Mets “Part Ways” With Jason Bay

For the Mets, three years of Jason Bay was enough. This afternoon, they announced that they have agreed to part ways with Jason Bay, meaning he’s being released from his contract. Joel Sherman has the details.

The Mets don’t get any financial relief in terms of actual payouts, but by deferring some portion of the money he was set to be paid in 2013, they can reduce the actual value of those payouts and create a little extra flexibility for this off-season. Because the Player’s Association has fought hard for guaranteed contracts, players are unlikely to accept contract buyouts, but this is probably the best result for both parties.

Now, Bay gets to pick his own landing spot for 2013, and he should pick an AL team that can give him some at-bats at DH in hopes of a rebound season. Bay was terrible last year, but he was an average-ish hitter as recently as 2011, and it wouldn’t take a large bounce back to make him a decent enough platoon DH for a team that already had a part-time left-handed bat in their starting DH spot.

At age 34, it’s also quite possible that Bay is just done, but at least now he gets a chance to save his career and get a fresh start in a new organization. And now Mets fans don’t have to watch him play anymore. Win-win, as they say.

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Dave is a co-founder of and contributes to the Wall Street Journal.

35 Responses to “Mets “Part Ways” With Jason Bay”

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  1. Paul says:

    So if Bay finds a roster spot in 2013 it would mean that Bay somehow is paid twice in 2013 no?

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    • Arquimedes Bozo says:

      The guy that’s so nice, he’ll get paid twice!

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    • Jaack says:

      I think that the team that signs him (almost certainly at the league minimum) pays that portion of his contract, while the Mets pay the rest. So if someone signs him, the Mets get salary relief equal to the league minimum salary, but Bay gets nothing more.

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      • JayT says:

        I’m pretty sure that’s only the case if the Mets dropped him. From what I understand, that’s not what happened here. He’s a free agent, not a waiver claim, so if he gets a contract for 2013, it will be for whatever he can negotiate, and the Mets will be unaffected by whatever he signs for.

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    • wrong em says:

      …or is it the case that the team who picks him up pays whatever amount they agree to with Bay, and the Mets are off the hook for that portion of his contract?

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      • Portlander says:

        From what little we know it seems like this is a buy out so he should be able to sign a new deal somewhere else and get paid. It is likely though that he will only get the league minimum. We tend to forget that deferring the money is not an insignificant decrease in value and therefore Bay has probably given up a significant amount of money for free agency. While he will likely get a NRI if he makes a team I bet he will get an incentive laden contract. What value would incentives have if it just meant that the Met’s pay him less?

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  2. Arquimedes Bozo says:

    Hey Jack Z, now’s the time to dump Figgins while everyone’s talking about Bay! BTW Bay is from lower BC, couple hour drive from Safeco..

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    • CMC_Stags says:

      NRI for Spring Training.

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      • jwise224 says:

        Beat me to it. This is something has to be explored by the M’s, unless someone else is crazy enough to give him a guaranteed deal.

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    • Westside guy says:

      I hope not – the Mariners don’t really need another mediocre DH candidate, and certainly not a lefty.

      Of course I’m assuming Wedge is still not going to trust Jaso to catch very often, so he’d be our leftie DH. But even if he’s catching – the team doesn’t really need another pair of average-or-worse DH’s tying up two roster spots.

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  3. Tomcat says:

    “Bay is the best overall hitter on the market this winter, with more offensive potential than Matt Holliday” Keith Law ESPN November 21, 2009

    Ahh those were the days. Bay in LF, Beltran in RF and Pagan in CF Wright at 3B, Reyes at SS and Johan would be Johan again soon it has only been 3 years but seems like a lifetime ago.

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    • Sparkles Peterson says:

      Bay had just come off a tremendous season where he had… very nearly matched Matt Holliday’s career average.

      To be fair to Law, Bay fell apart in a way nobody could credibly predict. On the other hand, Bay just never had Holliday’s physical gifts, and Law is supposed to be a scouting expert.

