Getting To Know Jason Bay

Posted on by Kerel Cooper

With the recent reports that the New York Mets will announce the signing of Jason Bay sometime next week (pending his physical), I decided to reach out to my blogger buddy “Done” (a big time Redsox fan) over at Get Out of My Ballpark to give me some insight into the type of player that is Jason Bay.

Below is an email exchange we had regarding Bay. We discuss Redsox fan reaction, Bay’s defensive liabilities, why “Done” thinks this is a bad deal for the Mets and more!

Question: What’s the reaction from Boston fans (including you) on Bay signing with the Mets?
Answer: Bay is a terrific player and a class act. The Sox obviously saw something in him that made them believe that he would not be a $ 15 million player at age 36 and didn’t want to include the fifth year of the deal. We are very happy with his move to the Mets because it takes him out of our path to the World Series and most of us who were paying attention for the past month or so knew he wasn’t coming back here.

Question: A lot has been made of Jason Bay being a defensive liability. Especially as he moves to a big park like Citi Field. As someone who watched him all of last summer, can you give some insight into he defensive liabilities?
Answer: Jason Bay is not a hugely awful defensive player, but he is not a great one. He was an upgrade over Manny, but that’s not a huge challenge. Mostly he will suffer in a ballpark with massive gaps like Citi Field, and he doesn’t always take the best path to the ball. In a left field the size of most new yorkers’ studio apartments (Fenway Park LF) this wasn’t a huge deal, but when we were on the road last summer it was pretty apparent.

Question: What’s the strongest part of Bay’s game?
Answer: Bay is a right handed power hitter. He is at his best when people are throwing him fastballs which he hammers with the best of them. Sliders down and away are another story and a large reason for his 162 ks last year.

Question: From what you’ve heard, what type of teammate and clubhouse guy is Bay?
Answer: Fantastic. Laid back, professional and dryly funny. He will never be an issue in the club house, even when the team isn’t dong well ( remember he spent half a decade in Pittsburgh).

Question: In 2009, Bay had career highs in homeruns (36) and RBI’s (119). Considering he’s now in a lineup with Wright and Beltran but also playing in a big park like Citi Field, do you think Bay will continue to put up these type of numbers?
Answer: This is why it is a bad deal for the Mets. Citi field made Wrights power numbers drop by 2/3 last season and though Bay won’t have the same drop off, I think 25 homeruns would be a more likely number. He may have slightly better batting average because he will hit balls that might have been caught at Fenway but will be hits in his new home. The 119 RBI is a function of guys being on base ahead of him so that might still be up there. Look for a line more like .280/25/95.

Question: Feel free to add anything else.
Answer: Bay is the kind of player the Mets should be shying away from with the facts of their new home. They should be concentrating on pitching and defense and adding left handed power if anything. Given that he is a class act who has shown he can perform very well on the big stage and I hope he is terrific in flushing. He will likely be able to put up very good numbers for another year or two before he begins his decline and will be a good force in the Mets clubhouse.

Thanks to “Done” for taking the time to answer my questions. Be sure to check him out over at Get Out of My Ballpark.

This entry was posted in Baseball, Interviews, New York Mets, Player Profile and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Getting To Know Jason Bay

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  2. Joe D. says:

    Kerel, I loved this interview and it's always great to read insight from another fan who had seen Bay on a daily basis. I disagree about the part that we should be shying away from hitters like bay though, mostly because you could say that about any righthanded power hitter until the day the Mets shorten the walls or bring in the fences. The fact is we needed a power hitter who can pull the ball unlike David Wright. There are two major studies, one by Fan Graphs the other by BTF, that showed Jason Bay's homeruns would have gone from 36 to 30 in CitiField, Not bad at all.

  3. Joe D. says:

    But one thing to note is what his presence in the lineup will do for Wright who had no protection in the lineup including 30 games when Murphy batted cleanup behind him. Bay will change the dynamic of our lineup because he is a legitimate threat. It should mean less pitching around Wright and more homers for him. It remains to be seen just how bad Bad is defensively, but one thing is certain. He made no errors last season because he plays the balls that are hit to him perfectly. He led the majors in assists because he throws to the right base and has great instincts. With Beltran to his left, range will not be that big a problem. Sheffield who was even worse looked like Al Kaline playing alongside Beltran. Plus Pagan is one of the leagues best 4th outfielders and will be a fine late inning replacement if necessary. Once again great post. Happy New Year!

    • kerelcooper says:

      I'd love to see Bay in the mid 30's in terms of homeruns but if I was a betting man I'd say he's going to hit in the high 20's. One glaring weakness I see in the Mets line-up right now is the lack of power from the left-hand side of the plate. They are very right handed heavy right now. Not sure how big of an issue that's going to be but it be nice to have a lefty in the line-up that can take advantage of the Pepsi Porch.

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