Mets manager Terry Collins is planning to give Jason Bay a chance on the west coast road trip over the next next nine games, but if Bay doesn't start producing at the plate he will lose his starting job when the team returns home, people familiar with the situation say.
If Bay doesn't start hitting, Collins will turn more to Scott Hairston (assuming he isn't traded) and Mike Baxter, with Bay finding himself on the bench.
That may be their biggest July move. The Mets have looked at several relievers but don't want to negatively impact their future since they aren't contending at this point.
They are mostly relieved about passing on the Brewers' offer a couple weeks back to take Francisco Rodriguez and the $4 million on his contract in return for a fringe prospect. They've gotten hits on Hairston and lefty reliever Tim Byrdak but for the moment seem inclined to stand pat.
Bay has proven to be a tremendous worker, fearless outfielder and great team man but hasn't produced anywhere near the hope when the Mets signed him to a four-year, $66 million deal. His contract runs through 2013, but Collins must figure he can't wait much longer.
Bay's slide has worsened this year, as he's hitting .170 with five home runs and eight RBIs. He missed significant time after suffering a concussion while crashing into a wall, the second time that's happened since he joined the Mets. Overall, in 2 1/2 years in New York, he has 23 home runs -- or 13 fewer than he hit his final season in Boston.