The market is still wide open for Jason Bay, who most analysts agree is one of the top three free agents available this offseason. Surprisingly, he has not been highly sought after and has only received two known offers from the Red Sox and the Mets. Both offers are for four years and between $60 and $65 million.
He rejected the Sox offer early in hopes of receiving a fifth year, but that has not happened yet, and now he is leaving the Mets in limbo by not making a decision on their offer.
It was thought that the Mariners would be a good fit, but they have since acquired Milton Bradley from the Cubs and do not appear to be in the running anymore. The Angels have yet to focus on Bay but have not ruled him out, so they could be another potential suitor down the road. The Giants have shown interest earlier in the month as well, but as they near a deal with Mark DeRosa (who can be placed in left field if necessary) it seems less likely, but not impossible, that they land Bay.
In summary, to me there are four potential teams for Bay to play for next year: the Mets, Red Sox, Angels, and Giants. His fantasy impact next season hinges on his decision, and I offer my predictions for each of the four teams.
Boston Red Sox : Clearly, Jason Bay has shown that he can handle the pressure cooker that comes with being a member of the Red Sox. In his year and a half in Boston, Bay clubbed 45 home runs and drove in 156 runs as the replacement for Manny Ramirez.
It does not seem likely that the Red Sox will re-sign him given the agreement they reached with Mike Cameron, but he is still a free agent and his market is very thin. Being the dead pull hitter that he is, the Green Monster was very inviting for Bay, and I predict another 30-plus home run, 100-plus RBI season with Boston on the off chance that he returns.
New York Mets : It is becoming more and more clear every day that Bay does not want to play for the Mets. They have offered him a contract very similar to that of Boston's, and he is in no hurry to accept it. Because of his success in Boston, the pressure of playing in New York should not get to him, so his numbers will not drop for that reason.
However, the problem is home run-eating Citi Field. No Met hit more than 12 home runs last year, and obviously that is due in large part to injuries of Carlos Delgado, Carlos Beltran, and Jose Reyes. Those numbers still must raise a red flag for Bay, and I see a drop in power next year if he ends up a Met. He will not have a 30-100 season, hitting around 25 homers and driving in around 95. Still a solid year especially if the rest of the lineup is healthy.
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim : The Angels have lost Chone Figgins to the Mariners and do not plan on re-signing Vladimir Guerrero, so expect the offense to be a little less productive next season. Erick Aybar or Maicer Izturis could be placed lead off and Bobby Abreu is back, but I still would not count on Bay having as productive a year as 2009 with those guys setting the table. I predict the power will still be there at 30 plus homers, but his RBI total will dip under 100.
San Francisco Giants : Bay has some experience at AT&T Park, logging 52 plate appearances. He has done well there, hitting .318 with a two homers and nine batted in in nine games. As mentioned above, I do not see the Giants landing Bay, but he has spent the majority of his career in the National League, and on the chance that the Giants do go after him, I expect him to have success. I predict a 30-100 season if he goes to San Francisco.
This analysis means that Bay would be best suited to either return to Boston or head to the Giants if he wants to have another year like 2009. I would like to hear your input on this? Where should Jason Bay go next year?
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