Thursday, November 19, 2009

Hot Stove Topic: Jason Bay

Let’s light the lamp oil, put a log in the stove, pour the winter ales and speculate about all things in the world of the red-stringed rawhide….

The second biggest name on the market this off season is Mr. Jason Bay. There are many intriguing places where the 31-year old slugging outfielder could land, but where he does finally call home will depend greatly on where Mr. Holliday ends up.

The lineup—particularly the power aspect of it—is aging rapidly. With David Ortiz's power rapidly diminishing, there's no one on the team that's a lock to hit more than 25+ homers. (Youkilis hit 27 last year, second to Bay.) If Boston can't sign Holliday—which is entirely possible given that he's expressed his desire to stay with the Cardinals—they will go after Bay hard. In order for Ortiz to possibly bounce back from 2 years of subpar numbers, he'll need the kind of protection Bay can provide. The Red Sox will pay for that.

I think the prospects of Bay getting any more than a 4-year contract are slim given his age and his slump in production during the last half of '09. I firmly believe 4 years, $65-75 million will be what Bay fetches. Which means the Red Sox aren't the only team that can afford him....

$48 million. That's what the Mariners have to play around with after freeing themselves from the contracts of Adrian Beltre, Miguel Bautista, Kenji Johjima, Jerrod Washbrun and the oft-injured, clubhouse cancer that was Eric(a) Bedard. And it wouldn't it be nice for the Ms to solve their decades-long left field woes with Bay? Given his Northwest ties, Bay might find Seattle an intriguing destination. This is a franchise that is resurrecting itself in the wake of Bill Bavasi's reign of baseball terror. The Ms have the ability to pay $15-17 million Bay will command, leaving them another $30-32 million to sign Russell Branyan (why he isn't signed yet is baffling) and few Grade B or C starting pitchers.

However, the franchise still has a long way to go. Outside of Cy Young runner up Felix Hernandez, every spot in the rotation seems up for grabs. Which makes the Ms a less desirable choice for Bay if he's looking to get to the post season and a World Series.

Speaking of King Felix, whether or not the Ms sign Bay hinges greatly on what they decide to do with Felix, sign him to a long-term deal or trade him before the season starts. They could do both. The drawback would mean tying most of that $48 million into just 2 players. Under GM Jack Zduriencik, I don't see the Ms doing both. It's Bay or Felix, but not both.

St. Louis
Again, protecting Albert Pujols in the lineup is a top priority for the Cards. If they fail to sign Matt Holliday, they too will go after Bay hard.

Again, the same reasons I gave for the Cubs being involved in the Holliday bidding apply here with Bay.

San Francisco
Stranger things have happened, and Lord knows my G-Men need some kind of bat in their lineup, but I just give them a 5% chancc of signing Bay.

New York Mets
Why not Holliday instead of Bay? Bay's cheaper. However, the Mets simply have too much money tied into massive contracts now to sign Bay.

Your thoughts and cheap bon mots?

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