I will clarify everything I am writing here with this statement: “Jason Bay has been a very poor player during his career with the Mets and has not come anywhere close to living up to his exorbitant contract”.
Let me set the scene: The Mets were coming off a very poor season going 70-92 and finishing fourth in the division. Jason Bay was coming off one his of the best seasons of his career after being traded to Boston. Seemed like a great fit, what could go wrong?
The top available players that would have made sense for the Mets for the 2010 season and beyond were Jason Bay, Matt Holliday, Chone Figgins, John Lackey, Joel Pineiro and Rich Harden. I omitted a couple closers (Jose Valverde, Rafael Soriano) and Adrian Beltre because their positions were already filled.
Pitchers: (Stats from 2010 and 2011 seasons)
Joel Pineiro 2 years/ 16 Million (LA Angles)
He posted a 17-14 record, 4.47 ERA, 1.372 WHIP, averaged 149 innings a years over the two years and had a combined WAR of 1.5.
John Lackey 5 years/ 82.5 Million (Boston)
He has posted 26-23 record, 5.26 ERA, 1.504 WHIP, averaged 187 innings a year over the first two years of the contract and posted a War of 0.6.
Rich Harden: 1 Year/ 6.5 Million (Texas)
Only stats necessary are 92 innings pitched and a WAR of -0.3
Hitters: (Stats from 2010 and 2011 seasons)
Chone Figgins: 4 years/ 36 Million (Seattle)
.236 AVG, .309 OBP, .595 OPS, 53 SB and over the previous two years he posted a 0.6 WAR
Matt Holliday: 7 Years/ 120 Million (St. Louis)
.305 AVG, .389 OBP, .917 OPS, 50 HR and had a WAR value of 9.3
Jason Bay: 4 Years/ 66 Million (NY Mets)
.251 AVG, .337 OBP, .723 OPS, 18 HR and a WAR of 2.0
Looking at this data the Market was pretty bleak. The only good signing would have been Holliday, but even he has injury issues and has a contract that will take him well into his thirties. As crazy as it is to say, the Mets could have done much worse than Jason Bay. If the Mets hadn’t signed Bay, I’m fairly confident they would have invested their money in another one or even two of the above free agents, which would have not turned out well.
Watching Jason Bay play baseball has been very painful over the past two seasons, but watching some of these others players may have been even worse. Figgins who I would have liked the Mets to sign can’t stay in the majors and Red Sox fans are pulling their hair out just thinking about John Lackey. Rich Harden and Joel Pineiro don’t