Mets, Jason Bay agree to part ways, will receive $21m payout

The Mets announced negotiated an early expiration of Jason Bay’s contract, the team announced.

Nov. 7, 7:18 pm: The total payout to Bay will be $21 million – his $16 million salary for 2013, his $3 million buyout for 2014, and the $2 million remaining on his original $8.5 million signing bonus, according to Newsday.

Nov. 7, 4:51 pm: In a post to Twitter, Anthony DiComo of says that, according to a source, the money owed to Bay will not be deferred for a long period of time.

However, Joel Sherman of the New York Post says the Mets did not save much on their 2013 – the move was more about moving on from a bad deal.

Nov. 7, 2:50 pm: Joel Sherman of the New York Post says the Mets will spread the remaining amount owed to Bay over the course of several years, and basically said in a separate tweet the Mets wouldn’t have agreed to this deal if it didn’t offer them flexibility to invest in the roster now.

Nov. 7, 1:55 pm: Jon Heyman of CBS Sports says Bay will receive his full salary as part of the agreement.

“Jason has a tremendous work ethic. There was never any question about it,” Sandy Alderson said in a statement.  “Unfortunately, the results weren’t there and we are in a results-oriented business.  We thank Jason for his efforts and wish him well.”

The agreement grants Bay his unconditional release, and he will be removed from the roster – terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

“There’s not a player who tried harder to succeed or was more frustrated and disappointed than Jason himself,” Terry Collins said.   “I’ll miss Jason’s presence in the clubhouse as a player, teammate, and person.”

In 288 games with the Mets since 2010, Bay hit .234 with just 26 home runs and 124 RBI in 986 at-bats.

“I still feel I have plenty to give to this game and that I can play baseball at a high level. But after serious consideration, both sides agree that we would benefit from a fresh start,” Bay said.  “I’m grateful we were able to reach an agreement to allow that to happen.  I’m excited to keep playing and have no intention of just walking away.  I enjoyed my time in New York.  I have no regrets in signing with the Mets, other than that I wasn’t able to play to the level that the team, the fans and I all expected and that we weren’t able to win more games. I move on with nothing but an appreciation for the organization and its fans and best wishes to all my teammates there.”

Bay signed a four-year, $66 million contract with the Mets before the 2010 season. He was to earn $16 million in 2013. The team held a $17 million option for 2014 with a $3 million buyout.

“Jason is a great teammate, hard worker, stand-up guy, and true gentleman,” Mets COO Jeff Wilpon said.  “Like Jason, we had planned for the kind of production here that he enjoyed in Boston and Pittsburgh, where he established himself as one of the game’s top players.  We wish Jason and his family success and happiness in the future.”

Matthew Cerrone, Lead Writer

I am speechless. “I am without speech,” as Elaine said. This is great news, even if he goes on to revitalize his career. These two sides have to move on, since it’s what is best for both parties. Bay needs a new team, a new situation and to put New York behind him… and the Mets needed to not have the pressure of playing him hanging over their heads. The reality is, he just wasn’t very good any more. Statistically speaking, he actually hurt the Mets in 2012 more than he helped them. To have a player like that on the roster was causing all sorts of obstacles…

Michael Baron, Contributor

This is a huge pill to swallow. But it feels as though this is a major turning point for the Mets, and certainly a major statement on the part of the front office. It’s clear, based on what Sandy said in the statement, that sub-par performances are not acceptable, and the object is to get better beginning now. Simply put, anyone – be it a Major or Minor League player – was better than Bay and therefore providing greater value on the roster. They were basically playing with 24 players on the roster with him, and that alone was a handicap for them. It’s step one in a long process of getting better, and even though the Mets may not be getting immediate salary relief, they get roster relief.