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  1. Good article.

    You nailed the point. Doesn’t make sense for Mets to platoon and devalue an already diminished stock. They aren’t going to win anything anyway. May as well play him.

    Comment by John — April 2, 2012 @ 1:54 pm

  2. Right. And if he has another awful year, he goes from a diminished stock to a sunk cost and the Mets would be within their rights to release/bench him.

    Comment by TerrysKids — April 2, 2012 @ 2:12 pm

  3. Holy cow we’re once again at the time where 33 is old in baseball years. So many younger fans think otherwise due to a few notable exceptions to the normal aging patterns that it’s almost a shock to see what was so true when I grew up – 33 really is pretty old for a baseball player.

    Comment by Dan in Philly — April 2, 2012 @ 2:18 pm

  4. Jason Bay was ruined in 2010 by the Mets hitting coach. He got Bay to change his swing to try to become more of a line drive hitter before ever seeing if his normal approach would work in Citi Field. He did the same thing to David Wright in 2009. Bay has had some confidence problems since then…in batting practice, the dude hits bombs into the second deck in LF and weak grounders to 3B during the game.

    Basically, Howard Johnson is a terrible hitting coach.

    Comment by Greg — April 2, 2012 @ 2:36 pm

  5. One advantage to platooning Bay is of course that the OF defense would almost certainly improve.

    Comment by Mr Punch — April 2, 2012 @ 2:45 pm

  6. I get it and I agree with the article. But I’d give him a short leash, maybe until the end of May to prove he has something left even if it’s just favorablility from BABIP gods.

    Comment by Franco — April 2, 2012 @ 2:55 pm

  7. Bay has been rated at very close to neutral defensively for several years now. People still seem to think the unadjusted -18 UZR when he played in Fenway is still relevant. Once it was correctly adjusted, it showed that he wasn’t bad defensively at all.

    Comment by Greg — April 2, 2012 @ 3:20 pm

  8. The Mets are only considering platooning Bay if he does very poorly the first 6-7 weeks of the season. In which case, he is unlikely to reach his projected wOBA as a full time player. In which case a platoon attempt does make sense from the standpoint of trying to get more out of LF.

    But what the article totally neglects to mention is that there is an onerous vesting option for 2014 in Bay’s contract, based on plate appearances in 2012 and 2013. Even if a platoon would provide only negligible improvement in production, it will likely save the Mets $14 million dollars ($17 million option minus the $3 million buyout). Alderson would be really negligent if they didn’t try a full platoon if Bay struggles this season from the start.

    Comment by caseyB — April 2, 2012 @ 3:27 pm

  9. You beat me to the punch on the option. There’s no way the team can allow that option to vest (assuming he doesn’t become a 5 WAR player out of the blue). It’s too early to put a plan into motion, but I’m sure they’re all well aware of the option. If he doesn’t turn it around, they should absolutely bench him against tough righties (at the very least) to ensure that the option doesn’t vest.

    Best case scenario would be for him to become a competent enough hitter where they can trade him away, and maybe a team would pick up $4MM of his annual contract. But at some point they need to transition from “let him raise his trade value” to “make sure he’s not on our team in 2014″.

    Comment by vivalajeter — April 2, 2012 @ 3:37 pm

  10. Exactly. Only there is a potential problem with the whole idea of a trade. Wouldn’t that vesting option be in place with any new club? No club is going to trade for him if that vesting option stays in place, even if the Mets ate ALL of Bay’s remaining guaranteed money.

    The best remaining course of action may be as you put it to “make sure he’s not on our team in 2014.”

    This is really turning out to be one of the worst contracts in Mets history. It’s just stunning how fast and how much Bay has fallen off.

    Comment by caseyB — April 2, 2012 @ 3:53 pm

  11. #LOLMETS

    Comment by stumanji — April 2, 2012 @ 5:24 pm

  12. #OmarMinaya

    Comment by BlackOps — April 2, 2012 @ 6:13 pm

  13. Since it was signed I’ve been calling Bay’s contract a 3 year, $66 million contract as opposed to the 4 year, $66 million term generally used in the media, precisely because it was obvious from the beginning that even if he had played up to reasonable expectations that letting that option vest would almost certainly be a terrible idea. If he’d been the 4 or 4.5 WAR/season player about to decline normally as players do in their early-to-mid 30s that it looked like the Mets were getting then letting that option vest would have been bad; now it’s unthinkable.

