Read between the lines in new Pirate GM Neal Huntington’s recent comments, and it certainly seems like the Bucs might consider trading left fielder Jason Bay this winter. Bay wouldn’t be surprised to go.
The 29 year-old has experienced by far the worst season of his career this year. After posting OPSs above .900 in his first three seasons, he’s down to just .748 this year (.248/.328/.420). He only really looked like himself in May.
Back in December, Bay had arthroscopic knee surgery. However, Bay has said that this has only affected his explosiveness on the basepaths and not his hitting or defense this year. He’s missed time in September with tendinitis, but it’s been his other knee. Bay’s not blaming his health at all for his down year, though he admits he’s slowed down. It could be a confidence issue, it could be that he’s burnt out on all the losing. It could be a good old-fashioned off-year, similar to those experienced by top comparables Tim Salmon and Dale Murphy.
At an incredibly affordable $5.75MM for ’08 and $7.5MM in ’09, many teams would love to acquire Bay. He could certainly return to his elite level of 2004-06. He’d be a nice addition for the White Sox, Twins, Padres (his former club), Orioles, Padres, Dodgers, A’s, Rangers, Angels…OK, almost any team. I’m guessing the price would be two very good young players, one or both a pitcher. It’ll be interesting to see if Huntington makes a blockbuster deal in his first offseason as GM, possibly at the Winter Meetings.