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

Bay-watch finished, Mets' winter looking up

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, CBSSports.com 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.

Posted on: December 10, 2009 6:06 pm

Slow meetings, price of pitching and more

INDIANAPOLIS -- As baseball executives made like Indy 500 cars and sped toward the airport around midday Thursday -- braving freezing temperatures, a biting wind and ice-covered trees along the way -- the one clear thing that emerged from a mostly slow-paced winter meetings was predictable:

The best hedge against an economy that is squeezing many is if you making your living pitching a baseball.

When Brad Penny, 31 and released by the Red Sox last summer before he hooked on with San Francisco, signed a one-year deal for a $7.5 million base salary plus another $1.5 million in incentives with St. Louis, it raised more than a few eyebrows.

When Randy Wolf, 33 and having missed time with both shoulder and elbow injuries during the past four years, signed a whopping three-year, $29.75 million deal with Milwaukee, it practically raised the roof of the Indianapolis Marriott.

And when Rich Harden, who seems to be stricken with some type of injury every 100 pitches, signed a one-year deal for $6.5 million with Texas ... well, let's just say that ought to scotch any collusion accusations from owners.

"In all honesty, we came into this thing without expecting to be a player for starting pitching," Astros general manager Ed Wade said. "We were prepared to pay significant money for Randy Wolf a year ago, but because of the economy we had to back out.

"Guys at the top of the market are going to get their money."

Indeed. In the case of Wolf, three years is what it took to get him. The Mets were one of the teams offering two years.

"With Penny, [new Houston manager and former Boston bench coach] Brad Mills said that just before he was released by Boston, he started to get his arm strength back," Wade said. "He showed he was healthy in San Francisco.

"On a one-year deal, it makes sense. If there's a bounce back, it can be a big bounce back."

-- Still, more teams than not left Indianapolis with long to-do lists, without having accomplished much of what they need to before spring training  draws too much closer. A large part of the reason is because the deadline for a club to tender contracts to its arbitration-eligible players -- Saturday -- comes after the winter meetings. Probably somewhere close to 100 or more free agents will flood the market after that. "From the GM's point of view, we all wish more trades were made," Cubs GM Jim Hendry said. "It was slower than we all anticipated. There are so many free agents, and there will be more after Saturday. If you can come to a deal with a player without giving up prospects, then that's the way to go."

-- You've heard of "location, location, location" in the real estate business, but it was a key to getting the three-way trade between Detroit, the Yankees and Arizona done this week, too. Diamondbacks' GM Josh Byrnes was able to drive over and see Ian Kennedy pitch in the Arizona Fall League this fall, and his first-hand scouting of Kennedy helped move along the discussions.

-- One other thought on the three-way deal: Several baseball people wondered in the aftermath of the deal whether Arizona knows something about the two young pitchers it sent to Detroit, Max Scherzer and Daniel Schlerer, like whether they're injured.  One scout who saw each toward the end of the year said he doesn't think that's an issue, but did say he thinks each is a long-term health risk given the way they pitch with maximum effort and given each's body type. OK, fine. But remember, people have been saying that for the past few years about a guy in San Francisco, fella named Tim Lincecum.

-- Atlanta left with an excess of starting pitching and still hoping it can acquire a middle of the lineup bat. The Braves will continue to field inquiries about starters Javier Vazquez and Derek Lowe, and they probably will have to absorb some of either's contract to get a deal done. Vazquez, the more likely of the two to be traded, is owed $11.5 million in 2010, Lowe is due $45 million over the next three years.

-- Seattle GM Jack Zduriencik on the Mariners' talks with free agent slugger Jason Bay. "We've left our options open to acquire more talent. There are several ways we could go about that."

-- Zduriencik on Seattle's winter so far: "We're very satisfied, certainly, with signing Chone Figgins. We restructured Jack Wilson's contract, locked him up for the next two years. We brought Ken Griffey Jr. back. As we sit here today, we have three pieces that are very important to next year's club. We still have flexibility with Figgins [who can play third base, second or left field}. We needed a guy like Chone. We targeted him from the get-go."

-- Most likely trade partner with Toronto for Roy Halladay remains the Los Angeles Angels. Philadelphia was said to be talking with Toronto, but Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro said Thursday "there's nothing likely" regarding a trade with the Blue Jays. If the Angels would include shortstop Erick Aybar -- doubtful -- that would be key to getting a deal done.

-- If the Angels can't reach an agreement for an extension with Halladay -- who has one year and $16 million remaining on his contract -- then they would accordingly reduce the level of the package of players they ship to Toronto.

-- The Phillies were in trade talks with Atlanta for Rafael Soriano "pretty deep", according to Amaro, before Tampa Bay acquired the reliever.

-- The Mets made offers to two free agents, outfielder Jason Bay and catcher Bengie Molina, just before departing the meetings Thursday, sources close to the team said.

-- One NL executive's prediction as he wheeled his suitcase through the Marriott lobby Thursday: Jason Bay winds up signing with Seattle and Matt Holliday with Boston.

-- The Cubs, in the market for a center fielder, very well could wind up signing one of two free agents, either Mike Cameron or Marlon Byrd. Cameron played for manager Lou Piniella in Seattle. "As a player and a person, I have the utmost respect for him, there's no question," Piniella said. "I had him in Seattle and got along with him very well. He's a guy that, he can play. He likes to play."


