December 29, 2009

Done deal: Jason Bay has signed with the NY Mets - : -- pending results of a physical.

posted by JButton to baseball at 02:28 PM - 23 comments

So my Mets finally signed someone who actually played last year? About damn time!!

posted by BornIcon at 02:47 PM on December 29, 2009

Unfortunately, from my biased Sox fan perspective, the Mets have signed another over-priced free agent who's past prime. And there's no DHing him as he ages.

posted by yerfatma at 03:25 PM on December 29, 2009

J-Bay will not fare well with the spacious left field in CitiField. While he was an adequate outfielder in Fenway, his range and arm aren't up to snuff for that acreage. He had a great stroke to take advantage of the wall in Boston, but be prepared for a lot of fly ball outs in NYC. The only good news is that he did not wind up with that other NYC ball club.

posted by Howard_T at 03:29 PM on December 29, 2009

Bay's best fit was Boston. His agent rolled the dice and lost.

Bizarre as it may seem, I feel for the guy, even though he'll be collecting upwards of $20 Million a year. His desire was to play closer to home, and ends up with the Mets ....

posted by cixelsyd at 10:54 PM on December 29, 2009

Boston, or Seattle, would have been great for him. But in the end you can't blame him or any of these guys: take the $60M now, and you have your entire life after 40 to live wherever you want.

It does seem a classic Mets-ian signing: take a guy on the downward slope and pay too much for him. I like Bay, and thought he had a great and productive run in Boston- worth every penny. But the Sox made a decent professional offer and a thanks-for-your-time goodbye, and Bay decided to go for that extra year. No one's at fault, although Bay or the Mets may be regretting his NYM stint in 2-3 years.

By comparison, the Mariners- who would have been a nice fit for Vancouver-based Bay- are having a *great* off-season, and the Sox are as well. They aren't picking up people on their downward slope for longer-than-necessary contracts, and are picking up assets that will benefit them more than the dollar value they pay. By picking up the superb but declining Mike Cameron- who I'll admit I always loved in Seattle and was sad to see go, and sad to not see every blossom into the 40/40 superstar he always seemed on the cusp of becoming- the Sox have a significant net benefit to their roster, for considerably less dollars; those dollars then went towards picking up Lackey or other off-season pickups.

With Cameron on the roster, if the Sox move Ellsbury to left (where he's +20 runs in left, compared to -10 for Bay in left) and thus replace Ellsbury with Cameron in center (where Ellsbury was -10 in CF but Cameron is likely +15 or so), the net result is that the 2010 outfield of Ellsbury, Cameron and Drew compared to 2009's Bay, Ellsbury, and Drew will be -29 on offense- downgrading from Bay's bat to Cameron's- but a whopping +60 on defense! That's a 2:1 difference overall, equal to a handful of wins, and god help the AL East if the Sox pick up a Beltre type 3B: they'd have the best defense in the league!

That all stems from the 30 run difference in Ellsbury's subpar (but athletic) CF versus his awesome LF, and showcases what the smart teams do in evaluating talent and defense more than the splashy free-agent signing of a booming bat. Getting a somewhat weaker bat that plays great CF means the Sox lose some pop but more than make up for it in preventing runs- and with Cameron hitting against the Monster while Bay is in a more spacious park, that offensive difference may narrow. By replacing one player, you make two positions significantly better defensively while downgrading only one lineup spot. A run prevented is equal to a run scored, and smart GM's like Epstein recognize that Bay was a great asset, but he can be replaced by a better and cheaper defender.

posted by hincandenza at 06:14 AM on December 30, 2009

I think this deal makes it less likely that Matt Holliday will get the $100M+ he was looking for and, correspondingly, more likely that the Cardinals will be able to re-sign him. I'm not sure where he goes otherwise -- the Mets are now set, NYY and Giants don't seem to be interested, Boston seems to have taken the money earmarked for Holliday and given it to Lackey when they could not meet Holliday's prior demands and decided to go with the outfield hincandenza mentions above, Braves need outfielders but don't have the budget (if the Javy Vazquez salary dump is any indication), so who's left? Not sure how I feel (as a Cardinals fan) about the Cardinals giving what will likely be in the neighborhood of 5/$85M for a player entering his decline phase, particularly with the need to give Pujols a long-term contract after 2010 or 2011 at the latest. But better than 6/$120 or something along those lines.

posted by holden at 12:06 PM on December 30, 2009

Over-pay-ment, clap, clap, clap-clap-clap!!!

posted by dbt302 at 12:20 PM on December 30, 2009

Over-pay-ment, clap, clap, clap-clap-clap!!!

Save it for Bay's first at-bat in Citi Bank.

posted by BornIcon at 12:56 PM on December 30, 2009

take the $60M now, and you have your entire life after 40 to live wherever you want.

Isn't the money he's getting something like 5 million more total than the Red Sox offered a couple months ago (though I think I remember a possible 5th year)?

I think his agent overestimated his value and made a mistake. and I think if he would have known then what he knows now (hindsight and all that) he would have signed with the Sox months ago.

posted by justgary at 01:26 PM on December 30, 2009

That seems to be the general impression, that they thought Bay & Holliday on the market would somehow increase bidding instead of reduce demand. More on the offers from NYM and BOS.

posted by yerfatma at 02:26 PM on December 30, 2009

Right- Boston made what turned out to be a relatively competitive offer, where the difference was practically only ~$5M over the life of the contract or so. On a ~$60M contract, it's the kind of rounding error that you ignore in favor of other factors, such as playing for a well-run competitive team, playing in a desirable market, the incidental value (such as LA players being close to other revenue streams in the movie/tv/advertising world), and home town or preferred city bias.

