Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Jason Bay Signs With Mets

Outfielder Jason Bay has signed a four-year, $66 million contract with the New York Mets. There is an option year available for 2014.

The 31-year-old had been with the Boston Red Sox since being acquired on July 31, 2008 from the Pittsburgh Pirates in the three team deal which sent Manny Ramirez to the Los Angeles Dodgers. In 2009, Bay hit .267 with 36 home runs and 119 RBI. Bay led the Red Sox in HR, RBI and walks.

To remain in Boston, Bay wanted a five year deal worth $75 million. The most the Sox would offer him was $60 million over four years. When you consider that the Sox were willing to offer John Lackey, a number three starter, $82.5 million over five years one can only conclude the Sox did not make a serious effort to re-sign him.

Actually, Bay was in the Mets organization before. Originally drafted by the Montreal Expos in 2000, Bay was traded with pitcher Jimmy Serrano to the Mets for Lou Collier prior to the 2002 season. But Bay's stay with the Mets was shortlived. After stints with the St. Lucie Mets in the Florida State League and the Binghamton Mets in the Eastern League he was traded to the San Diego Padres on July 31, 2002.

Bay would make his MLB debut with the Padres the following season before being traded again to the Pirates. It was in Pittsburgh he would blossom becoming NL Rookie of the Year in 2004 - the first Pirate to be so honored. When you consider all the rookies who played with the Pirates - Bill Mazeroski, Roberto Clemente, Willie Stargell, Al Oliver - it is quite an accomplishment.

As for the future, the presence of Bay in the Mets lineup should be of help to David Wright. With injuries to Carlos Beltran and Carlos Delgado, Wright did not see a lot of good pitches. He hit a career low 10 home runs and did not drive in 100 runs for the first time since his rookie season in 2004. Bay, Wright and a healthy Beltran could be formidable. Bay's easy going attitude is also a nice antidote to Delgado's sometimes sour disposition.

But even with the addition of Bay the Mets still need starting pitching after Johan Santana. While there is every reason that Bay will make a positive contribution at Citi Field the jury is still very much out on the 2010 New York Mets.

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