The Bay State: Signing Jason Bay Should Be the Boston Red Sox Priority

Patrick HanlonContributor INovember 25, 2009

KANSAS CITY, MO - SEPTEMBER 24: Jason Bay #44 of the Boston Red Sox swings at the pitch during the game against the Kansas City Royals on September 24, 2009 at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

The Red Sox finally winning the World Series was the best and worst thing for the franchise. It was the best day in most (well, at least mine) Red Sox fans' lives, and finally shut Yankee fans up, for at least one season.

On the flip side, winning championships is addicting for die-hard sports fans. Now, Red Sox nation wants to win every year.

So, when I hear rumors that the Sox are looking at alternatives to Jason Bay, I can't help but scratch my head. This guy had no chance of living up to the expectations set before him. Sure he's good, but he's no Manny.

He did it in Pittsburgh, but can he handle the pressures in Boston?

You tell me. In six seasons with the Pirates, he hit .281, had an OPS of .890, and averaged 28 home runs a season. In his one full season at Fenway, he hit .267, had an OPS of .921, and hit 36 home runs. I'd say he’s handled the pressure quite nicely. Not to mention two good postseasons too.

Jason Bay has been underpaid his whole career, and he deserves to get paid big this offseason. He has also been a consistent performer, so he's earned the long-term deal, too. Then why are the Red Sox shying away from signing him?

Most would say it is because the potential of this year's other marquee free agent, Matt Holliday. 

There's no arguing that Holliday's numbers are slightly better and he is a year younger than Bay, but there are still some concerns. Holiday's stint with the A's this past season was less than impressive. I interpret this as Holliday being a National League player, and might have a tough time facing AL pitching for 162 games a season.

There was also his outfield blunder in the NLDS. As I watched that game, I could only think that the play was Bunkner-esque. I'm not saying Holliday is a liability in left field, but a farce in a big spot like that makes me uneasy about him dealing with the Boston fans and media.

The other issue is the one I hate most: The Red Sox aren't willing to spend the money on Jason Bay because they are looking for better value. If the Red Sox were a small market team turning out young new talent every year, then I wouldn't have a problem with it.

But they spent $50 million just to talk to Dice-K, so give me a break.

When I hear Red Sox fans and John Henry crying about the Yankees spending too much I get sick. It's like complaining about your neighbor's expensive car when you have a Lamborghini in the driveway.

Even if the Red Sox sign Bay, they still need to add a bat to their lineup. Their offense was exposed last year, and Papi and Mike Lowell aren't getting any younger.

If Bay ends up in another uniform within the next month, the Red Sox won’t just fall further behind the Yankees in the AL East, they’ll be falling behind every other team in the American League too.