Jason Bay: pfft

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Generally speaking, I’m not a big fan of sportswriters crowing over a prediction, because 99% of the time they’re educated guesses that came true.

For example, The Saints beat the Colts 31-17 in the Super Bowl, and a sportswriter bellows, “Was I right or was I right? I said the Saints would win 35-13!” Even when Stephen A. Smith rightly said LeBron, Bosh and Wade would all go to Miami, he couched it by saying things like “essentially” and “things can change.” Which means you sort of predicted it, but not fully. Or, as Derrick Coleman would say, Whoop-de-damn-do”

That being said, I’m going to crow. Just a little.

Last December, when the Mets signed Jason Bay to a ludicrous four-year, $66 million deal, I wrote on SI.com that it was a terrible mistake; that Bay was destined to follow the path of George Foster and wind up a terrible bust. Why did I feel this way? A. Because Citi Field ain’t no Fenway. B. Because Bay doesn’t have a New York personality. C. Because the lineup surrounding him would offer only so-so protection.

Now here we are, late July, and Jason Bay is batting .261 with six home runs and 44 RBIs.

He is, in every sense of the word, a bust. A huge one.

I suppose I’m writing this for a certain breed of Met fans. In the aftermath of my column I was pelted with one venemous letter after another—You don’t know shit; Bay’s gonna be huge; etc … etc. But anyone who looked closely at the situation could see the reality, that this was a marriage doomed to fail.

As it has.

PS: The Mets are done. Toast. Over.

23 thoughts on “Jason Bay: pfft”

  1. Will this change with Beltran back in the lineup? Jeff, is it possible the Mets just missed their window? The Braves are back, the Phils are probably the best team in the NL and can only get better with a trade over the next week, and my beloved Nationals may one day actually reach .500 (actually if they build Tampa-style around the anchors of Strasburg/Harper/Zimmerman, they could be a force down the line). Do the Mets have a chance to win this decade?

  2. By the way- his 2007 season is nearly identical to this season for the Mets.

    So it isn’t like this is unprecedented for him.

  3. There wasn’t a lot of hand-wringing or crying or gnashing of teeth when Jason Bay left Boston.

    I think that’s because while he was very good, there were stretches when he was very bad. And if you’re going to pay $66M for a player like Jason Bay, he better be really, really good.

    BTW, Bay’s middle name is Raymond. So to sum up, his parents named him Jason Raymond Bay knowing that some day it could be shortened to Jay Ray Bay.

    I don’t understand people sometimes.

  4. Yes, Bay sucks, but I think that’s simply because he’s almost 32 and past his prime. Put him in this exact situation at age 26 and he’s probably doing fine.

    I think players can succeed in NY without “New York personalities” (Andy Pettitte and Mariano Rivera don’t come across as extraordinarily dynamic people) and Bay has a history of performing well with much less protection than he has this year. (He was hitting 30 HRs a year with the Pirates, after all).

  5. Players that travel through three minor league systems on their way to the bigs don’t often command generational money later in their careers. Bay seems to have received less criticism than his numbers warrant because he runs hard. This is a damning commentary on Met culture. You would think that after Roger Cedeno, Jeromy Burnitz and Gary Matthews Jr., the Mets might reconsider re-investing in players whom they had previously exiled.

  6. Jeff,

    If it it has Bay essentially won’t hit into New York, can you explain why his numbers at Citi are so much better than those on the road.

    .830 OPS at home vs. .698 on the road.

    Not to ruin a good criticism with facts or anything like that though.

  7. A. Because Citi Field ain’t no Fenway. B. Because Bay doesn’t have a New York personality. C. Because the lineup surrounding him would offer only so-so protection.

    hahahaha. is this a joke? are you trying to be ironic? or do you seriously buy this crap? lineup protection? yeah this was definitely the reason he flourished in the past with those juggernaut pirate lineups. new york personality? priceless

    I especially love the response to brad’s use of actual evidence – “i truly believe a stadium can have insanely large psych-out impact on players”. but brad’s point proved the EXACT opposite. it’s amazing how you continually refuse to use concrete analysis to support any of your arguments when it comes to sports. which is really sad considering you do this for a living. quintessential mainstream media hack

  8. Right, Danny. It’s imperative to know a player’s WAR, wOBP, OBGYN, YMCA, etc to truly predict success or failure. That’s why the Phillies, notorious for embracing scout-driven “analysis” over number-crunching, won the last two NL pennants.

  9. Danny’s right that you need to back up arguments with facts. You don’t need to know all the fancy stats but you do have to do more than use magical phrases like “lineup protection” and “New York personality.” Brad’s argument was pretty good, but Jeff didn’t respond with anything concrete – only a fuzzy belief. Jeff, can you provide actual support?

  10. Actually Dan,

    if you are not a SABR organization, you need to develop young players (Twins, Phillies, etc.)

    If you do not fall into these two categories, then you are doomed to be like Cubs, Mets, Royals or Astros.

    I’m still curious what you mean by a New York personality, Jeff?

  11. The term “New York personality” is a cop out for New Yorkers that think their city is some sort impenetrable beast that only a few can survive. Boston is just as tough a town as New York (especially when it comes to the Mets, the second rate team of the city). Bay seemed to do just fine there.

  12. Not sure if I can agree with you, sTring. NY media is unlike any other, fans are rabid. Boston has the fans but not the media. Ain’t no media like NY media.

  13. The reason guys stink when they come to NY is because in teh past the mets and yankees would splurge on over the hill guys so when they regressed people say its NY (bonilla, burnitz, vaughn, coleman and whover else)

  14. Good ol’ Ed Whitson. Great that sportswriters who love to fall back on the “can’t handle the bright lights of New York” have 1 pitcher from 25 years ago they can constantly rely on to try and make their point. Darn that Jason Bay and his Canadian vanilla personality, that just won’t cut it in the Big Apple!

  15. Bryan, i agree with your overall point, but Bobby Bo was actually in his prime and pretty productive for the Mets. The team was going downhill though and he got blamed for way more than he deserved b/c of his salary(OPS+ of 121, 132, 128 in his 3 years). Plus he gave delightful tours of some of NYC’s boroughs.

  16. The Whitson point is a not a very good one for a couple reasons.

    One being that Whitson a below avergae to bad pitcher his whole career.

    He was terrible the year before and year after he left New York, when he played for the San Diego Padres – not exactly New York.

    Simply put, there is no player that has ever, EVER demonstrated a “dis-ability” by not being able to play in NY…

  17. Jon,

    You are right, bobby bo was a bad example. he just came to mind when i thought of mets that people booed alot. also giambi to an extent with yanks was starting on the downside but not the same as in oak.

  18. Problem is, Jeff made the right prediction for the wrong reasons. Sorry, I’m from Boston, the “New York Personality” thing is absolutely bogus. In baseball, if you can make it in Boston, you can make it in NY. Period. *Especially* for the Mets.

    The “protection in the lineup” thing..what did he have here?
    As for the park, last year he had a .904 OPS away and .935 in Fenway, and he hit *more* homers on the road (21 to 15). He wasn’t a pure Fenway hitter.

    Nope, the reason I knew the Mets were idiots for signing him at that price is that he’s a 32 year old leadfoot slugger in a steroid testing era. Big lumbering sluggers *always* died in their mid thirties before steroids.

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