Well, it took almost a month, but it appears as if the Mets finally have their man. As was first reported by Mike Francesa on WFAN, the Mets and Jason Bay have agreed to a 4-year/$66 million deal (with a vesting option for a fifth year that would increase the deal to $80 million), pending a physical. You know I have been screaming on this space for awhile now for the Mets to get something…..ANYTHING…. done and this certainly is a big something. Of course I was hoping the something big was going to be a John Lackey signing or a trade for Roy Halladay but beggars can’t be choosers I guess.
Enough of the wishful thinking. Let’s get on to the business at hand and the ramifications the Bay signing has on the Mets. Bay, 31, is coming off a very productive season in which he hit .267 with 36 HR and 119 RBI in 151 games for the Red Sox. He is considered to be an average defensive OF with an above-average throwing arm. Yet, his zero errors and 15 OF assists paint a picture that his defense is better than advertised.
He has certainly proved himself to be extremely durable, averaging over 154 games played the past five seasons. As far as his character goes, Bay is a native of the quiet Pacific Northwest and is considered to be a true pro and a good locker room presence, though not the fiery leader that many Mets fans have been craving.
Bay can obviously handle the pressure bestowed by a rabid Northeast baseball fanbase as evidence by his success in Boston. Also, give the man props for at least making the expulsion of Manny Ramirez by the Red Sox more palatable for the organization. Those were huge, Hall of Fame shoes Bay had to fill and he did it admirably.
All of this being said, this is a risky signing, but one that Omar Minaya was almost forced into making because of the bitter taste Mets fans have been harboring for many months now. No doubt Bay is in his prime, but in year four and maybe five when Bay is 35 and 36 years old and is making over $15, this deal may look like a disaster. Only time will tell. My concern is that spending this sort of dough on a very good, but not great left fielder is going to limit the Mets from improving what really ails the team most right now….starting pitching.
There is nothing too enticing left in this year’s weak free agent pithing class, but next year, aces like Josh Beckett and Cliff Lee will likely be there for the taking. If this signing of Bay in any way hampers the Mets ability to go out and sign one of these guys to pitch alongside Johan Santana, I will consider it a bad move, regardless of what kind of numbers Bay puts up.
Next up, Bengie Molina. You gotta feel like it won’t be too long before he drops his demands now that the market is beginning to show its true colors.