Saturday, January 23, 2010

The Bay Breakup

The Globe (online) has a feature on the front page of their sports page this morning describing the "Worst Sox Breakups." The photo gallery includes players like Johnny Damon, Nomar Garciaparra, Wade Boggs, and, for some inexplicable reason, Jason Bay.

Obviously, I would have liked to keep Jason Bay in Boston, but with all the conversation about his suddenly suspect knees lately, I think the front office made the correct choice. You know the whole story by now: the Sox apparently pulled their 4-year, $60 million deal off the table this summer because of concerns about the left fielders knees, and came back with several offers that contained "medical contingencies." Bay refused those offers, as is his right, and signed with the Mets for 4 years and $66 million, with a club option for a fifth year. Maybe everything didn't work out as planned, but I would hardly call the situation a contentious breakup.

According to this story from's Rob Bradford, posted on Thursday, Bay had several independent physicians examine him, and none found any cause for concern:

"Listen, I could understand the club wanting all these medical contingencies if I had spent any recent time on the DL, but I had no history of being a risk for injuries and I wasn't hurt."

Bay has a valid point, but the Sox medical team saw something, and they've seen things other teams have missed in the past (Hello, Pedro Martinez!). However, unlike most of the other players and coaches in the Globe's gallery, Bay fired no parting shots at the Red Sox, which makes his situation vastly different from, say, Manny Ramirez's. Bay also was diplomatic throughout his year and a half in Boston: though he'd admitted he liked the idea of staying in Boston, he had never promised anything to the fans, a la Johnny Damon.

It seems to me that the Globe might be trying to stir up some drama where none exists. Both Bay and the Red Sox seem ready to move on. The Jason Bay era was short and often sweet: this wasn't a franchise face that was snubbing the Sox, it was a difference in medical opinion, and, if you recall, the Sox medical team was right, and the Mets' wrong, about Martinez a few years back. For now, I stand by the decision to let Jason Bay walk... if he rakes for the next four years without injury (though in cavernous CitiField, that's a BIG "if"), that will be another story.

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