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Jason Bay: The Rationale

Posted By Howard Megdal On August 8, 2012 @ 11:00 am In Today's Mets headlines | Comments Disabled

So Sandy Alderson, speaking with reporters following Tuesday night’s loss to the Marlins, was quite definitive [1] about Jason Bay.

The Mets are mercifully planning to sit him against right-handed pitchers. But against lefties, he’ll get his shot.

From a 2012 perspective, this makes some sense. They have Mike Baxter and Jordany Valdespin to use against righties. Against lefties, they have Scott Hairston, and… that’s it, really.

There’s an argument for getting Baxter and Valdespin reps against lefties as well, to see if either one profiles as more than a platoon player at best.

But the Mets owe Jason Bay $19 million next year, whether he is playing for them or not. If there is any useful baseball left in him, not only does it behoove the Mets to find it, he’d be a right-handed outfield bat that is largely missing from the organization in general. So he would also fill a need.

That is not to say that a Bay revival is likely, or even plausible. But let’s say he has a one percent chance of approaching the player he was in 2009.

Well, consider that if the Mets pick up the options on R.A. Dickey and David Wright, they will owe more than $73 million to six players. They have several arbitration eligible players in Daniel Murphy, Ike Davis and Bobby Parnell who they aren’t likely to let go, and who will certainly earn more than the league minimum. Let’s pencil them in for around $1 million apiece.

If they were to fill out the remaining 16 roster spots at the league minimum, that takes the Mets to around $84 million without any additions whatsoever. The budget this season was $91 million, if you’re keeping score.

So here’s the question: if we assume that the Mets aren’t increasing their expenditures on player salaries in 2013- and there’s absolutely no reason to think that they will- can they find someone with a one percent chance of being Jason Bay 2009 within that budget?

It’s unlikely. If they do, they can always send Jason Bay packing at that point.

Meanwhile, letting him play against lefties to maximize that non-zero chance doesn’t seem so crazy.

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[1] was quite definitive: http://espn.go.com/new-york/mlb/story/_/id/8245130/new-york-mets-platoon-jason-bay-no-plans-eat-contract

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