Almost No Words on Jason Bay
Mike Salk reported last night that the M’s were likely to sign Jason Bay. Today, he’s added that the deal is “close”, so expect it to happen. Because Bay was Figgins’d by the Mets, he’s not going to sign for anything more than the Major League minimum, since he’s still going to be paid the same amount regardless of what his new team signs him for. So, money is irrelevant here. He’s just picking his new team based on potential opportunity and place he wants to play. Because he’s a local-ish kid and the Mariners have an apparent need for hitters, it’s no surprise this is one of his primary choices.
And, on some kind of one year flyer, the answer is usually “hey, why not?” If he has some magical resurgence, well, neat, useful player for the league minimum and no real cost. Seems like a no-brainer, right?
Well, kinda. There’s just one problem here – I’m not sure what roster spot he’d really be fighting for.
If we assume the M’s are going to acquire some kind of full time right-fielder, the OF next year looks to be Saunders/Gutierrez/New Guy with Wells as the fourth OF. If the Mariners go into 2013 with Bay in a starting role, something went terribly wrong. That leaves Wells’ job as the RH fourth outfielder, and to be honest, it’s hard to see Bay providing anything that Wells doesn’t already do better.
Bay might get his power back; Wells already has power. Bay might not be a defensive disaster in a smaller left field; Wells is a pretty good defender who can also cover center field if need be. What does Jason Bay bring to the table that would be in any way different or better than what Casper Wells brings to the table?
Realistically, the only spot Bay would represent any kind of useful upgrade would be DH versus LHPs on days when Jesus Montero is catching. Last year, there were a number of games where Miguel Olivo filled that spot simply because the team wanted to get as many right-handed bats in the line-up as they could, and he was right-handed and occasionally hit a home run. So, Bay might represent an upgrade in that role.
But, if you’re slotting in Montero as the catcher against lefties and you’re carrying Jason Bay, you’re running into roster crunch issues. You still need a third catcher on the roster because Montero is slated to DH against RHPs, so the bench would be Third Catcher/Bay/Wells/Andino. Not exactly a lot of infield depth there, and given the health concerns with Bay and Guti, there’s going to be days when they would be playing with a skeleton staff and have few to no reserves available.
I’m not opposed to taking a flyer on Bay and seeing what he looks like in spring training. I just have a hard time seeing how he fits here, or how he’ll actually help the Mariners. The Mariners shouldn’t give Eric Wedge a worse RH fourth OF option than Casper Wells and tempt him to downgrade that position, as they’ve jerked Wells around enough the last few years, and Bay isn’t going to be any kind of legitimate upgrade in that role. And they don’t really have another role for him.
Bringing him to camp so that other teams can get a look at him and he can be a good veteran influence on the kids? Sure, why not. Putting him on the 25 man roster and hoping he helps the team in 2013? Ehh, I don’t see it.