By Rich Coutinho
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Jason Bay could read the handwriting on the wall as his average continued to slip and his at-bats became more and more painful to watch. Terry Collins knew that this was a becoming a distraction to the team and as a consequence, Jason Bay has become no more than a part-time platoon player at least for now. We all know that Bay works really hard and is a likable guy but this is a results business and it is draining to have a black hole in the middle of the lineup.
But it was also a burden for every other player in that clubhouse and something had to be done. Think about this scenario in a real-life setting for a moment. You work at a company and your colleague is a very nice guy who is just not performing and at first you feel badly. Then you try to pick up the slack for him but as time goes on, that becomes a burden for you despite the fact he shows up on time and tries hard. You can now understand how the rest of the Met players might feel.
Now don’t get me wrong, not a single player has voiced their displeasure in an even subtle way; but they have to internally feel that Bay’s playing time can’t be justified. And that can begin to divide a clubhouse-especially when the team is struggling. It does not mean you can’t feel sorry for Bay or not empathize with his plight but if Terry Collins wants the best team out there, it simply can not include Jason Bay. And Bay is well aware of that and fully acknowledges that he left Terry Collins no choice.
The question remains what do you do with Jason Bay who has another year left on his contract? The last thing you do is acknowledge you’d be open to eating his contract in full because any slim hope you have of moving him will fade away if the world knows that. What I think you can do is test the waters offering Bay to a team at a much lower price tag. For example, you tell a team I will pick up all but $2 million of his contract similar to what the Braves did with Derek Lowe last off-season. You make your rounds around the league and if you still have no takers, then and only then do you consider eating the whole contract.
The philosophy of the current brain trust has been to try that route and then make a move in spring training to eat the contract as they did with both Oliver Perez and Luis Castillo. My guess is that they will employ the same strategy with Jason Bay come 2013. In the meantime, this can afford the Mets the opportunity to take a long look at Jordanny Valdespin on an every day basis who is a very interesting player. He could provide the Mets with some options in the outfield next season. It will also give them the chance to reward Scott Hairston with more playing time because quite frankly, he deserves it with the season he has given Terry Collins.
But it is clear that Jason Bay’s playing time had to be curtailed for those 2 things to happen. And the fact that he hustles and plays hard really should not enter into the equation because this is a results business.
What do you think the Mets should do with Jason Bay? Let’s hear your trade offers below.