    Comment by R. Johnston — April 2, 2012 @ 6:32 pm

  14. Red Sox dodged the bullet on Bay only to be hit by the cruise missile Crawford.

    You look at how some players turn into pumpkins after signing a big free agent deal (Figgins, Dunn, Werth, etc) and I can only think it must be something like testosterone withdrawal. No reason to juice anymore given the health consequences since the money is locked up. Dunno if that’s it, but I have not heard another reasonable explanation (short acting testosterone can allow players to avoid a positive test during the season and I am sure there are ways to use offseason without being tested during a cycle by going to the DR, API or a long trip)

    Comment by pft — April 2, 2012 @ 7:29 pm

  15. This is a good point. I watched him play for the Red Sox and his HR were no doubters, not the Pedroia variety. He looks like a completely different hitter, but he also looks smaller (not that he was a huge guy). Maybe he cut back on his work outs and adjusted his swing..

    Comment by pft — April 2, 2012 @ 7:32 pm

  16. Minaya signed him to that ridiculous contract because he knew he’d be fired if they lost, so why not lose big? Wilpon is an idiot for letting him make that decision. It’s like allowing a lame duck GM to trade draft choices.

    IRT Bay, just another GM paying off of a huge season. He wasn’t really a 36-HR hitter. He was more like a 30-HR, .265 weakish fielder type of player. A very long swing, with a career high in Ks when he left Boston.

    Comment by Joey B — April 2, 2012 @ 8:41 pm

  17. “Remember back in the 2009-2010 off-season, when some people weren’t sure who was better between big-time free agent outfielders Jason Bay and Matt Holliday?”

    the continual underrating of matt holliday

    Comment by jim — April 2, 2012 @ 9:10 pm

  18. Pft’s theory is compelling. Or maybe Bay is just the second coming of George Foster. Or maybe it is the mild brain trauma (aka concussion) he sustained.

    Comment by Keith — April 2, 2012 @ 11:07 pm

  19. Pft’s theory is compelling. Alternatively, maybe Bay is just the second coming of George Foster. Or maybe it is the mild brain trauma (aka concussion) he sustained.

    Comment by Keith — April 2, 2012 @ 11:08 pm

  20. I strongly disagree with the theory that steroids have anything to do with the marked decline in some of these athletes. It doesn’t make sense on a lot of levels.

    First, the disparity in performance between these players prior to and after they sign the contract is pretty big. I highly doubt there is any short-acting testosterone regimen effective enough to account for these big differences in performance. Is there? Does anyone know if one actually exists?

    Second, since prior to signing their contracts each of these players enjoyed sustained success, so if steroids accounted for that, you would have to assume they were taking steroids steadily for years prior. Oh, really? So despite the existence of stringent testing they were just lucky enough to have escaped detection? Or are you saying there exists a short-acting undetectable super-effective steroid that no one has ever heard of?

    The theory by Pft assumes that they didn’t care about negative health effects prior to signing the contract but they did after? So much so that they subjected themselves to endless booing and criticism for their post-contract failures rather than go back to steroids? That doesn’t make any sense to me.

    So why do these athletes fail after the big payday? For one thing, by the time they sign their contracts, their best years are usually behind them and they are well beyond the age of peak performance. So a decline is to be expected regardless. Second, there is the pressure of living up to a big contract. Third, sometimes it means going to a new league and learning new pitchers or facing stiffer competition. Fourth, there are other miscellaneous reasons — in Bay’s case a big new park which stole home runs. Also, a concussion.

    I highly doubt it’s steroids, and I think suggesting it is cast doubts on all current major leaguers because it implies that there is currently an easy way to beat the system and cheat for years and years. I don’t think there is. If there were, that would mean everyone is currently suspect including Votto and Pujols. It’s not fair to the clean players. And it tends to minimize instances where players such as Braun do test positive by implying he was just unlucky to have gotten caught.

    Comment by caseyB — April 3, 2012 @ 8:34 am

  21. Remember back in the 2009-2010 off-season, when some people weren’t sure who was better between big-time free agent outfielders Jason Bay and Matt Holliday? That was awesome.

    And now Bay lives in a van down by the river.

    Comment by M.Twain — April 3, 2012 @ 10:34 am

  22. I agree with Greg. When he was with the Red Sox he hit 36 home runs,but when he went to the Mets, he hit about 6 homers. Howard Johnson totally messed up J-Bay’s swing. He should just not listen to Johnson and swing like he did on the Red Sox and Pirates. Howard Johnson is a terrible hitting coach.

    Comment by Fluffy — April 22, 2012 @ 1:47 pm

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