Now that it looks like free agent outfielder Jason Bay is ready to move on from the Boston Red Sox, the serious suitors for his services have begun to sort themselves out. The New York Mets appear to be proactively chasing Bay and appear to be the leader right now.
Last week ESPN.com reported that the Angels do not see Bay as a priority, effectively eliminating him from their offseason plans. With the Curtis Granderson deal done and their ongoing negotiations with Johnny Damon, the Yankees are certainly not involved in the Bay discussion. Of the teams with the money to toss around at free agents and are in need of an outfielder, the Mets, San Francisco Giants and Seattle Mariners are really the only ones still out there.
Bay turned down a four-year, $60 million offer from the Red Sox over the summer and their most recent offer (which was rejected) is thought to have been similar in both money and years. The Red Sox apparently have no intention of offering him a fifth year. On top of that, Bay’s agent, Joe Upton, has openly claimed that Bay would like to sign elsewhere.
The Mets are believed to have offered the 31-year-old Canadian a four-year, $65 million offer. The Mets want to make a move quickly, so if they want Bay that badly they’ll offer the fifth year and get things done.
ESPN’s Keith Law thinks Bay is the best overall hitter on the market this winter because he has more offensive potential than Matt Holliday, but he has less defensive value. I personally don’t think there is that much difference between the two players but personally prefer Bay’s overall game.
We see Bay going to the first team that guarantees him a fifth year. Right now, the Mets, Giants and Mariners are the only teams that seem willing to discuss such an option. The Giants have not been actively in the mix but could come to the surface if the Mets and Mariners balk at giving Bay a fifth year.