Almost No Words on Jason Bay

Dave · December 4, 2012 at 11:36 am · Filed Under Mariners 

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.


37 Responses to “Almost No Words on Jason Bay”

  1. shortbus on December 4th, 2012 11:40 am

    The only rational conclusion is that Casper Wells stinks. Literally. He smells really, really bad and nobody wants to be near him in the clubhouse or on long charter flights to Texas.

    Otherwise I have no idea why the team would seriously consider this. Pray this is just an NRI spring training flyer.

  2. TumwaterMike on December 4th, 2012 11:48 am

    Why not take a flyer on him. There is no guarantee that Saunders continues to improve and that Gutierrez can stay healthy. With a minor league contract and an invite to spring training, there is very little risk there. It does not matter who else the M’s get. Just my opinion.

  3. Paul B on December 4th, 2012 11:57 am

    I get the impression Wedge doesn’t think much of Wells.

    I mean, Carp was supposed to be a full timer last year in the OF.

  4. BackRub on December 4th, 2012 11:59 am

    Was wondering about this, but would M’s consider keeping 5 OFs, with Guti’s health issues. Its either that or go with a Liddi type who can play 3rd and stand in the OF if need be. Don’t really think Liddi/whoever else is offering much, except it would leave the bench thin if we had to play a few games with one of our IFs hurt. Just a thought…

  5. MangoLiger on December 4th, 2012 12:05 pm

    @shortbus, Munenori Kawasaki disputes your Wells-smells-bad theory.

  6. MissouriMariner on December 4th, 2012 12:07 pm

    Not super excited about this….seems to be the way the M’s have worked lately….block a young guy that has the same skills as the veteran…I guess this may be the tough veteran gritty type guy….ugh

  7. Barrel on December 4th, 2012 12:17 pm

    I could be wrong, but isn’t the Bay situation different than Figgins with regards to the major league minimum since Bay wasn’t just released, but rather worked on a buy-out of his contract with the Mets?

  8. thurston24 on December 4th, 2012 12:29 pm

    Please GMZ, don’t give Wedge crappy veterans. He will play them when the suck.

  9. Klatz on December 4th, 2012 12:30 pm

    Over the course of his career Bay hasn’t had a big platoon split. So he could, in theory, also hit RH as DH. Wells, on the other hand, does have a large split. So Bay provides a little more versatility as DH (on paper).

    Of course no platoon split + suck is still suck from both sides of the plate. My preferred option is to stick him in the minors and see if there’s a resurgence.

    But I wouldn’t mind a 1-2 month flier to see if there’s anything possible resurrection.

  10. terryoftacoma on December 4th, 2012 12:31 pm

    Signing Bay with an invite to Spring training isn’t a bad idea with the question marks in our outfield. If we end up with a healthy Gutierrez,a improving Saunders and a new RF then he’s cut. But none of those are settled just yet.

  11. _Hutch_ on December 4th, 2012 12:32 pm

    Does Wells have any options left?

  12. Bip on December 4th, 2012 12:42 pm

    I have a hard time seeing this as a bad move. Take a flyer on a player that, when he was healthy and not in NY, mashed the ball as a 5 WAR player. And he costs league minimum. No harm, no foul and there’s a chance for some upside…

  13. stevemotivateir on December 4th, 2012 12:45 pm

    Bay could be used as insurance in the event of another injury to Gutierrez during spring. I think that’s likely his best chance at making the club.

  14. Westside guy on December 4th, 2012 12:49 pm

    Bay’s career path has followed the trajectory a lot of us expected back when certain people were lobbying for the Mariners to spend big bucks on the dude just a couple years back. I don’t see the reason to even take a flier on the guy.

    Steve, I have to disagree with you. Even if Guti trips over his shoelaces or chokes on his gum – I’d rather see Wells get the shot.

  15. dchappelle on December 4th, 2012 12:54 pm

    I think the idea is more power, many more walks and passable defense. Probably a pipe dream but he wouldn’t be the first player to be terrible and have a big resurgence.

    My real concern is if it affects a Swisher signing.

  16. groundzero55 on December 4th, 2012 1:02 pm

    Maybe Bay will have a resurgence and go back to his 2005-2006 type numbers.

    I’d take that over Wells, just sayin’.

  17. themojoworkin on December 4th, 2012 1:23 pm

    While I have no strong feelings in favor of Jason Bay, isn’t this a zero risk signing (assuming it is for veteran minimum)? He probably doesn’t make the team, unless there is an injury, and in that case, maybe he is better than Carlos Peguero round 7? And no one in their right mind could DEPEND on Jason Bay as a regular contributor.

