So the inevitable has occurred, albeit much later than originally expected: Jason Bay is no longer a New York Met.
I’m sure there is much joy about this decision in Mets nation and rightfully so. The Bay signing will go down as the worst free agent contract in Mets history.
That said, I’m wishing Bay the best of luck in resurrecting his career with another team, preferably in the American League.
I’ll be the first to admit that Bay’s time in New York was downright terrible. He played in less than 60 percent of the team’s games in the past three seasons, and he hit just .234 with 26 home runs and 124 RBI during that time.
However, it would be unfair to say that Bay merely gave up and collected his lucrative paycheck.
The reason Bay was constantly hurt was because he constantly put his body on the line defensively. On the plays he got hurt, there was really no reason for Bay to even be close to those balls, yet he hustled all the time in the outfield.
Of course, paying $16 million for a defensive specialist in the outfield is ludicrous, so once Bay continued to show that he was inept at the plate, his release was just a matter of time.
Everyone in the organization admired Bay for his work ethic despite the poor results. Unfortunately, this is a results-oriented business, so Bay had to go.
In the one time I met Bay at the Mets’ 2010 Holiday Party, you could see and hear his tone that he truly wanted to improve and make an impact on this team, and that was only after his first poor season.
Some players will just shrug off a slump and not let it affect them, but Bay was different in that regard.
You almost have to feel bad for the guy, since it looked like he forgot how to hit. Here’s a guy who was a Rookie of the Year and three-time All-Star. You don’t just forget how to hit with that sort of resume.
Maybe the pressure of playing in New York got to him, or maybe the injuries really messed him up more than we all originally thought.
Either way, I admire Bay for realizing that his time in New York was finished even with one year remaining on his contract. It was a mutual decision for the Mets and Bay to part ways.
He could have been stubborn and looked to the fact that he signed a four-year contract and that’s where he would be for those four years, regardless of the lack of production.
But instead, Bay did the right thing for the team.
I hope Bay gets another chance somewhere, even if it’s on a minor-league deal. Let’s be honest, at age 34 he’ll never regain the form of his Pittsburgh and Boston days. But maybe he can be a productive pinch hitter and fourth outfielder.
So to reiterate, I was thoroughly disgusted by Bay’s on-field performance these past three seasons, and he was enormous financial drain. But as a man, I admire Bay for not giving up sooner than he did.
I hope Mets fans can agree with this.