After a disastrous season in which, among other things, they hit the fewest home runs in the major leagues, the New York Mets were determined to bolster their feeble offensive production. They made their first significant move of the offseason to address that deficiency Tuesday, when they agreed with slugging outfielder Jason Bay on a four-year deal worth nearly $66 million.
The Mets concentrated on the 31-year-old Bay, made him a contract offer Dec. 10 and waited through weeks of negotiations and some growing skepticism the former Gonzaga standout actually wanted to play for them. In closing the deal, the Mets might quiet some of the grumbling from their fans, who watched in recent weeks as the champion New York Yankees continued to make major acquisitions while their team signed backup catchers and low-profile relievers.
The deal with Bay provides for a vesting option for a fifth season that could allow him to earn about $80 million overall, according to a major-league executive who did not want to be named because he was not authorized to speak publicly about an agreement not yet official.
The deal remains pending until Bay, a former Mets minor-leaguer, can take a physical early next week. Although that is often considered a formality, Bay’s previous team, the Boston Red Sox, apparently had some concerns about the long-term condition of his shoulders. The Mets’ 2009 season was derailed in part by an onslaught of injuries, so they will no doubt examine Bay closely.
Bay had career highs of 36 home runs and 119 runs batted in this year. He has exceeded 30 home runs and 100 RBI in four of the last five seasons.
News of the deal broke on WFAN, the radio station that broadcasts Mets games. The Mets might have wanted word to get out before a Thursday deadline for fans to renew season tickets for 2010.
I am wondering if Matt Holliday and The Cardinals may come to terms either this week or next week?
Source: New York Times