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For some reason, Red Sox fans are delighted when the possibility of a reunion arises. Unfortunately, this inexplicable urge to reacquire former players often finds itself at odds with the desire to field a competitive baseball team. Is re-signing Kevin Youkilis and/or Marco Scutaro really worth having to suffer through a 70-win season?
Today, however, an interesting reunion scenario arises in the form of former left fielder, Jason Bay. The New York Mets and Bay recently cut ties, leaving him a free agent. Conveniently, the Red Sox are in need of an outfielder or two. And If Boston is looking for a low-risk/high-reward signing, Jason Bay might be a solid fit.
Jason Bay’s first stint with the Red Sox at the very least can be described successful. The successor to Manny Ramirez logged 49 games after the trade in 2008, finishing with a solid slash line of .293/.370/.527. His first, and only, full season in Boston was nothing to sneeze at either. Bay hit 36 home runs, knocked in 119 RBIs, and made his third career All-Star Team. He was no Manny, but at his best, Bay was a formidable middle-of-the-order hitter. It seems like everyone says he should never have left Fenway, so why not bring him back?
Although the Red Sox should not be too concerned about payroll after swindling the Dodgers in August, they do have a lot of holes to fill. Considering the fact that Jason Bay’s tenure in New York was Vernon Wells-esque, his value is probably next to nothing. A low-cost, one-year deal for Bay to rebuild his value does not sound unreasonable.
And for what it’s worth, Jason Bay seems like a nice guy. A team as unlikeable and disappointing as the Red Sox could do worse.
It’s no secret that Bay was flat out terrible for the Mets. After suffering a concussion from running into an outfield wall in his first year for New York, Bay wasn’t the same player. Maybe he never will be. Furthermore, Bay is no Mike Trout when it comes to outfield defense, so if he can’t rediscover his bat, he’s essentially useless.
Also problematic is the fact that Bay, who turned 34 in September, is far from a long-term solution for Boston. He projects to be a stopgap, but the Red Sox might be more interested in giving playing time to someone with more potential like Ryan Kalish.
There is definitely a potential match between Boston and Jason Bay. By signing him to a smaller deal, the Red Sox may have more flexibility to acquire starting pitching and another, more established outfielder (ex. Torii Hunter, Nick Swisher, etc.). If the Red Sox retool themselves effectively, Bay would merely be a complementary piece and not the key component he was a few years back. It always comes down to dollars, but if his asking price is not unreasonable, it would not be the worst thing in the world to see Jason Bay in left field next year.