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Saturday, July 23, 2011

• The Mets Should Bail on Bay •

Monday night Jason Bay hit his first double in 186 at bats. Quick, trade him before the deadline! Seriously, it's time for the NY Mets to abandon Jason Bay. Leave him at the doorstep of PNC Park in Pittsburgh, ring the bell, and run. Send in The Adjustment Bureau, hit him with the Men In Black white light, and let him wake up in a bed with Suzanne Pleashette and tell him it was all a dream. It will be like the scene at the end of the Wizard of Oz, when creepy farm hands and Aunt Em and Uncle Henry were watching Dorothy sleep. "Boston, New York, and a west coast concussion! You really tell a tall tale, Jason!" a random PNC grounds keeper would say. And just like that, Jason Bay could go to a land far, far away, or at least Pennsylvania.
Jason Bay's drastic fall from All-Stardom has baffled Mets Blob and just about everyone in Baseball. Jason's now season and a half of absolute disfunction with the Mets defies his baseball resume. He was 2004's NL Rookie of the year, an All-Star in 2005, 2006, 2009, Silver Slugger 2009, and maybe most remarkably was how he handled going from the cellar in Pittsburgh to a pressure cooker in Boston. With the Red Sox, Jason had the very big dreads to fill of RBI machine and human pharmacy, Manny Ramirez. He shocked everyone and had the best year of his career with them in 2009.

Presently Bay is described by most as struggling, but struggling does not even come close to describing the offensive void that Jason Bay has become. His swing is more out of sync than an old Kung Fu movie, and he stands so far off the plate that it looks as if he'd need a pool skimmer to reach an outside pitch. It's become tough to watch Jason and even harder to cheer for him. Met fans now dread Bay's at bats as much they do mandatory colonoscopys and Mike Pelfrey starts.
What happened to Jason? Who knows? At 32, Bay is not old enough for his career to have suddenly hit the wall. Speaking of hitting the wall, some wonder if Jason ever fully recovered from the concussion he suffered when he crashed into the wall at Dodger Stadium mid-season last year. But the truth is Bay sucked in 2010 before his concussion. The pressure of playing in New York should not be the issue with the success he had in Boston, a town equally demanding and unforgiving to players who under perform. Was Jason a juicer? Does his decline time out with MLB's overall offensive decline since testing began for performance enhancing drugs? Maybe, but at this point the answer doesn't matter anymore to Met fans. Met fans have hoped, and waited, and rooted for Jason to break out and be the guy Omar thought he signed. And now Mets fans just want him gone.
September 1st, 2010: The Mets traded Jeff Francoeur to the Texas Rangers. The Mets' front office felt Francoeur's poor offensive production didn't justify his $5 million a season price tag. Like Bay, Fancoeur was touted as a good clubhouse guy and a hard worker. Plus, Jeff is a great outfielder with a superior throwing arm. No one questioned Jeff's departure from the Mets, and even the most casual Met fan knew Francoeur was offensively challenged. But if you compare Francoeur's 2010 first half numbers to Bay's 2011 first half numbers you'll find Francoeur, as bad as he was, was better than Bay. Francoeur's batting average at .253 was 16 points higher than Bay's. Jeff also had 17 more hits, 11 more doubles, 2 more home runs, and 14 more RBI.  Jeff played in 21 more games in the first half of 2010 than Jason did in the first half 2011, giving Francoeur 52 more at bats. But more at bats only seem to make it worse for Jason. Since the All-Star break, his average has dropped another 7 points to .230 after Monday night's game against the Reds. And at about $16 million a season, how do we justify keeping Jason Bay when he costs us $11 million more a season? 
As much as we are done with Bay, Bay is done with New York. No matter what he does at this point, he can't redeem himself to Met Fans. The hole he has dug is so deep he has no way to climb out of it. To rid the Mets of Bay, a big chunk of his bloated contract would have to be eaten, but it may be worth it. So what can we do with him? There are a few days left before the trade deadline...maybe Sandy Alderson could work some magic? Here are a few ideas:

None of these options are perfect, but the Blob feels it's worth thinking about. Sandy could try the problem for problem trade. Adam Dunn for Jason Bay. Dunn's first year with the White Sox has been so bad Bay would look good to Chicago. The thought here for both the teams and players is the change alone could be enough to jump start each player by simply going to a new town. Dunn is not the fielder Bay is, but he is at home in the National league east, and when he's hot, he has so much power even Citi Field can't contain him. 

Another idea is to work a trade with now contending Pittsburgh. We'd have to eat some contract to send Jason back to his former Pirates to see if he can regain the shine of where his baseball stardom began. Maybe we could get some prospects and the move could spark Jason to lead the young Bucs to the post season.

Finally, the Mets could send him down to the minors to work it out. The Blob has often wondered why the SNY-driven media continues to give Bay pity and a free pass? When Ollie Perez was awful, the Mets gave him the opportunity to go down to the minors to straighten himself out. Perez initially refused, and he was ripped for being a selfish player. Why can't Jason Bay hit Buffalo or Binghamton for a few weeks in an attempt to find a clue? Better yet, why doesn't Bay volunteer to be sent down for the good of the team? Maybe Jason is a bit selfish too. Wait. Did Mets Blob actually equate the nut job that is Oliver Perez with Jason Bay? Yes. In truth, Oliver Perez' career in a Met uniform dwarfs anything Jason Bay has done to this point. Wow, the Blob feels nuttier than a Perez sundae with a Pelfrey on top just saying it, but oddly it's true. No matter what we do, keep Bay or deal Bay, it will be expensive. But like Charlie Sheen once said, "You don't pay a hooker to have sex you. You pay a hooker to leave." Jason, now that you've screwed us...please fly away.
When Ralph Kiner was asked in the SNY booth what he thought of Jack McKeon ripping pitcher Chris Volstad in the papers, he said in his day not only would Bay be ripped in the papers, he wouldn't even be playing. Ralph is the only SNY broadcaster who has ever spoken frankly about the abyss that is Bay. When Beltran is dealt, the official dog days of summer will begin for Met fans. So let's rip off another band-aid and throw this Jason Bayby out with the bath water. Leave him at the door of some other team that can love him and give him a good home. Because there is no love left in New York for Jason Bay.

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