To say Jason Bay’s tenure this far with the Mets is disappointing would be a huge understatement. When Bay was signed it was thought that he would be providing the much needed power to the Mets lineup. From 2004-2009 Bay averaged at least 21 home-runs, nobody could have predicted his drop-off would be so severe when he signed with the Mets. As a Met Jason Bay has hit just 18 home-runs! Oh and he’s only hitting .250 as Met!
Bay is two years into his $66 million contract he has an easily attainable $18 million vesting option for 2014, that vests based on 500 plate appearances each in 2012 and 2013.
Unfortunately Bay still continues to struggle and he hasn’t shown much improvement this spring.
The question will eventually be ”what will the Mets do with Jason Bay?” Trading him won’t be an option as no general manager will take on that contract. I don’t even think we can swap bad contracts with another team given Bay’s lack of production. So besides a trade what else can the Mets do?
- Extended Spring Training: This seems unlikely as much as it would be needed. As was pointed out to me recently, Jason Bay is one of the only regular players that is healthy so you can be certain that he will be coming North with team once they break camp.
- Moving Him Down The Lineup: This will be a reality at some point this season I’m sure. Unfortunately whether he’s in the middle of the lineup or batting 8th he still be hurting the lineup with his lack of production. You cannot have a player continuously underperforming as he has and expect a positive outcome to this tale.
- Minor League Assignment: This is always a tough one with a veteran player like Jason Bay. He’s got the right to refuse a minor league assignment. We saw this with Oliver Perez a couple of years ago. It takes time off his service time. I doubt the Mets even approach this option.
- Platooning Him: If moving Bay down the lineup doesn’t work and the Mets don’t ask and/or Bay doesn’t accept the Minor League assignment this will probably be the most logical option. I know the players union might have an issue because of the vesting option, but the Mets will have a clear case that his lack of production is hurting the team.
- Cutting Losses: This is always tough, especially when it comes to the amount of money Jason Bay is owed. Many have concerns that even though a player shows no signs of improving, he will get cut from his current team, sign for the minimum with another team and return to greatness. Sometimes you have to bite the bullet and make the cut.
It’s not a great situation to be in with Jason Bay that’s for sure. I would first move him down the lineup and if that doesn’t work I would ask him to accept a minor league assignment. If Bay is interested in helping the team and wanting to improve, he can take the assignment, go to Buffalo and work on his swing. It has helped before. If Bay turns down the minor league assignment, I wouldn’t bench him as that does nothing, but occupy a roster spot. I would part ways with him and cut him. Let him be someone else’s problem. Sometimes addition by subtraction is the only way to go. Of course the best case scenario is that Bay finds his swing and starts to hit again. You gotta believe right?