Friday, November 20, 2009

Will Jason Bay Sign With The Yankees?

Outfielder Jason Bay has declined the Boston Red Sox offer of a new contract and is now testing the free agent market. Bay wants a five year deal worth $75 million although he is open to a four year deal worth $60 million. The Red Sox apparently weren't willing to offer Bay any contract beyond three years.

Naturally Bay will have a lot of suitors. The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, St. Louis Cardinals, Toronto Blue Jays, Seattle Mariners and New York Mets are all said to be interested in obtaining Bay's services.

I, for one, wouldn't count the New York Yankees out of the mix.

Both Johnny Damon and Hideki Matsui are free agents. Despite winning the World Series MVP, it is unlikely Matsui will be back in 2010. He is strictly a DH and if the Yankees have a choice between the two they'll keep Damon who can still play the outfield. But even if the Yankees keep Damon one must keep in mind that he just turned 36 earlier this month. Bay is five years younger and is at the peak of his career.

Now the same could be said of fellow free agent outfielder Matt Holliday who turns 30 in January. But the Yankees just to love to stick it to the Red Sox. Wouldn't signing Bay away from the Red Sox (as they did with Damon) be the act of an evil empire? Besides I'm sure the Yankees would rather deal Bay's agent Joe Urbon than have to deal with Scott Boras even if they did sign Mark Teixeira a year ago.

This isn't to say that Bay has played his last game in a Red Sox uniform. Urbon is keeping the lines of communication open with the Red Sox. If Bay does agree to patrol the Green Monster he'll probably sign for four years, $60 million with a club/player option for the 2014 season.

But if the Sox lose Bay (to the Yankees or anyone else) and can't work out a deal with Boras to sign Holliday then ex-Marlin Jeremy Hermida will most likely be tapped to play left field next year. Hermida would then be in the awkward position of not only filling the shoes of Bay but standing in the large shadows cast by Manny Ramirez, Jim Rice, Carl Yastrzemski and Ted Williams. If Hermida isn't up to the task then it could be a very long year at Fenway Park in 2010.

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