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About a Bay

Mike SteffanosSunday, February 14, 2010
By Mike Steffanos


I received an email earlier this week from a blogger from StalkingStevePhillips.com who thought I might be interested in his take on Jayson Bay and Johnny Damon.

Actually, most of the piece was on Damon, with the following on Bay towards the end:

Mr. Bay, at your press conference, you stated that the Mets were on your "short list" and that you were here because you "wanted to be here" and that you "wouldn't be here if I didn't want to be or if I wasn't happy. That couldn't be further from the truth. You don't get a lot of chances to pick where you're going to go and ultimately Omar (Minaya) and Jeff (Wilpon) made it known from Day 1 that they were very interested, and their pursuit and their want for me was a big factor."

Really Jason? Do you expect us Average Joes to believe that bullshit as well? The Mets were the only team willing to pay you and you know it. Cut the crap.

There were articles out there all winter questioning Bay's desire to play for the Mets, both before and after he signed. Peter Gammons famously put Queens below Beirut on the slugger's wish list. While I believe some of this stuff was overblown and even over the top, I have little doubt that there were other teams that Bay would rather have signed with.

This whole thing reminds me a little of Carlos Beltran's reported desire to sign with the Yankees rather than the Mets, even reportedly offering them a last minute discount. That topic seemed to get quite a few folks worked up and has probably contributed to the ongoing mistrust of a small segment of the fan base towards Beltran.

Look, I consider myself an Average Joe type of guy like the above-quoted author. I don't make a ton of money and live in a small 50-year-old house on the outskirts of Waterbury, CT -- a blue collar city that, like me, is somewhat past its prime. I am also something the author didn't appear to be, an actual fan of the team that Bay did sign with this winter.

Despite the fact that I am both an Average Joe and a Mets fan, I have to confess that I'm not going to lose any sleep wondering about how high the Mets were on Jason Bay's wish list. I know this is something that's going to keep popping up in the local papers all summer and beyond, but I honestly believe that the question of how much a player want to play for the team he signs with is one of the most overhyped issues in modern baseball.

It's easy to look at the salaries that top players like Jason Bay makes and allow myself to get real bitter over it, but I don't see the point. If I had his skills I would try to make top dollar during the brief window of opportunity a baseball career affords, too. As far as baseball contract negotiations go it seems to me that Bay didn't do anything out of line or unprofessional.

When we Average Joes make career decisions we weigh a lot of factors -- money, working conditions, location, etc. -- in deciding who were going to work for. We often don't the job we want the most, but wind up settling for something that falls farther down the wish list.

What's really important to our employers isn't how much we wanted to work there as much as how we produce when take the job. They expect us to be professionals and simply do our jobs.

I'll get into evaluating the past winter more this coming week, but basically I believe Bay was a decent signing on the part of the Mets. I don't believe the fact that the Mets weren't his first choice will really matter that much. I think he's a pro and will be a good addition to the lineup. If I worry about anything it is simply that he holds up physically during the contract.

About Mike: I was the original writer on this web site, actually its only writer for the first 15 months of existence. Although I am grateful for the excellent contributions of my fellow writers here, I have no plans of stepping back into strictly an editorial role. I started this thing in the first place because I love to write and I love the Mets, and blogging here keeps me somewhat sane. If you haven't had enough already, more bio info can be found here.

Comments (4)

Good point. It's really pretty amazing how immature fans and sportswriters can be. When I heard the Beltran story, I just shrugged. It was interesting, but irrelevant. The point was that, no matter what, he was playing for the Mets. The same with Bay. The criticism is like something out of middle school.

I think that Bay might have wanted to sign for more money and with a chance to win the World Series right away. But other than that, I don't think he had anything against signing with the Mets. Plus, alot of writers in sports journalism run with rumors and innuendo as though they are fact; adn then change the goalposts when they are proven false. That's what happened with the Jason Bay rumors.

I also think alot of the rumors- as RealityChuck said- are Middle School whining. The media has generally turned sour on the Mets, and it's gotten to the point where they are downright nasty towards them. That's why there were alot of negative articles about the Mets this offseason. I'll enjoy it when the Mets are a serious (if healthy) wild card contender this year. I'll enjoy shoving Jon Heyman Joel Sherman's crap down their throats.

It doesn't matter where they wanted to play. What matters now! Is where they will play.Every thing changes when they play the way thay are supose to play. Just do what we are paying you for. Who cares if you wanted to play in L.A. or Boston. If Bay hits 30 H/Rs and drives in 100rbi's. I don't care we weren't his first choice. He is a Met now and thats what counts. Now Mr. Bay lead this team by example and play ball the best you can.

I agree. It's great when a ballplayer truly wants to play for the team that signs him, but I'll be almost as pleased if Bay hits .270-30-100 for each of the next five years.

The problem is, he's highly unlikely to put up those numbers. His defense has been below average since he wrecked his knee, he's old in baseball years, and by the contract is over he'll be ancient. He's also worth more to an AL team than an NL team since, with his poor defense--he's a hamstring tweak away from being a pure DH. That with the option we had to offer Bay $37 million more than the Red Sox wee willing to guarantee him speaks to what an overpay this was. Further, given how badly the FO bungled this offseason, backloading Bay's contract was wholly contradictory. He'll be getting the lion's share of his salary in 2011-2013, precisely those years (before Wright's and Santana's contract is up) when you want the team to have the dollars available to build a contender.

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