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Should the Mets Regret Signing Jason Bay?

Jason Bay (Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

When the Mets signed Jason Bay to a four-year contract in 2010, the slugger was coming off a career year in Boston. He had blasted 36 homers for the Red Sox and scored over 103 runs. However, he has failed to match those numbers in his first two seasons in the Big Apple combined.

Why has Jason Bay slumped since joining the Metropolitans?

My answer: he hasn’t. The 2009 season was an anomaly, and the Sox were smart to get rid of him. The truth is, Bay has always been an average hitter with a little pop in his bat, and in the pitcher friendly Citi Field, his power has subsided.

Bay’s Numbers

Bay has never been an on-base machine. And if you believe the Moneyball take on baseball, this means the signing was a HUGE mistake. He has only taken 81 walks since coming to New York, compared with 169 strikeouts.

And these numbers as not unusual for him. In his main power years (2004-2009), Bay struck out at least 130 times per year.  A strikeout is perhaps the worst thing you can do for your team because the ball never is put in play. So Bay has a history of squandering opportunities and hurting his team.

New York State of Mind

But what about his career so far in New York?

Last season, Bay only played 95 games due to a concussion suffered in August. His numbers were on track to rival the monster 2009 stats. In a little more than half a season, Bay hit 20 doubles (compared with 29 in 2009) and had scored 48 runs (103 in ’09). His home run totals were down, but in the much larger Citi Field, this was to be expected.

The major discrepancy between 2009 and 2010 was Bay’s on-base and slugging percentages. His slugging percentage fell over 100 points, and he only drove in 47 runs. Since these are percentages, they can be more easily compared from year to year despite drastic changes in the amount of games Bay played in.

2011 seems like it will be worse than his injury-shortened 2010. So far, Bay is only hitting .248 with a .330 on-base percentage and .363 slugging.

There is a sign of hope for Mets fans. This season bears a strong resemblance to 2007, his last full year with the Pirates. His 2011 slash line is almost identical to 2007 (.247/.327/.418). Obviously, the slugging percentage is still off the trend, but that could be due to age or a difficult ballpark.

The good news: after the dismal 2007 slump, Bay had one of his best years, scoring a career-high 111 runs. So Mets fans, don’t give up hope…yet.

About Abigail Miskowiec - @AMiskowiec

I live in Brooklyn. Unless the L train isn't running. Then I live on the streets.

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One comment for “Should the Mets Regret Signing Jason Bay?”

  1. New Post: Should the Mets Regret Signing Jason Bay? http://t.co/89aHxB1

    Posted by Sports of New York | August 15, 2011, 5:42 am

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