Jason Bay returns to the New York Mets tonight after another injury that has left the fans weary to see him in the outfield. Bay is signed through next year after signing a whopping 4 year, $66million contract and unfortunately has a club option for 2014. That option will not be put into effect unless Bay starts hitting .315, drives in 165 runs and puts out 52 homers between now and then. I would bet on Barry Bonds making the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame first ballot before that happens.
The sad realization in the past couple years is that at his best, Jason Bay really is one of the hardest players in the majors. That is the main reason he keeps getting hurt and loses time to concussions and more recently a fractured rib. Nobody should ever call Bay lazy. Nobody should ever question Bay’s work ethic. What needs to be questioned is how this tremendous star from the Pittsburgh Pirates and Boston Red Sox has lost his focus at the plate to a tune of hitting .182 this year and only .246 last year in 123 games.
Jason Bay has become the albatross on the field because his contract deters Terry Collins to sit his outfielder even though he is well deserving of nothing more than a bench role. That is the crux of the situation. No team will want to pick up his contract in order to send him packing at the trade deadline and the Mets just can no longer afford to allow him to embarrass himself, the team and the fans.
Quite possibly the New York Mets need to put Jason Bay on the Bobby Bonilla plan and cut their on the field ties while paying him until 2034 to just go away. Open up a spot for one of the youngsters like Mike Baxter as he, himself, returns from injury, or Jordanny Valdespin to polish their game in the majors. Both players are young and determined and have proven that they belong. The Mets fan is tired of watching another big-name contract come to New York and forget how to play ball.
Now is the time for the youth emergence to set this franchise up for many years to come. All the New York Mets management and coaching staff has to do is put the best players on the field, not the highest paid. Then begin to spend money more wisely in areas around the youngsters to solidify this hard-working squad. All the Mets fan ever wants to do is believe. While Jason Bay is still trotting out into the outfield, that belief will slowly wane.