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Greg Prince and Jason Fry
Faith and Fear in Flushing made its debut on Feb. 16, 2005, the brainchild of two longtime friends and lifelong Met fans.

Greg Prince discovered the Mets when he was 6, during the magical summer of 1969. He is a Long Island-based writer, editor and communications consultant. Contact him here.

Jason Fry is a Brooklyn writer whose first memories include his mom leaping up and down cheering for Rusty Staub. Check out his other writing here.

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At Least He Leads the Team in Something

“I’m more frustrated than anybody.”
Jason Bay, July 17, 2011

I swear this is getting to be like George Fostermania: not George Foster, but an incredible simulation.

Except left fielder Jason Bay seems to try real hard. And left fielder George Foster was — in the traditional definition of productive as we understood it via home runs and RBI circa 1983 — actually fairly productive in his second Met season. He hit 28 home runs and drove in 90 runs that year. His Wins Above Replacement was nothing special, but I don’t recall it being mentioned on Kiner’s Korner back then, so I’m giving George a pass on that stat.

Saturday marked 162 Mets games played for Bay. He came through his virtual first full season at .250 BA/.337 OBP/.374 SLG. Bay’s WAR added up to 2.0, which as I understand it, is borderline between a bench player and a nondescript starter.

You can get Jason Bay numbers for a lot cheaper than you’re getting Jason Bay. Though to be fair, he has 19 steals in 20 attempts…and that’s not even counting all the megastar money he’s made off with since signing in December 2009.

Jason Bay played his 163rd Mets game Sunday. It didn’t enhance his value by any metric imaginable. He grounded out with two on in the first. He grounded out with a runner on in the third. He flied out with nobody on in the sixth. He walked in the eighth when everybody was else was walking (but he was the lead out on a double play that immediately followed). And he fouled out in the ninth with a runner on.

Oh, and he couldn’t catch a fly ball hit right at him, which led to a three-run inning that put the game pretty much out of reach.

Jason Bay, reminding Mets fans of George Foster and basketball fans of the Charlotte Hornets logo.

So it wasn’t a good “first” season or equivalent thereof for Jason Bay as a Met. And the “second” season isn’t off to a roaring start. And the Mets owe him compensation too daunting to contemplate on a Sunday night.

But he does hustle. He usually fields. Nobody’s more frustrated than he is. And you keep thinking he’s gotta start hitting and not stop.

He’s gotta, doesn’t he?

16 comments to At Least He Leads the Team in Something

  • tim

    One important stat: he’s 32. It’s a rare 32-year-old that starts to decline and then reverses that decline. He’s pretty much following a regular career trajectory. The park isn’t helping, but his road numbers are even worse. Without PED’s, you’re not going to see many 30 to 40-year-old guys getting better as they get older. The concussion may have also been worse than we know, and slow recovery from injury is one of the reasons aging players decline. Sandy and Co. should probably eat the contract (he’s owed a total of $35 million for ’12, ’13, and a $3 million ’14 buyout according to Baseball Prospectus) at the end of the season and move on, assuming his performance remains the same. Great guy, but if you can get the same performance for the league minimum and give a youngster a shot, you have to do it.

  • dmg

    small point: bay wore his sunglasses while batting today — how often do you see a major league hitter do that?

  • Joe D.

    We have another Louis Castillo and Oliver Perez situation on our hands – a very expensive contract with two more seasons to go for a player whose production has spiraled so far down that few teams would be interested in trading for him unless Alderson agrees to eat a good portion of the money owed him. The end result is Jason remaining our every day left fielder instead of giving someone else a chance.

    Agree Jason is a good guy and have no ill will toward him, however, the Mets are stuck.

  • Andee

    Well, he’s not going to go 0 for the rest of his career, in all likelihood. And while there are worse contracts than his, we certainly wouldn’t want to trade for one of them. At least Bay doesn’t act like an asshole in public. But he may well have been a product of PEDs who has not done well at all with the crackdown.

    At this point, the question is, would we get better production out of Nick Evans or Fartinez, right now? Sandy does understand the concept of sunk costs, even if it would be a hard sell to the Pons. Maybe Bay will have to become the world’s most expensive bench coach.

  • BlackCountryMet

    It’s just not gonna happen for him is it? I feel(a bit) for him cos he appears to be trying hard and taking the lack of success hard. But for whatever reasdon, he’s gonna be a bust all the time he’s in Flushing. Be typical, to go somewhere else and be a star again though ;-(

  • Florida Met Fan Rich

    Jason Bay was never a good fit with the Mets from day one. I don’t see why everyone is so surprised now.

    The Mets need to wake up and field a team that compliments this ballpark. That is guys that can hit the ball in the gaps and leg out triples, pitching and defense.

    When “New Shea” was built, they didn’t have Jason bay in mind. Let’s just bring in the fences and reconfigure the field.

    I really beleive you will see changes to the field next year!

    It will give new meaning to the term “Pack it in!”, as that what the Mets need to do for the rest if this season!

  • 9th string catcher

    This too, (Bay) shall pass. Keep playing him and maybe he’ll get some of his form back – it’s not like anyone else on the current roster is a major upgrade. Unless… wanted to try Murphy out there again. I know, he’s one of the worst outfielders who’s ever actually been out there, but he is going to need a position when everyone gets back as he’s been on of their best players. Maybe, just maybe he can improve? I mean, he would probably lose less games in left than he would at 2nd. (not that we have to worry about this right now – Ike’s not coming back this year).

  • eric b

    This year, Murphy will play first once Wright and Reyes come back…. Davis ain’t coming, so no reason to put Murphy in left. Maybe Duda could get some AB’s against righties.

  • Lenny65

    The Foster comparison is right-on, it’s deja vu all over again. Just like back then, you WANT to see the guy succeed, you’re hoping he will, but with each passing day it becomes more and more obvious that it’ll probably never happen. Vastly overpaying for talent on the downside: Omar’s legacy in NY.

  • Dak442

    Is it completely random that he pummeled AL pitching during Interleague play? Maybe an AL GM might take a flier on that if we give him enough of a discount.

    If Jason plays out the rest of this year in the same fashion, he can’t exactly grouse if he becomes the most expensive pinch-hitter in baseball next year. I’d rather see Murph out there 120 times next year. The guy is a professional athlete; give him enough reps and he’ll get the hang of the easiest position to play.

  • a fan's notes

    Foster had noone, noone hitting before or after him in the lineup as I recall, and rarely saw a fat fastball to hit. Amazing he ever had a decent year with the Mets. Not the case with Bay. Very frustrating for fans and management.

  • a fan's notes

    I didn’t have the sound on yesterday but it sure looked like Kendrick was happy to walk Murphy to pitch to Bay with runners on base. That’s how bad it’s gotten.

  • llrh

    i find it amazing