When I say Jason Bay is just what the Mets need, I know he’s not a pitcher and can’t solidify the team’s questionable starting rotation. The Mets need starters that are more of a sure thing than Mike Pelfrey, Oliver Perez and John Maine. But Jason Bay is the type of player they need. First of all, he’s never been on the Mets before. That’s a plus. Second, he’s under 38 years old. Third, he’s not tied up in a seven- or eight-year deal for over $100 million. Fourth, he’s not Milton Bradley-like crazy. Fifth, he’s not Carlos Delgado or even Moises Alou. And finally, he’s Canadian, which can lead to a new marketing campaign for the organization (or organ-I-zation) - Les Mets.
Matt Holliday just agreed to a seven year, $120 million contract with St. Louis, so Bay’s contract looks like a bargain. Holliday may be the better all around player, but not by much. If the Mets got involved in the Holliday sweepstakes they would have had to top the Cards’ offer, and blown the outfielder out of the water with an outrageous, probably regrettable-at-some-point offer.
With Bay, they get a player in his prime (31 through 34 years old for the four years that are guaranteed in his contract). If he qualifies for the fifth-year option (600 plate appearances in 2013 or 500 plate appearances in both 2012 and 2013), that just means he stayed healthy and will most likely have been productive. Bay’s already dealt with the Boston media, so he can most likely handle New York (and has already had to handle Mike Francesa yesterday). He doesn’t have to be “the man” for the Mets or the face of the franchise; he just has to fit in and produce. He’s liked by all his former teammates, and by all accounts is a standup guy and a gamer. And he gives the team three high OBP/power guys in the middle of the lineup (David Wright will hit more than 10 homers a year, won’t he?).
He’s refuted the claim that he doesn’t want to play in New York (CC Sabathia had to be bribed and practically kidnapped to play for the Yankees and we can all agree that worked out pretty nicely). Sure, he may not have had many choices in the end, but the Mets were in on him from the beginning and showed they wanted him the most, which meant something to him (along with millions and millions of dollars, of course).
Bay’s played and been succesful in a pitcher’s park (Pittsburgh) and flourished in the spotlight of the East Coast media (Boston). He’s a solid citizen without an overbearing personality. He’s in the prime of his career. The Mets need a home run hitter/run producer and he hits home runs and produces runs. He knocks Jeff Francoeur out of the middle of the lineup. He’s not locked into a lifetime-like contract. And yes, he’d rather be in Queens than Beirut. He’s just what the Mets need.