Time for the New York Yankees to Go on a Jason Bay Watch

Peter AlfanoContributor IIMay 5, 2012

Jason Bay could flourish in hitter-friendly Yankee Stadium.
Jason Bay could flourish in hitter-friendly Yankee Stadium.Chris Trotman/Getty Images

The loss of Mariano Rivera for the season with a torn ACL might have Yankee fans in mourning, but there are other issues management has to deal with that might be more pressing than filling the role of closer.

The Yankees, as I have tried to point out during the first month of the season, are built around the home run. Derek Jeter appears to be the only position player who knows how to consistently get on one base at a time.

That is especially true with Brett Gardner still on the disabled list.

It may be hard to believe, but the Yankees could use another bat as much as they need a starting pitcher to join Andy Pettitte as they revamp their rotation. 

We don't think they have to look far. 

The Yankees have done business with the Mets before, and it may be worth their while to see if Jason Bay is available when he comes off the disabled list with a rib injury.

Okay, the last thing the Yankees need is another guy with injury problems, but Bay was a productive hitter in Pittsburgh and Boston before he signed a four-year contract with the Mets just as they moved into cavernous Citi Field.

The Mets, under general manager Sandy Alderson, are rebuilding and restocking their farm system, an option big-market teams don't usually have. With Kirk Nieuwenhuis and Lucas Duda occupying the two corner outfield positions and Andres Torres in center, it is beginning to look as if Bay is expendable.

Brian Cashman may have a busy summer ahead.
Brian Cashman may have a busy summer ahead.Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

The Mets have played surprisingly well so far, but no one should be under the illusion that they are a playoff team, especially with Mike Pelfrey out for the season due to Tommy John surgery.

Bay is in the third year of his contract and has been a major disappointment. He and David Wright were intimidated by the dimensions of Citi Field, and while the fences have been moved in, the psychological damage to Bay may have already been done.

By all accounts he is a great guy to have in the clubhouse. In hitter-friendly Yankee Stadium, he may regain his home run stroke and add some punch to a lineup that might have to outscore opponents on days when CC Sabathia and Hiroki Kuroda don't pitch.

Bay is an upgrade as a right-handed DH over Andruw Jones, and he is also more than adequate in the outfield. With Nick Swisher nursing a hamstring injury and Gardner still on the shelf, Bay would be an asset.

If the Yankees agreed to eat his salary for the remainder of this season and in 2013, they should be able to acquire him for a middle-of-the-road prospect. The Mets will probably ask for more if they have to pay part of what Bay is owed over the rest of his contract.

We're barely into the second month of the season, but it is never too early to survey the landscape to see what players may be available in a month or two. 

Pitching may yet be the Yankees' priority, but another big bat wouldn't hurt either. 

Bay is only 33 and had 36 homers and 119 RBI when he played for the Red Sox in 2009.

A return to the American League may be the change of scenery he needs for a personal renaissance.


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