to have people on base. He should hit for a lot of doubles and he should walk a ton.  Assuming that the Mets have finally figured out how to tie their shoelaces without injuring themselves, their lineup will be one of the most fearsome in the game- if not history.  No, I don't expect record breaking homerun totals, but where will the outs come from?  Obviously the Mets still have more work to do in terms of improving the depth of the team, and the pitching staff has a lot of question marks... but I think that if the Phillies and their fans are looking at winning the division this year, they'll have to go through the Metropolitans to do it.

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