It took a few months, but it looks like Jason Bay has finally returned to form.
Unfortunately for the Seattle Mariners, however, it happens to be the wrong one. See, after going through a little over a month of looking somewhat like his old All-Star self (or at least looking like a useful major leaguer on a team desperately looking for offense), it turns out that Bay’s change-of-scenery facade was … well, just that.
Since having a seven-game hitting streak snapped at the beginning of May, the M’s outfielder has slowly, but surely began showing the form that he showed last season with the New York Mets — you know, the same one that saw him go from a four-year, $66 million contract to a one-year, make-good deal with Seattle.
Yes, that’s so that that he hasn’t been very good.
But just how bad is it? Well, let’s examine some simple numbers. Since putting up a .783 OPS in the first month of the season, Bay’s season can be described as follows in terms of OPS: .757, .697, .556.
Now, keep in mind that these numbers are mostly bolstered by power numbers that have stuck around .400 slugging, but are declining nonetheless. Look outside his 11 homers on the season, and things start to get pretty ugly, as his OBP has gone from .365 in April to .319, .297 and .167 through four game in July.
Oh, and did I mention that he hasn’t batted above .200 since the first month of the 2013 season?
Whether it be the AL remembering that this is still just Jason Bay, or that all the losing has gotten the 34-year-old lethargic and back to his bad habits, he is on pace to match his .536 OPS 2012. Even with the Mariners’ troubles with the outfield (Frankin Gutierrez can’t stay healthy, and Dustin Ackley isn’t cutting it at center), they simply have little room for a replacement level veteran.
And especially not one who is on a seemingly unstoppable slide towards being below replacement level, of course.
The team shouldn’t have too much to fret over, though. After all, this was a make-good project with minimal risk, and Bay did make good … for at least a month, right?