Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Market for Jason Bay

During the first three days of the winter meetings, one name that has barely been talked about at length is Jason Bay. The Red Sox left fielder is considered to be one of the top free agents on the market this winter, but the market for Bay seems to be developing slowly. Questions about Bay's defense and price have kept teams away for now as clubs seek to address other needs before exploring the possibility of signing Bay.

So what teams should be interested in Bay, who is a type A free agent? Let's take a look:
  • Red Sox: The Sox did offer Bay a 4 year/$60 million dollar contract at the beginning of the offseason, but Bay turned it down because he thought he could do better on the open market. The Sox still have a gaping hole in left field, but they might opt to sign Adrian Beltre to play third base and have Jeremy Hermida man left field instead of paying big money for Bay. Then again, we know how much the Red Sox like Bay, so it wouldn't be shocking to see the Sox stay patient with their slugging left fielder.
  • Cardinals: Is it possible that the Cardinals could go after Bay if they fail to land Matt Holliday? Even with his defensive struggles, Bay could become a more realistic option than Matt Holliday, who offers similar production, less money, and therefore, less risk.
  • Angels: Even though they need hitter, the Angels continue to downplay their interest in Bay, the team does need a power hitter, and because they are not going after Matt Holliday, Bay should be an attractive option for them should his price come down.
  • Mariners: The Mariners would seem to be a good fit for Jason Bay: the team has tons of money to spend, a glaring hole in left field, and Bay has expressed his desire to play in Seattle. However, the Mariners do not seem interested in Bay at this point because of his salary demands and defensive inefficiencies. I wouldn't count the Mariners out just yet, but I'd say that this one is a long shot.
  • Mets: The Mets need a big bat as badly as any team out there, but they seem hesitant to give Bay the contract the he's looking for because limited defensive ability. With that said, I fully expect the Mets to dive into the Bay sweepstakes at some point especially if his price comes down.

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If I was a betting man, I'd say that Jason Bay will return to the Red Sox next year for a deal similar to the 4 year/$60 million dollar contract he was offered a few weeks ago. The Sox make tons of sense for Bay and seems to be the ideal landing spot because right now, the market for Jason Bay consists of the Red Sox and whole bunch of question marks.

However, if the Sox decide to make a push for Matt Holliday, then the market for Bay would truly be in a state of flux.

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