Ever since Outfielder Jason Bay signed a 5-year deal with the New York Mets after the 2009 season, his career has been on a downward spiral. Bay spent three injury-riddled seasons in Flushing, playing in only 288 games, hitting for a .234 average and hitting a meager 26 HR’s (Bay hit 36 in 2009 prior to signing with the Mets).
Bay signed a one year contract worth $1 million with the Seattle Mariners this offseason. Since Bay attended Gonzaga University in Spokane, WA and currently resides in Kirkland, a suburb of Seattle, he has the potential to reclaim his career and be a hometown hero at the same time.
Bay will no longer have to deal with the pressure of living up to a big contract and will not have to worry about financial security as the Mets still owe him $21 million over the next two seasons. He has spent ten seasons in the MLB, winning the Rookie of the Year in 2004 as a member of the Pittsburgh Pirates and making 3 all-star teams.
If Bay wants to re-establish himself as one of the better hitters in the league, he will definitely need to stay healthy but will also need to start hitting for power. Before his tenure with the Mets, Bay slugged an impressive .519 in seven seasons, but in his three seasons with the Met she slugged a mere .369.
This could have been a result of Jason Bay having to hit at the Cavernous Citi Field, a park known for swallowing up Home Run balls. Citi Field had a very pitcher-friendly ballpark factor of .891 (1 is neutral) during Bay’s three years with the Mets. Many hitters have let parks that are skewed very pitcher-friendly affect their mental approach at the plate, and Bay could be an example of this.
Bay only got a chance to start in 24 games at Citi Field after the fences were moved in after the 2011 season, hardly enough time to make any kind of impression. We will see if the new dimensions of Safeco Field will affect Bay’s power numbers.
Bay will have to compete for playing time with other outfielders like Raul Ibanez, Casper Wells, Eric Thames, and Mike Morse. If Bay stays healthy throughout camp, he will likely make the roster and have a chance to reclaim his career in his hometown.