Both myself and Rich Sparago had some last thoughts on Jason Bay. We decided to combine our efforts to express ourselves regarding the most tragic free agent signing in the History of the New York Mets.
First up, Rich Sparago:
Jason Bay signed a 4-year contract with the Mets after the 2009 season. In his last year with the Boston Red Sox, Bay hit .267 with 36 HRs and 119 RBI. The Mets had every reason to believe that they were getting a hard-hitting left fielder, who was going to be 32 years old in the 2010 season. We all know that things did not work out well for Bay in his 3 years in Queens. Bay’s tenure with the Mets was marked by frustration, failure, and injuries.
Bay’s batting averages in his 3 years with the Mets were .259, .246, and .165. He hit a total of 26 HRs, and drove in a total 124 runs. Bay suffered serious concussions in the 2010 and 2012 seasons, and had both campaigns cut short significantly. Despite his struggles, Bay always hustled and played excellent defense. Many fans did not acknowledge Bay’s professional effort, as Jason was often booed by the Flushing Faithful.
Bay isn’t the only Met acquisition to struggle upon arrival in Queens. Two other players who experienced similar situations were Mo Vaughn and Roberto Alomar. In 2000 with the Angels, Vaughn hit .272, with 36 HRs and 117 RBI. After missing the entire 2001 season with injuries, Vaughn hit .259 with 26 HRs and 72 RBI for New York in 2002. Vaughn played in only 27 games for the Mets in 2003, before seeing his career end due to injuries. Alomar’s case is even more intriguing. In 2001 with Cleveland, Alomar hit .336 with 20 HRs and 100 RBI. In 2002 with the Mets, Alomar hit .266 with 11 HRs and 53 RBI. Alomar was traded during the 2003 season. Bay’s plight in New York was not unprecedented.
Many people view Bay’s departure as addition by subtraction. Bay’s Fan Graphs projection for 2013 is .249, 10 HR, 44 RBI. His primary replacement in left field will be Lucas Duda, who projects to .268, 18 HR, 69 RBI. While Duda is certainly expected to be more productive than Bay offensively, Duda’s defense is at best sub-par, while Bay’s is above average. So the overall run differential between the two players may not be very significant. Yes, Bay is gone. My prediction for 2013 is that at times, especially when the Mets are on defense, Met fans may actually miss Jason Bay.
I wish Bay well in Seattle. He’ll be playing close to his home in western Canada, with a team that’s clearly on an upward trajectory. His professionalism, hustle, and defense will be missed.
Maybe I should clarify.
His professionalism, hustle, and defense will be missed by fans who see his time in New York as I do.
Next Up, Sam Maxwell:
Jason Bay: A Legendary Met
This phrase might catch most Met fans off-guard, but as we settle into our first Spring Training in 4 years without his Bayness, the New Mariner has come to mind from time to time. It unfortunately did not work out for any of us, but I still hold Jason Bay in as highest a regard as any Met who has come before him or will come hereafter.
Much in the same way we rooted for the ’62 squad, Jason Bay falls into the legend of all those who just didn’t quite make it in that classic Mets uniform. It looks as good on him as it has on anybody else, but success could unfortunately not be found.
Yeah, J. Bay did not come through all that often.
But what about those fleeting moment where you thought, “He might just turn this around”?
When, aided by Ramiro Pena at shortstop for the Yankees, he did this…
Or on August 6, 2011, when I was in the left field level stands and the Mets were already down 5-2 against the Braves in the 3rd inning. With Angel Pagan on 2nd from a walk and a steal, Jason Bay had 1 strike on him against Tommy Hanson. I said out loud, “I have an idea. How ’bout just once you do what we paid you to do. JUST once. That’s not a bad idea.” And on cue…
The Mets won the game 11-7.
Or that time he hit the first Mets Grand Slam since August 1, 2009?
And then, of course, there is this:
Jason Bay stayed in the game and put it away in the 8th with a bases-clearing double. The Mets won 6-1.
He went 2-5 the next day, then he didn’t play for the rest of the year.
In a way, Jason Bay is the Mets free agent version of Pete Reiser. And while Pistol Pete was probably a better player at his best than Bay, both never stopped giving it their all in each’s respective NY uniform. Unfortunately, everything was against them and “their all” led to their demise (and unfortunately for Reiser, there was nothing between him and the cement he collided with.)
I never saw Jason Bay dog it. Not once, and I watch or follow every Mets game. He gave everything he had on every play.
There have been many great men to wear the Orange and Blue.
You would be hard-pressed to find a better man than the man they call J. Bay.
We here at Rising Apple wish Jason Bay nothing but the best in this next chapter of his life.
Here’s to you, #44.
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