Five years ago, hearing that Jason Bay was fighting for a job in the outfield, after being picked up as a free agent, would sound absolutely insane. But the once quality outfielder was nearly sent down to the minors this week.
The Seattle Mariners decided to make Bay their fifth outfielder on the major league 25-man roster while sending down Casper Wells. For some reason, after all of the injuries and slumps he has endured over the last 3-4 seasons, Bay still believes he can contribute to his team.
In Bay’s defense, he did have a pretty good spring training campaign in the Cactus League for the M’s. He averaged .321 at the plate and had two home runs to go with six RBIs in 18 games. Casper, on the other hand, hit .189 with two home runs and 14 RBIs, so maybe Bay did earn his job in Seattle.
Even though Bay will be listed as the fifth outfielder, M’s manager Eric Wedge has said he plans to use all of his position players regularly. Bay — who will earn $1 million this season with the Mariners — will most likely appear in 60-80 games as a back up.
Bay’s shortfalls since signing a four-year, $66 million deal with the New York Mets in 2010 have been well documented, but it’s still amazing to believe how far he has fallen. In 2012, Bay hit for a .165 average and slugged home only eight home runs and 20 RBIs.
Bay, Raul Ibanez, Franklin Gutierrez, and Michael Saunders will all be competing for time in the Mariners’ outfield in 2012.
John Engel is a college basketball writer for Rant Sports, and works for ESPNLA 710 AM Radio as well. Follow John on Twitter: @engelsportsguy.