New York Mets: What to Do with Underperforming Outfielder Jason Bay?

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New York Mets: What to Do with Underperforming Outfielder Jason Bay?
Marc Serota/Getty Images

Jason Bay is entering his 10th season in the MLB with his best years behind him.

Bay has lost his power and is getting up there in age—34 at the end of the 2012 season.

In 792 at bats with the New York Mets over the last two seasons, Bay has only 18 home runs. That's less than any other season in his career since winning the NL Rookie of the Year in 2004.

Prior to signing with New York, Bay hit 185 home runs in over 3,000 at bats with the San Diego Padres, Pittsburgh Pirates and Boston Red Sox. During this seven year period, Bay averaged a home run every 18 at bats and batted below .260 only once.

With New York, Bay averaged a home run every 44 at bats and has batted below .260 both in 2010 and 2011. He set career worsts in batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage in 2011.

No longer able to stay healthy and with heavily declining numbers across the board, Bay is becoming a detriment to a team that already will have difficulty winning in an improving division.

Both costly and and under-performing, Bay will be the second highest paid player on New York's roster. Due $32 million over the next two seasons, and with a club option for 2014 worth $17 million, it will cost New York $3 million to decline Bay's option.

New York has several options for dealing with Bay, none of which are particularly appealing.

Releasing Bay would open a roster spot for someone more productive, but would cost the team an extraordinary amount of money simply to not be on the team. New York is already paying Bobby Bonilla nearly $30 million in deferred money through 2035 for this very reason.

GM Sandy Alderson could search for a trade partner in an attempt to recoup part of the money due Bay over the next couple seasons. Most teams would be unwilling to take on a commitment for a player whose output has been as low as Bay's over the past two seasons.

Bay is getting older, and the deterioration of his level of play is proving his contract signed early in 2010 was a costly mistake.

The best move for New York is to weather the next couple seasons and hope that Bay can improve upon his production in 2010 and 2011.

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