The end of an error is finally here, folks! What we’ve been waiting for since the middle of this past season has come true; the Mets and Jason Bay have come to a mutual agreement to expire his contract early, granting him his unconditional release. This makes him an unrestricted free agent, and takes him off New York’s 40-man roster. Coming into 2013, Bay was due to earn at least $21 million, which under the agreement the two sides reached, he will still get. This includes his $16 million salary for next season, the $3 million buyout clause to void his 2014 option, as well as $2 million he’s yet to get from his signing bonus.
This is clearly the best move for all parties involved. Saying his time in Flushing was a bust is quite the understatement. Since signing what was a four-year/$66 million contract before the 2010 season, Bay accumulated a career line in New York of .234/.318/.369 with 26 homers and 124 RBI. If you’re keeping track at home, that means in his three years with the Mets, he hit 12 fewer home runs and drove in only 6 more runs than his 2009 season with the Boston Red Sox (36 HR, 119 RBI).
Although he’s still due to receive the $21 million he left on his contract, it will be deferred over the next few years. The number of years and amount of money that will be spread over this time is still unclear, but this means Sandy Alderson will have some more money to play around with this winter. In his statement releasing the news, Alderson complimented Bay on his character and work ethic. Unfortunately, baseball in New York means we need results, and the results the Mets were getting haven’t been close to what Bay or the organization was expecting.
MLB Trade Rumors quoted Bay as saying:
“I still feel I have plenty to give to this game and that I can play baseball at a high level. But after serious consideration, both sides agree that we would benefit from a fresh start. I’m grateful we were able to reach an agreement to allow that to happen. I’m excited to keep playing and have no intention of just walking away. I enjoyed my time in New York. I have no regrets in signing with the Mets, other than that I wasn’t able to play to the level that the team, the fans and I all expected and that we weren’t able to win more games. I move on with nothing but an appreciation for the organization and its fans and best wishes to all my teammates there.”
This shows us the type of player and person Jason Bay is. He put the team before himself in this respect. Sure, he’s still getting paid, but a lot of professional athletes (especially established ones) are too proud to admit something like this, but he did. This also says plenty of things about the front office…but we’ll get into more of that in a bit.
I like Jason Bay, and I wish him well in the rest of his career, and hope he can get himself back on track, but I’m very grateful he saw that this relationship needed to end.