The New York Mets' current West Coast road trip could serve as Jason Bay's last chance to prove he's got something left in the tank after his tumultuous two-and-a-half year stint in the Big Apple.
According to a nypost.com report, the 33-year-old needs to show something at the plate this week to avoid a spot on the bench for the rest of the season. "He's got to get some production this week," the report states.
Bay's Last Stand
Now that Mike Baxter has returned from injury, and Jordany Valdespin has emerged as an above-average everyday player, the "Bay-watch" has officially begun.
Surprisingly, Bay got the road trip off to a solid start, contributing to the Mets' 8-7 victory over the San Francisco Giants with a few nice at-bats. Bay went 1-for-3 with three runs scored and two walks, while also showing skills on the base paths by going first to third without hesitation late in the game.
It was a nice way to snap an 0-for-23 skid, but he needs to string a few more games together before we can declare him "fixed." He's batting average is still far south of the Mendoza Line, as he's hitting .164 with five homers and eight RBIs in 116 at-bats.
Bay has five more games to get his swing going, as the Mets travel to San Diego for a three-game tilt with the Padres after they complete their current series with the San Francisco Giants.
Baxter To The Rescue?
My guess is that Bay won't do enough to save himself from a permanent benching before the Mets head back to Citi Field. He's going to need a couple multi-hit games here, and that only happened twice for him this season.
The fans are not going to take it easy on him when the team comes back to New York, especially now that the Mets have fallen out of playoff contention. "I'm going to keep working my butt off,'' Bay said in the nypost.com report. "This is the same thing I've been fighting the last three years. It's frustrating. That's all I can tell you.''
It's pretty clear by now that Bay lost his mojo. This is a guy that was an All-Star just a few seasons back, and now he has no confidence at all. If Mike Baxter doesn't steal his job away from him, Valdespin will. You get the sense that one of these young, hungry prospects will make the most of the opportunity and find their way into the everyday lineup.
What Is The Solution?
Some fans have been clamoring for the ultimate "change of scenery" trade, sending Jason Bay to the Boston Red Sox for Carl Crawford.
I don't think that's a place the Mets should go, as Crawford still has a ton of money and years left on his contract. The only way to go about moving forward is to simply grant Bay his release and eat the rest of the four-year, $66 million contract he was given in 2009.
Will Jason Bay do enough to save his starting job before the Mets return home to Citi Field? Let me know in the comments.
Eric Holden is a lifelong New York Mets fan. Follow him on Twitter @ericholden.
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