New York Mets: The Paychecks Are Keeping Jason Bay in the Lineup

James Stewart-Meudt@@JSMeudtCorrespondent IIMay 31, 2011

NEW YORK - MAY 22:  Jason Bay #44 of the New York Mets looks down after grounding out against the New York Yankees on May 22, 2011 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City. Yankees defeat the Mets 9-3. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
Mike Stobe/Getty Images

What would you do for $6 million?

For the average person, the list would be almost endless.

For $6 million, Jason Bay would play in one of the most challenging ballparks and for one of the most poorly run and badly financed teams in baseball.

On December 9, 2009, the New York Mets announced the four-year, $66 million contract with Bay, adding one of the best offensive players in baseball.

Bay was coming off a season in which he hit 36 home runs and drove in 119 RBI for the Boston Red Sox.  Boston wanted to resign Bay and offered him four years and $60 million to stay. They refused to go to a fifth year and Bay instead took the extra millions to play for the Mets.

$6 million.

That's what separates Bay from the futility of the Mets and the first place Red Sox.

Think Bay wants to go back and do things differently?

Since joining the Mets, Bay's name has steadily climbed the list of worst contracts in Mets history.  When they added Bay, the Mets were supposed to be adding a huge power bat for the middle of their order. No one would fault them for adding Bay, and surely not even Citi Field could contain Bay's power.

At the very least, Bay's numbers would be huge on the road and more focused on batting average and on base percentage at home.

At this point, Bay would probably pay $6 million for a home run.

Bay is batting just .241 with two home runs and nine RBI in 32 games this season.  His numbers with runners in scoring position are stomach-churning. Bay is batting just .161 and he has just six RBI in the month of May.

His last home run came on May 13 in Houston.  That's almost impossible for a guy who averaged 30 home runs and 99 RBI from 2004-2009.  Yet Bay continues to hold down the fifth spot in the Mets starting lineup.

With Ike Davis and David Wright on the DL, and Jose Reyes on the bereavement list, the pressure on Bay to step up is beyond comprehension.

But in reality, the Mets have been waiting a year and a half for Bay to show up.

In his first season with the Mets, Bay managed just six home runs and 47 RBI before his season ended because of a concussion on July 31. He had as many triples (six) as home runs.

Wright experienced a similar power outage in Citi Field's inaugural season in 2009. Wright hit just 10 home runs, after hitting 33 in the previous season.  But Wright bounced back in 2010 to hit 29 home runs and drive in 103 runs.

Bay hasn't shown any signs that he's capable of putting of the numbers that earned him his big payday from the Mets.

It's that big payday that's keeping Bay on the field at this point.  Manager Terry Collins kept Bay out of the lineup yesterday just to give him a day off.  If only Collins had a suitable replacement to play every day.

Bay should count himself lucky that Willie Harris couldn't find water if he fell out of a boat because if he, or Scott Hairston, were hitting, the cries for a platoon in left field would be deafening.

But there's always that salary to consider.

Bay makes $18 million this season and the Mets are at the point now where they're basically playing a check in left field, not a baseball player.  The Mets would love to find a taker for Bay in a trade, but no one is going to touch that salary.

For now, the Mets are going to have to suffer with Bay and hope he can either start producing for them, or at least somehow boost his trade value long enough to pull off a deal.  I wonder how much Bay would pay to get out of New York.

Maybe $6 million?


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