Mets fans won't have Jason Bay to kick around any more -- the team and the outfielder parted ways on Wednesday.
According to the Mets on twitter, the team has come to terms with some sort of release for Jason Bay. The terms have not yet been disclosed, but the Mets would probably like to see some financial relief from the $19 million they owe the outfielder in order to be motivated to make the agreement. Bay is now an unrestricted free agent the Mets have an open roster spot on their 40-man.
This move does leave the Mets without a single starting outfielder on the current roster. Platoon-mate Mike Baxter is the sole healthy member of the 2013 outfield after Lucas Duda broke his wrist moving furniture. The team does have some internal options in Jordany Valdespin and Kirk Nieuwenhuis, but a free agent will be needed to fill out the outfield rotation. Perhaps a few dollars saved from Bay's contract will allow them to find that free agent.
It seems folly, in some ways, to let a viable outfielder go when it's such a position of need. On the other hand, with declining power and patience, and bad defense to begin with, Bay has become a minus. He was literally worth almost a win less than replacement last year, and the year before he was barely above replacement. A back-of-the-envelope projection might not have Bay producing positive value next season.
That's how you get a completely sunk cost. Even with sources telling Jon Heyman that Bay will receive his full salary from the Mets, a minus is a minus and a roster spot should be used for plus symbols. Even a flawed Valdespin would be above replacement in the corner outfield, most likely. And by pushing or stretching the payments out over time, the Mets may have gained some near-term financial flexibility from the deal even if they didn't save any money overall.
Four years. $66 million. 1.4 wins above replacement. One of the worst contracts in history. And yet Jason Bay was a decent man through the pain. Wish him, and the Mets, luck because it's time to move on.