Jason Bay's woeful 2-for-31 road trip may have signified the end of his two-and-a-half year stint as the New York Mets' everyday left fielder.
Bay, now 33 years old, needed to show some significant improvement over the 11-game road trip to the west coast, and tallying just two hits with three RBIs and 10 strikeouts, probably wasn't enough to save his job.
Bay may now find himself in a platoon role, with starts solely against lefties. Unfortunately, the Mets don't have any outfielders on their roster that are legit everyday players, but at least this move will spare Bay from getting booed mercilessly from Mets fans at Citi Field.
Scott Hairston and Mike Baxter are nice players off the bench, but they may get exposed if the Mets keep trotting them out in the everyday starting lineup.
Lucas Duda and Kirk Nieuwenhuis were recently shipped to the minors, Andres Torres is hitting just .234, and Jordany Valdespin is still getting his feet wet as a regular outfielder.
Is Valdespin The Answer?
Valdespin was expected to be the likely candidate to take some of Bay's playing time, but he hit just .161 on the recent road trip. Mets fans and team administrators may not even know for sure what they have in Valdespin at this point in his career. He's flashed a nice glove and has shown some pop in his bat at times, but there's a chance that he might not be an everyday player.
Valdespin did a great job when Collins sent him up in a pinch hit role and picked his spots, but he's been struggling out there in the starting lineup.
That essentially means there's not a lot of great options to replace Bay, so it's probably unlikely we'll see him find a permanent place on the bench.
Bay took another 0-fer on Aug. 6 against the Padres, before Terry Collins decided to pull a double-switch to get him out of the game. "We'll look at the entire trip," Collins said in a Newsday.com report, when asked whether Bay will be relegated to limited playing time.
This was a move that needed to be made. Bay has been mired in one of the worst slumps in franchise history, and he may be the most atrocious signing of all-time for the Mets.
With the recent road trip, Bay's average dipped to .154 with five homers and 11 RBIs in 130 at-bats. Everyone points to the fact that he is a nice guy and works hard, but it's all about production when you're in the big leagues. If you don't produce, you're going to find yourself on the bench.
If Bay didn't still have a year left on his $66-million contract, he probably would have been on the bench long ago. At this point, I would prefer the Mets to simply eat the rest of his contract and grant him his release.
Bay may be the ultimate change of scenery candidate, as there's no reason for him to be completely washed up at the tender age of 33. Another team would definitely take a shot on him if the Mets let him go, so I don't feel that sorry for him. It's clear that his time in the Big Apple was a major bust. It didn't work out. The Mets should move on, and let Bay try to have a resurgence in his career elsewhere.
Eric Holden is a lifelong New York Mets fan. Follow him on Twitter @ericholden.
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