Bad Free Agent Signings: Jason Bay

New York Mets left fielder Jason Bay loses the ball at the outfield wall for an error at Turner Field in Atlanta, April 18, 2012. (REUTERS)

On December 29, 2009, Jason Bay agreed to a four-year, $66 million contract with the New York Mets, which also included a vesting option for a fifth year. Bay won the 2004 National League Rookie of the Year award with the Pirates and was a three-time All-Star.

In 2009 with Boston, Bay batted .267 with a career-high 36 home runs, 119 RBIs and 103 runs scored – his second consecutive season of at least 30 homers, 100 RBIs and 100 runs.

General manager Omar Minaya, who engineered the deal, originally traded Bay to the Mets in 2002 when he was GM for the Montreal Expos.

On January 5, 2010, Minaya and Jeff Wilpon held a press conference at Citi Field in which Jason Bay was presented with his uniform, number 44 for the Mets.

That was the highlight of Bay’s Mets career.

In 2010, his first season with the Mets, Bay played in only 95 games. He suffered a concussion in a game against the Dodgers, when he ran into a fenced wall and his head jerked back. He finished his season with a .259 batting average, only six home runs (he hit 36 the year before), 47 RBIs, and scored 48 runs.

Then in 2011 Bay began the season on the disabled list with a rib injury he suffered in spring training. He was diagnosed with an intercostal strain in his left rib cage. Bay appeared in 123 games in 2011 and hit .245 with 12 home runs and 57 RBI. His finest season in Queens.

In April of 2012, Bay on the 15-day disabled list, a day after he broke a rib while trying to make a diving catch. An MRI exam showed a non-displaced fracture on Bay’s left side.

Bay ran back on a long fly by the Giants Gregor Blanco. The ball bounced out of Bay’s glove for a two-run double and he landed face-first near the warning track. Bay left the game a few innings later and was hitting .240 with three home runs.

When Bay returned from the DL on June 8, he went 0-for-3 with one strikeout. He continued to go 0-for-16 in his return from the DL through June 12, before hitting a single on June 13 against the Tampa Bay Rays.

In a home game against the Cincinnati Reds on June 15, Bay left the game in the second inning after crashing into the left field wall and suffering a concussion while attempting to catch a fly ball by Jay Bruce that became an inside-the-park home run. He was subsequently placed on the DL again.

Bay finished the 2012 season with a .165 batting average, 8 home runs and 20 RBI.

On November 7, 2012, the Mets and Bay have agreed to terminate their contract a year early and make the outfielder an unrestricted free agent. The Mets owed Bay a total of $21 million — $16 million for 2013, $3 million for a buyout of his 2014 option and the $2 million remaining on his $8.5 million signing bonus.

The 34-year-old had just 26 home runs with the Mets — 10 less than his 2009 total with the Boston Red Sox. He hit .234 average and 124 RBIs over three seasons with the club.

Jason Bay’s not so amazin’ career numbers as a Met.

2010 95 401 348 48 90 20 6 6 47 10 0 44 91 .259 .347 .402 .749
2011 123 509 444 59 109 19 1 12 57 11 1 56 109 .245 .329 .374 .703
2012 70 215 194 21 32 2 0 8 20 5 1 19 58 .165 .237 .299 .536
TOTALS 288 1125 986 128 231 41 7 26 124 26 2 119 258 .234 .318 .369 .687

About the Author

Lifetime Met fan who hates his parents for making him become a Mets fan as a child. No amount of therapy has helped and cannot switch teams now. Quitting smoking was easier. What a joke this organization really is, how much pain and suffering it has brought us through the years. Bad enough to be in Big Apple with Yankees fans.

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