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Mets, Jason Bay Agree To Buyout; Outfielder Becomes Free Agent

(credit: Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)

(credit: Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Bay Watch is officially over.

The Mets and much-maligned outfielder Jason Bay have agreed to go their separate ways.

The team tweeted on Wednesday that they had negotiated an “early expiration” of Bay’s contract. He will now hit the open market as an unrestricted free agent.

“Jason has a tremendous work ethic. There was never any question about it,” general manager Sandy Alderson said in a statement. “Unfortunately, the results weren’t there and we are in a results-oriented business. We thank Jason for his efforts and wish him well.”

Financial terms were not disclosed. The Mets owed Bay a total of $21 million — $16 million for 2013, $3 million for a buyout of his 2014 option and the $2 million remaining on his $8.5 million signing bonus.

Though he “agreed to defer some,” Bay will receive the entire $21 million, according to CBSSports.com and WFAN baseball insider Jon Heyman. On Twitter, the Mets said they would “gain roster flexibility.”

Fans never seemed to take to Bay after he signed a four-year, $66 million deal with New York before the 2010 season.

The 34-year-old had just 26 home runs with the Mets — 10 less than his 2009 total with the Boston Red Sox. He hit .165 with 20 RBIs this past season and ends with a .234 average and 124 RBIs over three seasons with the club.

“Like Jason, we had planned for the kind of production here that he enjoyed in Boston and Pittsburgh, where he established himself as one of the game’s top players,” said Mets COO Jeff Wilpon. “We wish Jason and his family success and happiness in the future.”

Bay was relegated to platoon duty in August. It was later reported that the team had no plans to part ways with the oft-injured outfielder.

Bay said in a statement that both sides “would benefit from a fresh start.”

“I’m grateful we were able to reach an agreement to allow that to happen,” he said. “I’m excited to keep playing and have no intention of just walking away. I enjoyed my time in New York. I have no regrets in signing with the Mets, other than that I wasn’t able to play to the level that the team, the fans and I all expected and that we weren’t able to win more games.

“I move on with nothing but an appreciation for the organization and its fans and best wishes to all my teammates there.”

Are you surprised it took this long? Be heard in the comments below…