For a number of reasons, whether it was the big contract, injuries, Citi Field, too much pressure, Bay's contract -- four years, $66 million -- goes down as one of the worst ever. As I've said before, you'd be hard pressed to find a player whom got paid so much and produced so little.
In three years in New York, Bay hit .234 with 26 home runs and 124 runs batted in, batting .165 with eight homers and 20 RBIs in his last season in Queens. Bay was one of baseball's top sluggers when he signed with the Mets prior to the 2010 season. A lot has changed.
Things got so bad for Bay that one of the first moves the Mets made this offseason was to release him. They owe Bay $21 million.
Both sides agreed it was time to move on. After he found out this weekend that he had made the Seattle Mariners' opening-day roster, Bay commented on leaving the Mets.
"The fresh start is the big thing," Bay said according to a Seattle Times article. "No matter what I was going to do in New York, it wasn't going to be enough to make up for all the things I didn't do. And I understood that. That's why we came to the realization that a clean break was probably best for everybody."
While it may have been best for Bay, given the current state of the Mets' outfield, you could at least argue that having Bay around as an option would not be such a bad thing. After all, the Mets are still paying him, and with Lucas Duda, Collin Cowgill, and Marlon Byrd starting the season, their outfield is one of the weakest in baseball.
Though his time in New York wasn't good, just about as bad as it gets when you think about it, there was always that hope that Bay would break out of his epic slump. This spring, battling for a job in Mariners camp, he hit .321. We don't know how he'll do this year, how productive he'll be, or even how much playing time he'll get. And you could certainly make the case that he was never going to be able to turn it around in New York.
But, again, the Mets are paying him a lot of money this year, and they enter the season with a very questionable outfield. It may have been worth it to give him one last chance.
Charles Costello has followed the Mets closely since the rookie years of Darryl Strawberry (1983) and Dwight Gooden (1984). He was a beat reporter assigned to cover the Mets during the 1997 and 1998 seasons.
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