Well the first game of the season is tomorrow and the Mets have their Opening Day roster set. Mike Baxter and Miguel Batista have made the team and Andres Torres, Tim Byrdak, and Frank Francisco will be ready to go as well. All-in-all you look at this Spring as a Mets fan and things went pretty well. They didn’t win many games, but players coming off injuries in the previous year perform well and no one suffered any major injuries. However, there is one last Spring Training game today. I’m not sure why they are playing or more importantly why are the starters are in there. I feel like everyone should have been at Citi Field today to work out and check the ballparks new dimensions. Especially when they are playing a day game tomorrow.
One thing that did concern me this Spring the was production of Jason Bay. He’s hitting .200 with no home runs, two doubles, and 15 strike outs. The good news is that he has ten walks and four stolen bases. So when he gets on base he is making aggressive moves and he’s been patient at the plate. Now the question is how long the Mets will be patient and keep him in the starting line-up.
Terry Collins has already decided that Bay will be the teams number five hitter in the line-up. He’s filling the gap between two powerful left-handed bats; Ike Davis and Lucas Duda. These are two players with 30 home run potential that Bay has been put in-between mainly because he’s not a lefty.
When you look at the starting Mets line-up and think, “who is the most important player for this offense?” You wouldn’t say Ike Davis or David Wright, but rather Jason Bay. He not expected put up All-Star caliber numbers, just don’t-suck… caliber numbers. He plays a very important role and could even be the linchpin to the offense. A poor production year out of him would affect the number of good pitches Davis sees and could send Duda up to the plate to start innings, rather than being a rally finisher.
If Bay has another year were he hits ten home runs and hits .250, there’s going to be a problem. There have already been talks that if he continues to struggle they will look into other options, including a platoon. The only person on the team right now that would fit into that platoon is Mike Baxter, and I don’t think he is the answer to the Mets offense. Kirk Nieuwenhuis would be the most likely to replace Bay once he gets healthy, but again he is left-handed. So he’d give the Mets a very left-handed heavy line-up.
There may not be a way for Bay to avoid an exit from Queens. If he doesn’t perform well he’ll be bench or even released. If he somehow returns to his All-Star form the Mets will most likely look to trade him. It really just feels like Bay is out of place on this young, home-grown team. You look at Murphy, Davis, Duda, and then the big name, big contract Bay. It just doesn’t fit with what the Mets are doing and what direction their organization is moving in. If given a chance to trade Bay for some prospects, it would be tough for Sandy Alderson to turn down.
When someone is getting paid that much there is a certain expectation for them to produce. Bay came over from having a monster year for the Red Sox to the spacious Citi Field. Whether he was trying to hit for more power to get the ball out of the park or just taking too much advice from people on how to fix his swing, Bay is not the same player he was.