According to ESPN, the Mets added Jason Bay today for four years and $66 million plus a vesting option, and it’s just the kind of deal that Omar Minaya needed to make to save Omar Minaya’s butt. Sure, Bay’s defense was fourth-worst in baseball over the last three years, and he has the kind of skills that decline quickly, but he will help in the short term, and Minaya really only cares about next year, because his butt is on the line. Much of this we already said a couple weeks ago when the rumors started.
He’s been worth around $14 million a year during the last two years, which have been some of the best of his career. It takes the rosiest of glasses to see a 31-year-old actually improving to be worth the average annual value that the Mets will pay Bay. But suppose that his defense doesn’t look as bad in a more traditional ballpark – Citi Field’s left field is bigger, but it doesn’t feature the same arc-altering Green Monster that lurked behind Bay in Fenway – and you could see his defense being less of a minus and his offense playing so well that he’s worth the contract at least for a couple years.
So then it’s a good deal for Omar Minaya to sign, because he has to win now or go home. Now there are the new rumors that Bengie Molina is close to signing for two years and $12 millon, (coming from ESPNRadio’s Rich Coutinho through MetsBlog) which deserves a post of its own. It seems that Minaya created quite a lineup, at least for the weaker league:
SS Jose Reyes
3B David Wright
CF Carlos Beltran
LF Jason Bay
1B Daniel Murphy
RF Jeff Francouer
C Bengie Molina
2B Luis Castillo
Of course, Jerry Manuel will tinker with it to make it worse, but you get the picture.
The team is still missing a number two pitcher, and has spent its purported $22 million in free agent money. We still like a high-upside signing like Erik Bedard and will get to the like shortly to do a little investigation.
It’s a strange day today. Mets fans should be happy that the team got another legitimate hitter, but should also be well aware by now that it’s put up or shut up time. If they don’t win in the next two years, the Mets will be faced with long-term decisions regarding Jose Reyes and David Wright, they’ll have little to nothing in the cupboard in terms of prospects, Johan Santana will be getting older, and Beltran will be out the door. (And Bay will probably be considered a Sunk Cost.)
So why not sign a high-upside, high-risk pitcher? We thought the Mets had $30 million to spend this offseason, they showed that they actually made money with Madoff, and they have a bunch of contracts that lineup in the next two years, a pitching need that isn’t solved by Bay, and a GM that is halfway out the door. Come on down, Ben Sheets!