2011 Season in Review: Jason Bay

The New York Mets went 77-85 in 2011. As suggested by the sub-par record, there were a fair share of ups and downs throughout the season. “2011 Season in Review,” which will be an ongoing series, will analyze every single Mets player who picked up a ball or glove in 2011, for better or worse. This particular “2011 Season in Review” will take a look at outfielder Jason Bay.

After two years in orange and blue, Jason Bay has officially become the Mets new Carlos Baerga. The Mets signed Bay as a free agent during the 2010 off-season to a mammoth (and immediately panned) four-year, $66 million deal. While it seemed as though the offense-craving Mets had finally found their coveted power bat (he posted a .267/.384/.537 line with 36 HR, 119 RBI, 103 R, and 13 SB for the Red Sox in 2009), Bay’s Mets debut in 2010 proved to be an incredible dud.

The long-time slugger swatted a mere .259/.347/.402 line with 6 HR, 47 RBI, 48 R, and 10 SB in 401 PA’s. His homerun total and SLG rate were the lowest of his career. In addition, the concussion the righty suffered in late-July capped a truly horrendous season, and put his 2011 and even career in a cloud of doubt. Fortunately, the British Columbia-native emerged from his concussed state, and returned to the Mets in late-April. However, his production was even more off than in 2011.

For Bay’s first 197 PAs, the right-handed hitter posted a dismal .222/.306/.281 line with 2 HR, 13 RBI, and 23 R. It seemed as though Bay had truly lost it until a three-hit game on June 21. Something sparked inside the hitter, as the former-slugger “mashed” to the tune of a .260/.343/.432 line with 10 HR, 44 RBI, and 36 R in his final 312 PA’s. Bay enjoyed a truly vintage Bay-esq month in September, when he owned a dominant .313/.392/.563 line with 3 HR, 13 RBI, and 10 R in 74 PA’s.

From a defensive perspective, Bay’s glove couldn’t save his lacking offense. The left-fielder was never known for his defense, and 2011 only furthered the fact–gloving an unhelpful -6.8 UZR/150. Given his career UZR/150 rate is -7.9 UZR/150, in a very depressing way, 2011 was a pretty solid defensive season for Bay.

Overall, Bay’s 2011 season was not good. Despite an awesome last month, 74 fantastic PA’s out of 509 PA’s doesn’t mean much, and certainly isn’t worth the $16 million salary he annually “earns.” With a 2014 option that can become guaranteed with 500 PA’s in both 2012 and 2013, it’s fair to say the Mets front office hope Bay has a good first half, and becomes a tradable entity. If not, there’s a possibility the Mets will just place the dud on irrevocable waivers, and send $24 million his way to not take the field (and thus not pay him another $17 million in 2014).

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