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Looking to the Future in our Bay Leaves

NostraDennisThursday, December 31, 2009
By NostraDennis


In the first few weeks of this off-season, while other teams scooped up free agents and the Mets did next to nothing, some fans grumbled about the team's inactivity. Now that they've signed Jason Bay, other fans are grumbling that he's not a first-ballot Hall of Famer. That "reverse sour grapes" attitude is puzzling to this Mets fan.

The true measure of this deal won't be known for years. But no one can deny that a Mets roster with Bay on it is a marked improvement from a roster without him. So he's not a Gold Glove outfielder. With the exception of Carlos Beltran, the Mets haven't had one of those in thirty years, and they've had a few pretty good teams despite that glaring deficiency.

Did the Mets overpay for Bay? Quite likely. So what? Every player in baseball is paid more than he's worth. Some are just more overpaid than others. Is Bay on the other side of 30, and getting older every year? Sure is. And every other player gets exactly one year older every year, too. Will Bay put the Mets over the top in 2010? Probably not, but he fills one of the two biggest needs they had going into the winter.

The other need, for a mid-line starting pitcher, remains unmet so far, but signing Bay without losing any prospects gives them far more flexibility to make a trade for one between now and March. Problem is, every team in baseball could use another decent starter, and the fear is that Omar Minaya will overpay in minor league bodies to deal for one.

Can Bay play in New York? That's a question none of us can accurately predict. We've seen a lot of talented players come to Flushing from other cities where they excelled, only to grow feet of clay inside Shea. Pittsburgh ain't New York. But let's give the man a chance to prove himself. Going into the 2009 season, the Mets roster looked to be one of the most talented in their history. One year and several hundred days on the disabled list later, the pieces are there again, and Bay is one big added piece. If they can stay healthy, and Bay can adjust to a New York lifestyle without too much culture shock, the Mets can give the Phillies a run for their money. Any fan willing to dismiss the value of a player with 514 RBI's in the last five years isn't much of a fan.

About Dennis McCarthy: I was born in the Bronx in 1960, but moved to Long Island four years later. I became a Mets fan in '69, thanks to my Aunt Ellen, who still lived in the Bronx.   Read More -->

Comments (4)

nothing to really not like about the bay signing..we started the year with murphy in left last year for anybody who forgot.. just wish he could go 9 every 5th day as part of the deal..

Happy New Year to all who are on Bay watch in 2010.Now can Santana and K-Rod talk to Zambrano their fellow country man to agree for a trade to the N.Y.Mets and we will start looking really good and maybe a true happy new year will unfold.

Great post! Covers just about all my thoughts. Omar will probably have to overpay for any team to give up a
number 2 or 3 starter. I hope he tries to unload some salary at the same time. We all know who I'm thinking of. I will let you guys know that I am in favor of signing sheets too. Not at his price though. For most teams to win a w.s., they usually have one or two players step up like never before or find success with someone like a sheets. As far as molina, I have mixed thoughts. They do need someone to handle the staff but not at his price. I like the fact that omar is holding out and not giving in. Thole does look like the future there so we shouldn't be holding him up no more than this upcoming season. I'm still thinking that as soon as escobar shows some durability, he could find himself in the rotation too. Not immediately, but could happen. I also feel that we didn't get the chance to really appreciate niese. I feel he could be a major piece for us this year. Pitching staffs are more confident when they have a team scoring runs behind them. Having all our boys back plus bay will only help. Jumping out to big leads will only boost the confidence of our young arms. Good move omar, only a couple more to go!

Rev - The Other Zambrano would be an interesting addition to the Mets' clubhouse, to be sure. But we already have one schizophrenic starter. I don't think there's room for two.
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William - Thanks for the kind words. Catcher is not one of their trouble spots, and Thole is the real deal. Word on Escobar is he'll be the new Putz (minus the injury, we hope), and fill the 8th inning role ahead of K-Rod. I'd prefer that over throwing him into the starting rotation and shifting Maine to the unfamiliar role of set-up man.

Even an average year from Jason Bay will mean a big jump in the Mets' offense. Since we've learned from recent experience to curb our enthusiasm, let's hope for an average year out of Bay.

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