Mailbag: How about Josh Beckett for Jason Bay?

Matthew Cerrone , Lead Writer

MetsBlog reader Bryan Molloy sent me an e-mail asking:

“Would it be crazy to explore a Josh Beckett-for-Jason Bay deal with the Red Sox? I realize that the Mets are probably already counting on dropping Bay’s salary after the 2013 season, and Beckett has another year after that. But, what if the Sox agreed to pay half of Becketts 2014 deal? You’d be looking at beckett in a contract year – perhaps the last big payday contract of his career – for half price. Plus, you’d get the 2013 season where you know he’d want to prove Boston wrong (aided by a switch to the National League). This could easily be something Boston wants no part of. However, I have a lot of friends who are Sox fans and – to a man – they all would love to jettison Beckett ASAP… even for Bay, and even paying half of Beckett’s 2014 season.”

It’s an interesting idea and one that had been discussed last winter, from what I recall, though I get no sense the Mets and Sox have discussed much this summer.

Beckett is due $15.75 million this year, as well as in 2013 and 2014. The word in baseball is that Boston has been pushing Beckett on other teams, specifically the Braves and Rangers, since the end of last year. ¬†However, I’ve been told by friends in Boston to expect Beckett to stay point, at least through the end of this month. In fact, they say the Sox are looking to acquire pitching, not trade it. In addition, Beckett can veto any trade, Boston is just four games back of the Wild Card and they’re all having a difficult time seeing eye to eye with other teams on how much of his salary should be paid to complete a deal.

Of course, if some team jumps up and offers to absorb most of Beckett’s money, I believe the Sox would do it. But, short of that, I think he’s staying put… for now.

In terms of Bay, it’s looking like he’ll need to get a full 600 at bats in 2013 to lock in his $16 million option for 2014. I don’t see that happening. For starters, I agree, I think Bay could easily be released this winter – if not sooner. And, if he isn’t, it will not be difficult for the Mets (or any other team) to find ways to keep Bay from getting those 600 at bats, assuming they decide he can’t return the following season.

Bay has a full no trade clause, but I assume he’d jump at the chance to pack his bags and get as far away from this situation as possible.