4:21 pm Apr. 24, 2012
Poor Jason Bay.
There have been plenty of low moments from Bay since he signed a four-year, $66 million deal prior to the 2010 season. There's been two years of subpar production. There's been a concussion that limited him to 95 games in 2010, and an intercostal strain that limited him to 123 games in 2011.
Bay's been the subject of boos from the Citi Field crowd, but they have been relatively limited in scope. This isn't a player who is giving less than his full effort, which has kept him from earning true in-house Mets villain status. (His concussion was sustained by slamming into the Dodger Stadium wall.)
Everyone understands how hard Jason Bay is working. The boos are more a reflection of disgust at the general situation; a team with no money to spare is paying $16 million a season to a left fielder who can no longer hit well enough to start at his position.
And yet, there were some good recent signs. Bay had an OPS+ of 118 in 2012 so far, solidly average for a left fielder, and up from his 97 in 2011. He'd hit in eight straight games prior to last night's nightcap of a doubleheader.
Then, he sustained an injury on a play that will, I think, be the one we remember his Mets tenure by, if his recent warm-streak turns out to be the pinacle of his time in orange and blue.
The Mets trailed, 3-0 in the fourth inning. The Giants had a pair of runners on base and two men out. The Mets really needed that third out with runners stranded to stay in the game. And Gregor Blanco hit a ball to left field, not too deep, but tailing toward the left field line.
Jason Bay has limited range in left field. But he gives maximum effort. He took a direct path to the ball, getting close, but needing to leap to get it just about at the warning track.
And Bay couldn't quite get it. The ball bounced out of his glove, and up against the wall. Bay, for his effort, face-planted into the Citi Field grass. The force of his fall gave him a nondisplaced fracture in his ribs. Back to the Disabled List went Bay. Both runners scored.
The play had everything Jason Bay in it. Maximum effort. Tantalizing results just out of reach. Injury. Loss.