Jason Bay would live up to his MVP-caliber resume and be a star for the Mets
Among the many “free agent busts” throughout Mets history, their signing of Jason Bay on December 29, 2009, is at the top of the list. Bay was one of the top free agents on the market that offseason, having just completed an outstanding year with the Boston Red Sox that ticked off nearly every offensive box: 36 home runs, 119 RBI, a .267/.384/.537 slash line, an All-Star appearance, a Silver Slugger award, and seventh place in the AL MVP voting.
Another interesting factoid about the Bay signing: when he agreed to terms with the Mets, he became the first native Canadian to suit up for the Amazins since Brian Ostrosser and his five at-bats in 1973.
However, when Bay arrived in Queens, he seemed to wilt under the lights at Citi Field and struggled mightily. He suffered a concussion in 2010 that limited him to 95 games and just six home runs. The next two seasons were not much better, as he batted .245 and .165 in 2011 and 2012 respectively, never playing more than 123 games or hitting over 12 home runs in a season. Boos rained down upon him after every strikeout, and it was clear that Bay would not provide the heroics that Mets fans had anticipated.
The Mets ended up releasing him from his contract a year before it ended, providing an unceremonious end to one of the most disappointing signings in team history. Bay then signed a deal with the Seattle Mariners. He was released from that contract in August of 2013, thus ending his major league career in anticlimactic fashion.
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Though Mets fans have had many successful trades and signings throughout their team’s history, it’s human nature to dwell on “what could have been” and fixate on players that underwhelmed or were disappointments. Even if one of those “disappointments” allowed Jacob deGrom to emerge as the clear ace of the Mets’ starting rotation for years to come.