After posting his second consecutive subpar season for the Mets, Jason Bay proved his lucrative $66 million, four-year deal was a complete bust. And even though Bay did see his homerun total double (from 6 homeruns to 12 homeruns), he also saw a decline in batting average (from .259 to .245), on-base percentage (from .347 to .329), slugging percentage (from .402 to .374), and ISO (from .144 to .128).
Bay has a guaranteed $35 million over the next two seasons (including his $3 million buyout for 2014), which makes him an incredibly difficult person to trade. However, despite how bad Bay’s contract is, there is a good chance the Mets could swap him for today’s “Bad Contract of the Day to Swap Jason Bay With,” infielder Brian Roberts.
Up until 2010, Brian Roberts was one of the finest second basemen in baseball. From 2005 to 2009, the Baltimore Oriole owned a .294/.369/.451 line with an average of 13 homeruns, 64 RBI, 99 runs,37 stolen bases, and a 4.68 fWAR. The infielder also recorded positive UZR/150 from 2003 to 2007, with his 2003 (15.3 UZR/150 in 925 innings) and 2005 (10.4 UZR/150 in 1208 innings) being his two strongest defensive seasons. Arguably Roberts’ most valuable season was in 2005, when he posted a .314/.387/.515 line with 18 homeruns, 73 RBI, 92 runs, 27 stolen bases, 10.4 UZR/150, and a 6.7 fWAR.
No one ever questioned Roberts’ hard-nosed approach, but grit aside, he simply could not escape the injury bug. The former first round pick’s series of injuries started in 2005, when he dislocated his shoulder in September 20, and did not return that season. In 2006, the infielder was enjoying a terrific April, only to miss most of May with an extended DL-trip. Aside from his disabled list stints, Roberts had his fair share of bumps and bruises–yet he always seemed to collect enough plate appearances (averaged 690 from 2004 to 2009) to maintain his top-notch production.
However, in 2010, the Oriole’s knack for injuries took a turn for the worse. Roberts herniated a disc in his lower back during Spring Training, and despite being recovered in time for the regular season, the infielder proceeded to strain his abdominal in early-April. The abdominal strain knocked him out until July 23, and limited him to just 261 plate appearances (and posted a .278/.354/.391 line)–his lowest total ever as a starting player (at the time). But his bleak 2010 was soon eclipsed by a even more injury-decimated 2011 season.
Roberts started the 2011 with a bang–collecting 3 homeruns, 10 extra-base hits, 19 RBI, 12 runs, and 2 stolen bases in April. But on May 16, the infielder endured what would later be classified as a “serious concussion.” At first, it seemed as though Roberts would just be out for–at most–half the season. However, like in the case of many concussions, Roberts continued to feel the lingering symptoms. The eleven-season veteran did not return in 2011, and posted a .221/.273/.331 line in 178 plate appearances on the season.
Given Roberts’ somewhat unknown status, his potential 2012 contribution is a little bit cloudy. The only thing for certain is that the long-time Oriole is set to make $20 million over the next two seasons; regardless of whether he plays. If healthy, there are few second basemen who encompass superior offensive and defensive skills–but given his concussed state, Roberts is the epitome of a risk.
As for a proposed Jason Bay for Brian Roberts swap, in an ideal world, the veteran would pair-up with Jose Reyes to become a tremendous middle-infield tandem–not to mention a lethal one-two punch atop the Mets lineup. But then again, if Roberts is deemed healthy, there would be no sober reason for the Orioles to trade him–especially for an expensive dud like Bay. If the Orioles were to deal Roberts, it would only be to avoid his third-injury-shortened-season in-a-row. But then again, do the Mets really need a situation like that themselves?
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