However, I thought that the Mets offer included a 5th option year, which is a deal the Sox never like to make. So it could be that Bay wanted that 5th year, and without it the Sox deal wasn't worth signing.

Still, if I understand correctly, Bay and his agent thought a lot more money would be made, and by the time they realized it wouldn't... Boston had already snagged Cameron and no longer needed Bay, which likely is a great move for them. They save money, improve their overall run differential, and use the extra cash to pick up a guy like Lackey. As a Boston fan I enjoyed the Bay era: he was hard working and fairly consistent, and certainly played well enough to absorb most of the loss of Ramirez (although I can't help but think that Ramirez in a Boston uni last year gets them into the World Series, or at least the ALCS).

posted by hincandenza at 03:01 PM on December 30, 2009

This from Chad Finn's "Touching All the Bases" blog in the Boston Globe

Bay survived five years in Pittsburgh, which is essentially Flushing with fewer airplanes flying overhead. Actually, the final decision between Mr. and Mrs. Bay probably went something like this:

Him: "Joe says we're not going to get a better offer than the one from the Mets. Might as well get it over with -- let's take the loot, eh?"

Her: "Sounds like a plan to me -- now we can afford our own Zamboni. Say, hon, wanna grab a sixer of Molson and go curling tonight?"

(And thus ends this edition of Canadian Stereotypes Theatre.)

posted by Howard_T at 05:36 PM on December 30, 2009

A healthy Mets squad, including Bay, probably competes in the NL East even with Halladay. I'm not sure in years 2 and 3, when there will be more FA pitchers available, this is a terrible team to be joining.

posted by dfleming at 06:30 PM on December 30, 2009

Well, I'm a little surprised at the Red Sox fans not being even a little bit worried about the state of their offence. Bay isn't a Hall of Famer, but you've got a year-older Papi, a 36-year old centre fielder who hits 15 homers and strikes out 150 times and a semi-interested JD Drew to go with Youklis? And you better hope that the year Scutaro had last year wasn't a one time deal. And he's not a great defensive shortstop. You lost 36 home runs that you haven't even begun to replace.

But yes, the outfield defence will be much improved.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 12:08 AM on December 31, 2009

I'm a little surprised at the Red Sox fans not being even a little bit worried about the state of their offence.

1. Speak English.

2. I definitely expect a decent drop in offense if this is the 2010 lineup. What's interesting is the Sox have clearly indicated they've given up on trying to chase offense and are going with run prevention. If +1 offensive runs and -1 defense runs are the same thing, defense is still underpriced in the market.

Also, don't listen to the chorus of ill-informed Sox fans about J.D. Drew. He may be frustrating to watch, but he also may be underpaid at $14 million per.

posted by yerfatma at 09:05 AM on December 31, 2009

He may be frustrating to watch, but he also may be underpaid at $14 million per.

2007: .270, 11, 64, .373 OBP
2008: .280, 19, 64, .408 OBP
2009: .279, 24, 68, .392 OBP

The man has started in the big leagues for 11 years and has driven in more than 75 runs twice, both in contract years. Couple that with a .981 career fielding percentage and an average of 121 games played per year and you've got a guy who can draw a consistent walk and can't do anything else remotely consistently. Who could possibly replace that for less than $14 million?

posted by dfleming at 10:16 AM on December 31, 2009

He's been 25% better than (AL) league average in his 3 years in Boston (according to OPS+) and if you're going to use fielding percentage to talk about his defense, we should probably just agree to disagree. Fangraphs prices wins above replacement at $3.5 million per win, which makes Drew slightly underpaid in his last two years (his first season evens it all out though).

posted by yerfatma at 12:18 PM on December 31, 2009

1. Speak English.

Hey! Sprechen sie "kiss my ass"?

(And Drew is, yes, a pretty consistent performer. But what a colossal bore.)

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 03:03 PM on December 31, 2009

Happy Neu! Year

posted by yerfatma at 03:33 PM on December 31, 2009

Based on Fangraphs' WAR, Marco Scutaro was worth 15.75m last season, twice what Mariano Rivera's value was, who is comparable to Lyle Overbay's value.

posted by dfleming at 03:35 PM on December 31, 2009

Well, I'm a little surprised at the Red Sox fans not being even a little bit worried about the state of their offence.

Try reading the Boston sports pages, Weedy. The apocalypse has come, and there is no hope left in Beantown. There are actually some who have a bit of expertise in the sport who think that Boston, as likely constituted in 2010, will be a 95-win team. That ought to get you into the playoffs, and with a starting staff as deep as Boston's, they could go far.

By the way, Weedy, it's not the English language, it's the spelling. My spell checker wants me to break 'offence' into 2 words, 'of fence', and 'defence' refers to the stupid signs involving pickets seen at football games. I refuse to honor any comment that places a 'u' between o and r.

posted by Howard_T at 04:09 PM on December 31, 2009

Well, I'm a little surprised at the Red Sox fans not being even a little bit worried about the state of their offence.

I'm worried about the offense, but less about the pitching. And they could add someone else.

They very well could miss him this year at the plate. I don't think that's worth watching a hitter that strikes out 162 times and is awful defensively wearing a Sox uniform in 4/5 years.

posted by justgary at 08:21 PM on December 31, 2009

Based on Fangraphs' WAR, Marco Scutaro was worth 15.75m last season, twice what Mariano Rivera's value was

Due to the fact Scutaro played 100x the innings Rivera did. You can't bitch about JD Drew missing games and then knock the evaluation system for taking playing time into account. They're apples and oranges, position-wise.

posted by yerfatma at 11:32 AM on January 03, 2010

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