Mets sign Bay

The Mets have signed Jason Bay, reportedly their #1 target of the offseason. The price tag is said to be $66 million for four years, or $16.5 million a year, with a vesting option for a fifth year. I’ll leave the in-depth analysis to Evan Brunell, the folks at Fangraphs and others, but I wanted to add my own two cents as a Mets’ fan.

Bay fits several key needs for the Mets. He’s a power hitter who plays left field, though not particularly well. Bay is an “old” 31, with troublesome knees, so I expect his fielding to worsen over the length of this contract. He’s a right-handed power hitter; the Mets need power, though they’d prefer to get it from a left-handed batter. He has no speed to speak of—Bay’s value is in his powerful bat.

That price tag essentially means that Bay needs to average three-to-four wins above replacement to justify the deal. Last year, he posted 3.5 WAR, 3.1 the year before. So it’s conceivable that Bay’s performance could justify this contract. I wouldn’t bet on it, though. He’s more likely to average in the 2’s for the length of this contract with perhaps significant time lost to injury. I think the Mets won’t get their money’s worth from Jason Bay, and while he will help the team, he won’t have a dramatic impact on their pennant probabilities. That is, the extra “stretch” in money isn’t clearly justified here.

On the other hand, Bay is a good fit for their needs, he won’t be blocking any star prospects and shouldn’t be a burden on the Mets’ budget. So I’m glad they pulled the trigger on this deal. What’s more, there are a lot of minor stories to follow, such as wondering how the switch to CitiField will affect his production and celebrating his return to a team that never should have traded him away.

Dave Studeman was called a "national treasure" by Rob Neyer. Seriously. Follow his sporadic tweets @dastudes.
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Nick Steiner
13 years ago

I’m happy because the Cardinals are basically the only team that could sign Holliday now.

13 years ago

Good point Nick. Not sure who it helps more in that scneario though…Mets were one of the few remaining teams that could spend big on Matt, however, the Cardinals don’t have Bay as Plan B anymore.

13 years ago

Bay “won’t be blocking any star prospects,” huh?  Really?  The Mets are now committed to Bay, Beltran, and Franceour in their outfield, with Pagan as the backup.  So…what does that mean for #1 prospect Fernando Martinez?

13 years ago

Hopefully Fernando Martinez can be used as a piece in a trade.

I’ve heard from a few knuckle-heads on the radio that Brandon Phillips (CIN) and Adrian Gonzalez (SD) might be on the trading block and the Mets might have interest.

13 years ago

F-Mart’s only 21…there’s three options for him. In order of likelihood….

1) He can play RF when he’s ready and the team realizes that Francoeur sucks.
2) He can play CF after Beltran’s contract is up.
3) He can play LF, moving Bay to 1B.

There’s enough medium-to-long-term uncertainty in the Mets OF picture, and F-Mart is young enough, that I don’t think this contract really ‘blocks’ him.

13 years ago

“won’t be blocking any star prospects” That made me laugh. What star prospects? It’s the Mets…prospects are what the rest of the NL East has, not the Mets.