According to a team source, “There is ‘zero’ chance Jason Bay will be released this winter or asked to compete for a job in spring training,” reports the New York Post.
“He’s a part of this team,” the source said, adding that the team is resolved to bringing Bay back in 2013.
Bay is due $16 million next season. He has a $17 million team option (with a $3 million buyout), which is guaranteed with 600 plate appearances next season. The last time Bay had 600 plate appearances was 2009 with the Red Sox.
“I’ve played every day. I’ve not played every day,” Bay told the Post, in regards to serving in a different role next season. “I don’t know. I’ll do whatever I can.”
Matthew Cerrone, Lead Writer
My advice: Take this with a grain of salt. The Mets have to say this, especially if they have any chance of trading Bay for an equally bad contract – or to a team that thinks it might want to take a shot on him (at New York’s expense). Basically, saying Bay will be here is the right thing to do, whether there is a chance he is here or not. They did this with Oliver Perez and Luis Castillo, as well, if you recall: saying over and over and over again, all that winter, that Perez and Castillo would NOT be cut. Reporters wrote it, as well, citing team sources, over and over again. And yet, Castillo and Perez were cut.
I don’t doubt the New York Post’s reporting. I’m sure this is what the reporter was told and he’s right to report it. But, I get the impression the Mets would love to move on from Bay, because I think they’re all tired of justifying the situation and letting it impact how the roster and lineup are structured as they wait and wait for him to rebound. I think everyone knows they need to move on, including the player… But, again, the Mets need to say what they’re saying. It’s the right thing to do.
There will be lots of reports like this over the next few months. However, right now, so far from Opening Day, knowing all sorts of circumstances can change, they need to be taken as just good old-fashion Hot Stove rumors, and not as fact. Because, best evidence of whether Bay will be on next year’s Opening Day roster will be when we actually see next year’s Opening Day roster, which is a whole six months from now…
In August, FoxSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal said the Mets and Marlins had discussed swapping Bay for reliever Heath Bell and catcher John Buck, who will combine to earn $15 million next year (when Bay will earn $16 million). However, Bell will also earn $9 million in 2014 with an incentive-based option for the same amount in 2015.