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The New York Mets have reportedly entered the bidding for free agent outfielder Jason Bay, and became the second team to make a formal offer. The Mets have offered Bay a four-year deal worth approximately $65 million, which tops the Sox offer of four years and $60 million.
According to WEEI’s Alex Speier, if any team offers Bay a five-year contract, that will likely seal the deal. Bay, 31, understandably wants the security that a fifth year brings, but it remains to be seen if any team is willing to offer a guaranteed fifth year.
Meanwhile, according to ESPN’s Buster Olney, there are “concerns within the Boston organization about whether Jason Bay would hold up physically through a multi-year deal.” MLBTradeRumors.com notes that for what it’s worth, Bay has only been on the disabled list twice in his career, with his last stint coming in 2004.
It appears the Red Sox will wait out the Bay negotiations, giving themselves the option to top or counter any other team’s offer. This new strategy was employed last off-season by the Yankees, who stole Mark Teixeira away from the Red Sox. The Sox had aggressively pursued Teixeira, who was just using them to add more money to his final deal with the Yankees (8 years, $180 million).
After last year’s Tex debacle, the Sox can ill-afford to let something like that happen. With that said, Theo Epstein and company are making the right move to hold off making a big offer…for now.