I like the Mets’ signing of Jason Bay. I really do. I know they need a starting pitcher, because Oliver Perez has a long way to go to prove he’s anything more than a cash suck and Jonathan Niese is probably not the No. 5 starter they need right now, but Bay was another big piece.
By reportedly agreeing to a contract with left fielder Jason Bay on Tuesday, the Mets do not necessarily change the power structure in their city or their division. But they do change the conversation. The Mets, and not the Yankees, have made the splashiest move of the offseason in New York. The Mets, and not the Phillies, have made the most significant offensive addition in the National League East. At a time when other big-market teams are hoarding nickels, the Mets identified the player they wanted, pursued him aggressively but not foolishly, and landed him for a relatively fair price.
Matt Holliday would not have come for a fair price (and would not have been as good a fit, as Jenkins goes on to say), and the perceived remaining top starter available, Joel Pineiro, is not available for a fair price at the moment, either. As I wrote earlier
, I think the Mets missed their window to get a reliable starter at a fair price, and now they’ll have to look to more reasonable alternatives to Pineiro (unless his demands come down). Maybe incentive-laden deals to the likes of Ben Sheets and Erik Bedard are in order, but I’m sure fans would prefer to see someone who comes into Spring Training with no recent surgeries from which to rehabilitate.
In joining the Mets, Bay comes full-circle. This may not be the final stop of his career, but for now he’s back with one of two teams that had him before he first became known as a prospect in the Padres’ system. As many have noted, Omar Minaya was the Expos’ GM when Bay was in their organization, his first. Then Minaya traded him to the Mets, who sent him on to San Diego. It was with the Padres that his potential was revealed, and Kevin Towers used Bay — and Oliver Perez — as the key prospects in the deal to land Brian Giles. That’s one of the few trades in the last decade in which Pittsburgh truly got the better end.