Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Long Road Back

One of the albatrosses the Mets faced this off season was how the Mets were going to move forward and rebuild their roster into something respectable while being stuck with Jason Bay and the $16 million he was owed for 2013 (not to mention the vesting option for 2014 that picked up with 600 plate appearances). If nothing else, having a serviceable chunk of payroll tied up in Bay, basically a complete lost cause at this point, really hamstrung the club from being able to do anything noteworthy. Mets fans, or, at least Mets fans who knew what was what, knew that the Mets were stuck with Bay through this season, and once he was off the books, the Mets might finally be able to move into attack mode.

That said, I was still somewhat surprised to hear that the Mets and Bay had come to a mutual agreement to dissolve the remainder of his contract, primarily because it's rare that a player will walk away from sure money, particularly when he's coming off as poor a 3-year run as Bay has had. To say Bay needed a change of scenery is probably being excessively kind, but the fact was that no team would have been willing to trade for Bay and his contract at this point. But it made even less sense to bring Bay back. You can say a lot of things about Jason Bay, but he's not stupid. Yes, he leaves the Mets after 3 years that saw him hit .234 with 26 Home Runs and 124 RBI. But he also had 4 30+ Home Run seasons before coming to New York. Some team out there will probably give him a shot, which is probably all he wants, just to try to re-prove himself, just as much for his own psyche as much as for that of whoever will take a chance on him.

These addition-by-subtraction moves aren't much for headlines, but it's something in the right direction, if nothing else. Jason Bay couldn't exist with the Mets anymore. That was blatantly obvious. It's disheartening, because this seemed like the right signing at the time, and a smart, professional guy like Bay appeared to be what the Mets needed. Bay can't be faulted for loafing or not trying, because it's clear that he was. Bay nearly decapitated himself running for fly balls on multiple occasions, often resulting in stints on the DL rather than moments of glory. It wasn't supposed to end up like this. Surely, someone with Bay's track record couldn't just lose it completely. But he did. And now his time here is, mercifully, over. Both sides are free to move forward. And Mets fans now don't have to wonder what the hell the team is going to do with Jason Bay. Now, we can wonder about what the hell Sandy Alderson is going to do with the $16 million he's not paying Jason Bay.

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