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      • Tomcat says:

        a little more from that piece ” getting away from American League pitching. AL hurlers found what the Red Sox discovered in 2007 — you can beat Holliday with good velocity, and he’ll chase a lot of sliders, although he can crush a bad slider as well as any power hitter. He’s moderately patient with good coverage on the outer half, and of course has plus raw power, particularly to left-center. He’s 16 months younger than Jason Bay and a better left fielder, although he looks extremely awkward out there and memories of his NLDS flub will haunt any general managers thinking of signing him, but he and Bay are the only impact bats on the market and will be paid accordingly”

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      • Tomcat says:

        And “Bay is the best overall hitter on the market this winter, with more offensive potential than Matt Holliday but less defensive value. Bay is extremely patient and has shown he can hit American League pitching, including good fastballs; he’s actually much worse against changeups. He has plus pull power and could have 40-homer potential in a park friendly to right-handed power hitters, like Minute Maid. Bay is not a good defensive left fielder, although Fenway Park has made many left fielders look worse than they actually are, both for scouts and in defensive metrics. I don’t believe Bay is worst-in-the-majors or unplayable in left; he’s below average, but does enough with his bat to compensate. Hitters with strong secondary skills can still provide value even in years in which their batting averages drop due to bad luck on balls in play, and Bay’s patience and power make him a very good bet to live up to expectations”

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      • Justin Smoaked Cheese says:

        Holliday and Bay were both bad fits for Mets and that park. Both have low slg at citi: Holliday .314, Bay .408.

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      • Sean says:

        It couldn’t be entirely predicted, but lets not forget that part of the reason he left the Red Sox was that the Sox wanted some guarantees in the contract to protect them if his back or knee became an issue (along the lines of what they did with Lackey and his elbow) and Bay refused. Hence, at least one team’s doctors were concerned enough to raise a red flag about health issues going forward.

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      • Tomcat says:

        Man Boston 08-11 vs NYM 08-11 talk about an Olympics of bad contracts

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  4. The Humber Games says:

    T Minus three days until the Twins overpay for him

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  5. Spike says:

    Camden yards could be a decent fit.

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  6. Justin Smoaked Cheese says:

    Are those the kind of nuggets you miss not being an insider? Oh well, my couple bucks per month bought me some pepper jack cheese to smoke. Sail my sea of cheese, espn

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  7. Justin Smoaked Cheese says:

    So in 2020 will Bay and Bonilla still be on the Mets payroll?

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  8. Eric says:

    Seems to me Houston has found a reclamation project upon moving to the AL.

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  9. Highball Wilson says:

    Jason Bay, welcome to Cleveland!

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  10. Steriod Bust says:

    I recommend that no team pick up Bay. He was a juicer. he has stopped Juicing, and now sucks. I would expect zero turnaround from Bay.

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    • Ryan Braun says:

      Are you sure?

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    • Pirates Hurdles says:

      Bay was never associated with juicing at any point in his career. He is a good Canadian boy (too stoic for my tastes) who never had great power, but made up for it with bat speed and plate control. The bat speed dropped and his flaws with contact/K’s were exposed. The Mets were a match made in hades for him from day 1.

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  11. 2 shots of vodka in a glass says:

    Got any juice left?

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  12. Fred says:

    Either DH him fulltime for Seattle (and have Montero platoon with Jaso until Zunino comes up – screw the “Montero can’t catch” nonsense) or get him into the history books as the first fulltime DH in Astros history.

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  13. Michael Scarn says:

    Citigroup “Parts Ways” with Vikram Pandit

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  14. bstar says:

    Please, Frank Wren, don’t even think about it. No, you can’t solve the Braves’ hole in LF/3B left by Chipper by going to the dollar menu at McDonald’s and ordering Jason Bay. It’s not going to work, Frank.

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  15. R. Johnston says:

    I would like to reiterate what I said previously:

    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.

    The Jason Bay contract was always, always, a 3 year deal for $66 million or so. There was never any chance at all that the Mets wouldn’t work out a way to let him go before the option for season 5 vested, and that meant paying him at least for four years and letting him go after three.

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