    Well, there is the Eric Wedge factor- that Wedge falls in love with the “veteran intangibles”….OK I guess there is a little risk here….

  18. Westside guy on December 4th, 2012 1:33 pm

    Just to be clear – we’re not talking about a guy coming off one bad year. For each of the past three years – every season since the Met’s signed him – Bay’s offensive production has significantly dropped compared with the previous season.

    The chances of a resurgence are just about nil – I don’t think it’s worth the time, even with no risk.

  19. MrZDevotee on December 4th, 2012 1:55 pm

    As much as I dislike Mike Salk, I hope this is just his egotistical need to have a “rumor” out there, and get some headlines (just about EVERY “B” blog out there has jumped on this story, while not a single other top source has mentioned it?).

    And hey, maybe he’s friends with Bay and lobbying for a spot on the Mariners ’cause that’s what Bay wants? Doing a “buddy” thing? (I’m just hoping here.)

    Hopefully this is just “Bay met with Mariners” and then things got blown out of proportion from there. There are SO many other useful pieces (meaning anyone who plays the OF decently, has an OBP near .300, and is under 30) that can have longer than “last year of their career” impacts on this team.

    Just Say No To (guys-who-used-to-be-useful) Drugs!

  20. eponymous coward on December 4th, 2012 2:13 pm

    Maybe Bay will have a resurgence and go back to his 2005-2006 type numbers.

    Let’s sign Milton Bradley, Jack Cust and Brad Wilkerson, too: FOUR times as many chances for a resurgence!

    To put this another way: is there a reason why you think Jason Bay is more likely to resurge than Chone Figgins? They’re the same age, and it’s been about the same length of time since either of them were anything.

    And my problem with the flyer is we already know that Wedge misused Casper Wells last year, and he regularly screws up who to play based on sprint training- let’s not hand him another Veteran Shiny Object to distract him.

  21. msfanmike on December 4th, 2012 2:20 pm


    I don’t know why anybody would be down on Salk, but okay …..

    In regard to Bay, his potential signing, hurts nothing. If he has anything left in the tank, he will have a chance to prove it. If there is anything left in that tank he will be a marked improvement over Thames, Robinson, Peguero, etc.

    Bay is a logical fit for a low cost minor league contract with an invitation to Spring Training.
    The potential signing of Bay will not be used as a reason (by the team) to not pursue other players.

    You could see this potential signing coming from the day the Mets and Bay severed ties. What’s the surprise?

  22. just a fan on December 4th, 2012 2:25 pm

    I just hope signing Jason Bay doesn’t prevent the Mariners from accepting the Pirates offer of Garrett Jones for Taijuan Walker.

    ^ Joke

  23. MrZDevotee on December 4th, 2012 2:28 pm

    Oh good, Geoff Baker is reporting it’s “almost done” now. So it’s definitely NOT likely to be true.

    NOT gonna happen.


    (ONLY reason I could get behind this is to let him come to Spring Training, and rake against the minor leaguers, so we can trade him before the season for some prospects… I’m okay with that.)

  24. MrZDevotee on December 4th, 2012 2:42 pm

    Sorry, I guess it’s just me. I find it hard to listen to Salk. Too brash and belligerent for me. But I suppose that’s what works on talk radio. Probably entertaining if you can stand his voice.

    (Remember, I’m a recording engineer, and the sound of broken glass and thick raw sewage put through a blender hurts my ears… Plus you can hear him spit when he talks and I oddly imagine I can feel it on my face when he really gets into it… Blech.)

  25. stevemotivateir on December 4th, 2012 2:49 pm

    Westy, I wasn’t insinuating that Bay should have a starting spot. I think it’s pretty much a given that he wouldn’t be a starter for any team! I was simply implying he could take Guti’s spot on the roster. Thames would be the odd man out. Bay would be the fourth outfielder. That’s assuming another (better) option isn’t brought in, and that he earns it, of course.

  26. msfanmike on December 4th, 2012 2:56 pm

    I see, now I better understand your quandry.

    I wouldn’t say Salk’s voice is his strongest credential, but the guy does his research, speaks well, puts together logical ‘arguments’ and he and Brock play well off of one another.

    When it comes to ‘rumors’ and whether or not something is or isn’t going to happen, I think Salk is a trustworthy source.

    He isn’t going to win any “radio voice” awards, but who cares. He’s just reporting on Sports – and he is pretty good at it.

    I hope he comes across the airwaves soon with a report on a big trade and/or signing(s) for the Mariners. Lord knows they need more than one.

