An announcement by the team on Wednesday said that the oft-injured and scapegoat-serving outfielder has had his contract terminated, leaving the Mets with more roster flexibility.
The termination does not absolve the Mets of their substantial financial commitment they made to Bay, but the need to erase him from the team’s roster certainly outweighed the idea of simply paying him what he is owed and moving on.
Bay’s tenure with the Mets has been horrendous, for lack of a better word. The outfielder battled injuries throughout his career in Queens and hit a dismal .234 with 26 home runs over his 1,125 plate appearances with the Mets.
He was signed to be a middle-of-the-order bat and provide offense similar to the production he routinely cranked out during his days in Pittsburgh and Boston. That never came.
Bay is seen by Mets fans as a clear symbol of the spend-heavy Omar Minaya regime. At the time the Mets signed him, Bay was coming off a 36 home run season where he finished seventh in MVP voting. He failed to hit that many home runs over all of the years he played for the Mets.
Minaya’s tenure with the Mets is marked by high-priced contracts being thrown around like candy, and considering the Mets had an option between Bay and now-Cardinals slugger Matt Holliday, the contract that was handed to him seems even worse.
The only silver lining to Bay’s dismal Mets tenure is that he was nowhere close to the vesting option that could have kicked in, adding yet another year to his contract.
To offset that horrendous contract, the Mets decided to terminate Bay’s contract and will pay him the remaining $21 million over the course of several years, rather than over the next 12 months.
Now, the Mets no longer have to worry about forcing Bay into left field to justify his gargantuan contract – which is a good thing. The move will now open up a roster spot for the Mets to fill with a cheaper, and potentially more effective outfielder.
The buzz and aura around Mets General Manager Sandy Alderson is now beginning to fade, with some members of the media beginning to criticize his lack of productivity at the helm. However, this agreement with Bay should be seen as a much needed boost that immediately takes one dragging, giant question mark off the 2013 roster.
Now, the Mets can head into next season with a little bit more financial flexibility, one less headache to fuel Spring Training team reports and a general feeling that the light is at the end of the tunnel in terms of the handicapping contracts that have plagued this team for years.