Jason Bay Rumors: Thursday

6:32pm: Joel Sherman of the New York Post is critical of how the Mets have handled negotiations with Bay.  He said "the Mets are losing their dignity" by spending so much of their offseason time and energy in pursuit of a player "who clearly has major concerns" about coming to New York.  Sherman suggests that the Mets should set a 24-hour deadline for Bay to accept their contract offer, and if he doesn't, the club should look at other left field options.  Sherman thinks that a player like Jack Cust would be a wiser, lower-cost signing who could provide similar power numbers. 

12:00pm: The Jason Bay to Boston rumors aren't exactly gaining momentum. An ESPNBoston.com article classifies the chances of a Bay return as a "long shot," while SI.com's Jon Heyman tweets that the Red Sox would probably only consider Bay for less ("maybe much less") than the Mets' best offer. Gordon Edes of ESPN Boston adds (via Twitter) that Mike Cameron's agent hasn't heard anything about the Sox pursuing another left fielder.

8:36am: In yesterday's round of Jason Bay rumblings, we heard that there could potentially be a renewed mutual interest between Bay and the Boston Red Sox. Today, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe hears that the pairing would not be inconceivable, but that there are a couple of roadblocks: The Red Sox would have to extend their budget, after committing $15.5MM to Mike Cameron, and a potential contract would probably need to be heavily backloaded.

ESPN.com's Buster Olney agrees with that assessment, since a source tells him that the Red Sox have less than $5MM left in spending money. He writes that signing Bay would mean the Sox either blowing up their budget or having to move a contract or two.

As for the Mets' four-year offer that's still on the table, Olney says that the Mets are feeling more and more like Bay doesn't want to play for them, and are making alternative plans. Newsday's Ken Davidoff thinks it wouldn't be the end of the world if the Mets refused to increase their offer to Bay and he ended up elsewhere.

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