  27. lalo on December 4th, 2012 3:11 pm

    Haha, Jack Z is calling everybody, between yesterday and today, the M´s have been linked to Billy Butler, Justin Upton, Alex Gordon, La Roche, Mike Morse, Nick Swisher, Josh Hamilton, Bourn, Jason Kubel, Jason Bay, Raul Ibanez, Nate McLouth, Ryan Ludwick Garrett Jones, and Brennan Boesch.

    I´m sure Jack Z is trying 🙂

  28. msfanmike on December 4th, 2012 3:26 pm

    With Victorino just signing with the Red Sox (as a “corner outfielder for 3 years and $37M believe it or not), the number of viable Swisher-Suiters may have been reduced by one.

    The bad thing thing about the Victorino signing is that he got 3 years!? However, Upton only got 5 years, so a 4 year’ish commitment to Swisher might be able to get something done. 4 years and $55M ish would appear to be reasonable to me.

  29. ppl on December 4th, 2012 3:42 pm

    I do not get the way they deal with Wells. I am not against a low risk signing of Bay and find it humorous how many flip out about it. But they traded for Wells and he has been a decent RHB for them and yet they act like he is not even around most of the time.

  30. Westside guy on December 4th, 2012 3:48 pm

    Hey Steve, I know you weren’t advocating for a starting role for Mr. Bay – I was just disagreeing with you. 😀

  31. bfgboy on December 4th, 2012 3:58 pm

    Everybody needs an avocation, and Jack’s is collecting fourth outfielders. Seriously, aside from the Condor & Ichiro, can you identify anybody in the organization that is, or profiles as a legitimate starting outfielder in any organization but the M’s over the last two years? Guti (averaging 250 ABs over last two), Robinson, Wells, Thames, Peguero, Carp, Ford, Mike Wilson, and now Bay. Can we just get one guy that can play passable defense, bat .260, and hit 10 dingers over 150 games? Is Rick Ankiel next?

  32. Steve Nelson on December 4th, 2012 5:05 pm

    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.

    I don’t believe that is correct in this case. Bay’s agreement with the Mets was not a simple release but a termination of the contract with the remaining amounts due converted to a lump sum + deferred payments. Since the contract is terminated, the deferred payments are not subject to offset. Thus any contract he signs with any team is payment on top of what he is receiving from the Mets. So there is competitive bidding for his services.

    from the NY Times: After Three Seasons of Failure, Bay and the Mets Go Their Separate Ways

    The Mets’ talks with Bay were completed quickly, with the approval of the commissioner’s office and the players union.

    The union does not allow contract modifications that lower the value of a player’s contract, and deferring payment would theoretically represent that. But the deal was approved because the union determined Bay could offset that loss of value by being an unconditional free agent.

    If the Mets had simply released him, he would have received a minimum contract from any new team, with the Mets paying the rest of what was owed. Now, Bay has the chance to shop himself and receive at least some salary on top of all the money the Mets owe.

  33. MrZDevotee on December 4th, 2012 5:07 pm

    Interesting stuff… Thanks for that info on the Bay contract (on non-contract now).

  34. justinh on December 4th, 2012 6:17 pm

    The M’s want whomever they sign, if it is Bay or Ibanez, to play first base as well as OF.

  35. eponymous coward on December 5th, 2012 6:15 am

    The thing is the M’s already have two RHB OFers who basically fill Bay’s potential roles: Casper Wells and Marcus Thames.

    Bay, 2010-2012: .234/.318/.369
    Thames, 2011-2012: .250/.296/.431
    Wells, 2010-2012: .246/.317/.435

    So, Bay’s the version of this skillset who’s older, and who hasn’t done anything better than the other players have in the past three years.

    Apparently we need him because veteran leadership blah blah blah clubhouse presences blah blah blah he was good a while back blah blah blah maybe the fences will help blah blah blah you bloggers in your mom’s basement don’t know anything about how this game is played blah blah blah.

    Awesome. Can we sign him to a multi-year deal?

  36. 6-4-3 on December 5th, 2012 9:41 am

    The thing I don’t like about signing Bay is doing so might make the front office actually think they’ve accomplished something when, in fact, they’ve done next to nothing. They’ve signed a guy who has very little chance of contributing. If signing Bay in any way reduces the chances of signing a player who actually has a legit shot at helping the team, then it’s a poor move.

  37. Choo on December 5th, 2012 11:47 am

    According to Andy Martino, the Jason Bay deal is done, pending a physical. *yay*

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