Jason Bay: In Defense Of His Defense And A Fifth Year

An article by posted on December 11, 2009

I was surprised to see the following comment by Keith Law on ESPN’s Rumor Central (subscription only), regarding free agent outfielder Jason Bay.

“Bay is the best overall hitter on the market this winter, with more offensive potential than Matt Holliday, but less defensive value. Bay is extremely patient and has shown he can hit American League pitching.”

I disagree with Law and believe that Matt Holliday is the best overall hitter, but what the hell do I know.

Still, I’m glad to see the Mets target Bay, not because he’s the best, but because the $40-$50 million dollars saved could be used to shore up another area, namely the rotation.

Bay’s powerful bat will look attractive in the middle of the Mets batting order, and the debate over his defensive shortcomings are exaggerated and overblown. The Boston Red Sox, who have one of the toughest left field territories to patrol in the game, had no problems with Jason Bay’s defense and are desperate for his return.

The complaints are pouring in regarding the size of the offer presumed to be for 4 years and $65 million dollars, or about $5 million dollars more than what the Red Sox offer currently stands at.

It’s an initial offer people, so those of you who are concerned that it wasn’t substantial enough calm down.

Unless the rules of engagement have changed and I’ve been living in a cave for 100 years, aren’t you supposed to start low and work your way up through the negotiation process?

I know of know team that begins a negotiation with their final offer and works their way down.

Another thing…

If the Mets truly get into a bidding war with the Red Sox for Bay, you damn well better expect the Mets to add a fifth year to the current offer. It’s not the ideal or optimal situation, but if that’s what it takes to get the deal done the Mets have to do it. Spare me the “Mets made a terrible deal” arguments and blogs that are sure to come afterward.

Scott Boras is pitching an eight year deal for Holliday which he will certainly get. For those of you who are up in arms about adding a fifth year to the Bay deal, hear me out…

Jason Bay just turned 31 years old in September and would be 35 in the last year of his five year contract.

Matt Holliday turns 30 in January and would be 37 in the last year of his eight year contract.

Do I really have to ask which scenario offers the least amount of risk?

Let me wrap this up…

I firmly believe that Jason Bay will reject the Mets offer within the next 24 hours.

The Bay camp will either offer their own counter proposal or ask the Mets to submit a new proposal.

Either way, I believe that the team that offers Jason Bay a fifth year first, will be the team that ends up getting a deal done.

I hope that team is the Mets, and not the Red Sox who I view as our only competition.

About the Author ()

I'm a lifelong Mets fan who loves writing and talking about the Amazins' 24/7. From the Miracle in 1969 to the magic of 1986, and even the near misses in '73 and '00, I've experienced it all - the highs and the lows. I started Mets Merized Online in 2005 to feed my addiction and interact with other passionate Met fans like you. Follow me on Twitter @metsmerized.

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