eMail Q&A, pres. Citi: Jason Bay for Lackey?

Michael from Syosset says, “I talked to a few Mets fans yesterday about Jason Bay, and they all suggested trading him to the Red Sox for John Lackey. It’s an interesting idea. Do you think this could happen?”

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It has been difficult to watch Bay these past two seasons. It’s sad, actually. Through it all, though, he still hit left-handed pitching (.300 this season). Technically, his real problem has been hitting the ball to right field against right-handed pitching. He’s batting over .300 when he pulls the ball or hits it to center. This suggests to me that righties are pitching him away, like everyone has said, and, if he’s lucky enough to make contact (which, let’s be honest, he hasn’t been) it’s a weak ball that goes no place. To be fair, though, I didn’t realize how well Bay performed in September:

I’d happily take .280 and 25 home runs from Bay, if he could do it. There is also the unknown now of what impact lowering the left-field wall in Citi Field will have on Bay, be it physically and/or psychologically. And so, perhaps those stats will be easily attained now, who knows? I get the impression from people close to the Mets that, while they’d certainly trade Bay if the right deal presented itself, at this point, it’s just not worth wasting time and energy trying to find a deal for him when the team has so many other holes to fill. I mean, there is a question mark hanging over every single spot on the roster. And so, I have a feeling that Sandy Alderson will again role the dice with Bay and trust in lowering the outfield wall.

That said, yes, I think swapping Bay for Lackey is worth discussing. I jokingly suggested such a trade back around the trade deadline, but I actually now think it’s realistic. Lackey has a guaranteed three years and roughly $45 million on his deal (with a team option for 2015, which hinges on his elbow being healthy). Bay has two years and $35 million left, plus an easily attainable option for 2014. Lackey was terrible this past season, just awful. However, his 2010 season for the Sox was actually OK, and there’s always the idea that he’d improve by switching leagues and to Citi Field. I agree, Michael, it’s an intriguing idea, but I don’t think I (or the Mets) would do it.

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