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Sports Commentary 11/8/12

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Jason Bay is now a Free Agent…Would he be a good fit back in Boston ?

I’ve got an idea. Jason Bay. He’s free to sign with anyone. The Mets made him a free agent yesterday by buying out the final year plus option on his contract for $21 million. Not a bad deal for the Mets. Instead of paying the entire amount over one year they’ll pay installments over several years, freeing up immediate money to spend on the open market, or maybe close to home, for new deals with David Wright and R.A. Dickey. Jason Bay will go down as one of the worst free agent signings of all time, but no longer having to watch him rehab from one injury or another in a Mets uniform alone is enough to renew warm and fuzzy feelings of Mets fans toward their team, so this was a brilliant exit strategy. It’s time for someone else to consider Jason Bay as a strategy of their own. With 21 million Mets dollars coming his way Bay doesn’t have to break the free agent bank and he understands, after three dismal years in New York, he’ll be considered a gamble. This time around he’s the cost effective outfielder. As a perfect fit, may I suggest the Boston Red Sox? There’s a new look and feel about the Sox with John Farrell assembling a bright young staff that’s sure to reverse the plague that has permeated their clubhouse the last two seasons. By all accounts Bay is just the type of clubhouse presence to continue reversing the trend that plunged the Sox into the depths of the American League East. There’s still some question about whether Jacoby Ellsbury will still be in a Red Sox uniform when pitchers and catchers report in 99 days, but even if he is he gives them just one legitimate big league outfielder. Ryan Kalish, Daniel Nava, Ryan Sweeney and Jerry Sands don’t yet qualify. The Sox would do well to ignore Bay’s three year statistics with the Mets and concentrate instead on his season and a half in Boston prior to free agency, and the fact he’s maintained a good relationship with their front office. In 200 games with the Red Sox he had a .274 batting average with 45 homers and 156 ribbies, 19 more homers and 32 more RBI than in his three years with the Mets, an indication that he’s just a Fenway kind of guy. He has good speed and could move into center field, if Ellsbury is dealt, or go back to left field, where had little trouble with the wall. Erase the Mets years and his big league on base percentage is .385 and in each of his first five full seasons, before becoming a regular on the Mets injury report, he played in 145 or more games, 155 or more in all but one. Taking into consideration that the Mets organization and their stadium dimensions never made Bay feel comfortable, there’s still a lot of free agent value to be had at a bargain price for a guy who’s still in his prime, at 34 years of age. The Yankees, also in need of outfield help, need not apply, Bay will never have that New York state of mind, but if I’m Ben Cherington I’m on the phone to Jason Bay this morning. With a comment from the sports world, I’m Scott Gray.

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