Posted on: December 7, 2009 6:48 pm
Edited on: December 7, 2009 7:20 pm

Angels talk Halladay, Lackey, Bay -- not Holliday

INDIANAPOLIS -- Owner Arte Moreno said nearly a month ago that free agent outfielder Matt Holliday will not be an option for the Angels, and GM Tony Reagins said here Monday that the club's position on Holliday remains "unchanged."

So congratulations to Holliday, who ranks as one of the precious few players in whom the Angels are not interested. Apparently, Moreno did not enjoy doing business last winter with Holliday's agent, Scott Boras, when the Angels made a losing bid for slugger Mark Teixeira (who wound up signing with the Yankees, of course). 

Otherwise, count slugging outfielder Jason Bay as one of their targets -- as Moreno also said last month -- free agent pitcher John Lackey and, especially, Toronto ace Roy Halladay. The Angels remain highly engaged in attempting to find a way to land him.

While Reagins would not confirm individual names after arriving here late Monday afternoon, neither did he dismiss anybody out of hand -- other than Holliday. Several sources confirmed the Angels' varying degrees of interest in the other players to CBSSports.com Monday.

Reagins, one of the last GMs to check into the hotel here at 5:20 p.m. Monday, was greeted by a phalanx of television cameras from Japanese stations in anticipation of the Angels' possible interest in free agent designated hitter Hideki Matsui.

"That was kind of surprising. ... He's a person we've talked about, along with several others," Reagins said. "We have a player, Vladimir Guerrero, who fits the same role. There are a lot of scenarios out there for us."

Guerrero, however, also is a free agent and the Angels' degree of interest in bringing him back seems limited.

"He's in our thought process," Reagins said. "That will be developing as well. He's going to see what options are out there for him."

Compared to the others, Guerrero appears in the Angels' afterthought process. Their top target clearly is one of these three players, probably in this order:

-- Halladay. Reagins declined to address the ace pitcher specifically because, of course, clubs can be fined for tampering while discussing players on opposing teams -- even if the club is attempting to trade the player, as the Blue Jays are Halladay.

"Starting pitching is difficult to come by," Reagins said. "Right now we have four real good starting pitchers [Ervin Santana, Jered Weaver, Joe Saunders and Scott Kazmir]. We have three or four others who could land in the fifth spot. We feel good about the rotatoin as it stands right now, and if we need to make adjustments, we will."

-- Lackey. The Angels are scheduled to meet with Steve Hilliard, Lackey's agent, later tonight.

"We have several options and Lackey is one of them," Reagins said. "There are opportunities we've been working on leading up to these meetings."

-- Bay. Several clubs are after one of the premier bats on the market this winter, including the Red Sox, Mariners, Angels and others.

"He's a guy we find appealing," Reagins said. "We'll see where it takes us."

As for losing leadoff man Chone Figgins, who is on the verge of signing a four-year, $36 million deal with Seattle this week, Reagins said "we felt our offer was strong. We thought it was fair and reasonable." He declined to say what it was.

Posted on: October 2, 2008 3:46 am

Baywatch in Southern California

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Manny who?

Jason Bay wasted no time in stamping his name into Boston postseason lore, ripping a two-run homer against Angels starter John Lackey in the sixth inning to send Boston toward a 4-1 Game 1 victory over the Los Angeles Angels here on Wednesday.

Yes, one day into October, and already we're on a collision course. You can see it from here: Manny Ramirez and his Dodgers traveling into Fenway Park to face Boston come World Series time.

The Dodgers knocked off the Chicago Cubs in Wrigley Field on Wednesday, the Red Sox are rolling, Bay adjusted following two strikeouts to crack a homer and a double.

All this, and the last time Bay played in such a big game?

Well, um, ah ... he spent the past four years with Pittsburgh.

OK, so the last time Bay played in <em>any</em> kind of playoff game?

"I don't know," he was saying the other day. "Little League?"

Someone actually asked him about that and he gently explained that it was so long ago and it didn't really register much.

"I've been in playoff games since I got here," said Bay, whom Boston acquired on July 31 in the three-way deal that sent Ramirez to the Dodgers. "That's what it's felt like.

"All the hoopla when I was traded, the only time I felt comfortable was at 7:05 when the game started. And I assume it will be no different (in Game 1)."

He quickly confirmed that notion. Following two strikeouts, he erased the Angels' 1-0 lead by jacking a two-run homer that put Boston ahead for good.

Angels catcher Mike Napoli was set up outside, but Lackey missed with a fastball and, see ya.

"The first two at-bats, I never faced Lackey and he has that good breaking ball and he got out ahead of me," Bay said. "Out of his hand, it was looking pretty good and, finally, the third at-bat, he threw me one that wasn't getting over and I felt like I got into a better rhythm.

"I was behind in the count in the first two at-bats and that one I was, too. But I felt like, OK, I'm seeing the ball. The first couple of at-bats, I didn't really see it."

Once he started seeing it, look out.

And now Boston is off in the right direction, which is hugely important being that Josh Beckett was unavailable for Game 1 and third baseman Mike Lowell was playing with a bad hip.

Somehow, things are still set up very well for the defending World Series champs.

Category: MLB
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com