Bad Contract of the Day to Swap Jason Bay With: Justin Morneau

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,” first baseman Justin Morneau.

From 2006 to 2009, there were few first basemen who were more lethal with the bat than Justin Morneau. During those four seasons, the British Columbia-native owned a collective .292/.364/.516 line with 118 HR, 470 RBI, and 363 R. He was also no slacker in the field, gloving positive showings in UZR/150–including a 15.0 UZR/150 in 2005.

Up until July 7, 2010, it seemed as though Morneau was on his way to a second career MVP season. The left-handed hitter had been swatting a .345/.437/.618 line with 18 HR, 56 RBI, and 53 R, but then endured a serious concussion while sliding into second base. At first, fans assumed Morneau, who averaged 635 PA’s from 2005 to 2009, would bounce back–but the first baseman never returned in 2010.

Morneau surprisingly suited-up for the Twins in 2011 for the first two months, but did very little. The slugger posted just a .247/.299/.371 line in 201 PA’s. Morneau played the first nine days in June (.074/.167/.111 line in 30 PA’s) and most of August (.235/.298/.314 line in 57 PA’s), but the post-concussion symptoms were too much for him. Overall, the concussed-star posted a dismal .227/.285/.333 line with 4 HR, 30 RBI, and 19 R in 288 PA’s.

Going into 2012, Justin Morneau’s health is a complete wild card. The Twins purposely signed Ryan Doumit, who has a lot of experience playing first base, and being a starter too. While it’s possible Morneau returns to form, it’s just as likely (if not more so) that he’ll continue to succumb to his post-concussion syndrome again, since it’s an ailment that hardly ever heals properly.

From a financial perspective, the 30 year-old Morneau is set to make a guaranteed $28 million over the next two seasons whether or not he plays. Even though the Mets already have a rising stud first baseman in Ike Davis, Davis could hypothetically be shifted to right field to make room for the steady-gloved/power-swinging Morneau. But while a healthy Morneau is an asset any team would like to add, hoping Morneau will be healthy once he touches-down in New York is beyond a pipe-dream. Swapping Jason Bay with a healthy Justin Morneau is a no-brainer–but swapping Bay with a dazed-and-confused Morneau making $28 million between 2012 and 2013 (while having to move Ike Davis to the outfield to boot) would be pretty moronic.

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