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Jason Bay Rumors
Former star outfielder Jason Bay can't envision a situation in which he continues his playing career, and is therefore "essentially retiring," Shi Davidi of SportsNet.ca tweets. Last month, it appeared that Bay might play in Japan, but Davidi says Bay decided against it in favor of spending more time with his family.
Bay, who is 35, will end his career with a .266/.360/.481 line and 222 home runs in parts of 11 seasons. He was traded three times (the last of them a high-profile trade that sent Brian Giles to the Padres) before he won the NL Rookie of the Year award with the Pirates in 2004. He replaced Giles as the Bucs' biggest star until 2008, when the Pirates dealt him to the Red Sox in the three-team Manny Ramirez trade that also involved the Dodgers.
After spending the rest of 2008 and 2009 hitting well in Boston, Bay signed a four-year, $66MM contract with the Mets. That deal quickly became a debacle for the team, leading Bay and the Mets to come to an unusual agreement in which the contract was terminated early and Bay became a free agent. From there, Bay signed a one-year deal with the Mariners, who released him in August after he hit .204/.298/.393.
Bay, 35, is coming off a season in which he batted .204/.298/.393 with 11 homers in Seattle. The 2004 NL Rookie of the Year, Bay batted .280/.376/.519 over the first seven years of his big league career, but he's batted just .229/.314/.373 since that time.
Even with the high cost of free agent pitching, Ervin Santana's hopes for a $100MM contract seemed a little far-fetched…or are they? Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports looked at the binder of information that agents Bean Stringfellow and Joe White prepared about their client and saw a wealth of favorable statistics in Santana's favor, noting his durability, good health, and even comparisons to Zack Greinke. MLBTR's Steve Adams only predicted a five-year, $75MM deal for Santana on the open market but it only takes one team to make a leap.
Here's some news from around baseball…
- Red Sox GM Ben Cherington said that the team has "real interest at different levels" in re-signing its six free agents, Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe reports. Cherington has "had conversations" about bringing back Jacoby Ellsbury, Stephen Drew, Mike Napoli, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Joel Hanrahan and John McDonald, though Abraham reports that the team has most extensively discussed a new deal with Napoli.
- The Red Sox aren't expected to make acquisitions during the GM meetings this week, Cherington said.
- Yankees GM Brian Cashman has "no idea" if Hiroki Kuroda is interested in returning to the club, Andy McCullough of the Star-Ledger reports. “My conversations with his agent, the only information I’ve gotten from that is he hasn’t made any decisions, what he wants to do as far as next year’s concerned," Cashman said. Kuroda has been rumored to be weighing re-signing with the Yankees, pitching in Japan or retiring, though a return to southern California to be closer to his family probably isn't out of the question either.
- Robinson Cano's next contract might not meet his expectations simply because the Yankees are the only team with the need and finances to come close to his demands, Bill Madden of the New York Daily News writes.
- Jason Bay isn't sure if he will play in 2014, Sportsnet.ca's Shi Davidi tweets. The 35-year-old Bay was released by the Mariners in August and only has a .688 OPS in 1361 PA over his last four seasons, most of which were shortened by injury.
- Agent Barry Praver said that his clients Manny Ramirez and Carlos Zambrano were hoping to again play in the Major Leagues, Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports (Twitter links). Ramirez is staying in shape and would be open to playing in Japan, while Zambrano is pitching in the Venezuelan winter league.
- Wily Mo Pena is expected to re-sign in Japan, Sportsnet's Ben Nicholson-Smith reports (Twitter link). Pena signed a two-year, $5MM deal with the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks following the 2011 season and enjoyed a big 2012 before suffering through an injury-plagued 2013 campaign. Nicholson-Smith notes that Pena had interested suitors in both Japan and North America. Pena turns 32 in January and hit .250/.303/.445 with 84 homers in 1845 career PA with the Reds, Red Sox, Nationals, Diamondbacks and Mariners from 2002-11.
AUGUST 6th: The Mariners announced they have released Bay. Bay joins the list of current free agents, which can be found here.
JULY 29th: The Mariners announced that they have designated Jason Bay for assignment. In a related move, outfielder Mike Morse was activated from his rehabilitation assignment at Triple-A Tacoma and activated from the 15-day disabled list.
Bay, 34, appeared in 68 games with Seattle this season, slashing .204/.298/.393 with eleven home runs. The veteran was signed by Seattle to a non-guaranteed deal back in December. Seattle now has ten days to trade, release, or outright the contract of Bay to the minors.
The Mariners took a low-risk gamble on Bay this offseason in the hopes he could be a useful bench bat following three injury-plagued seasons with the Mets. For his career, Bay owns a .266/.360/.481 slash line across eleven seasons with the Pirates, Red Sox, Mets, and Mariners.
Orioles pitcher Zach Clark was recently outrighted to Double-A Bowie. While he's there, he'll "experiment" with the knuckleball, the Baltimore Sun's Dan Connolly notes. He'll work with Hall of Famer Phil Niekro on Thursday. Clark joins Zach Staniewicz and Eddie Gamboa as knuckleball pitchers in the Orioles system. Here are more notes from the American League.
- As of Wednesday, Red Sox outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr. will have been in the minor leagues for 20 days this season, which ensures that he will not become a free agent after 2018, Alex Speier of WEEI.com notes. Bradley broke camp with the Red Sox, but they optioned him to Triple-A Pawtucket April 18 after a 3-for-31 start to his big-league career. Bradley is currently hitting .303/.400/.349 in Triple-A, but he's currently on the minor-league disabled list with biceps tendinitis.
- The Yankees have around $80MM worth of players rehabbing at their minor-league complex in Tampa, Anthony McCarron of the New York Daily News reports. Alex Rodriguez ($28MM), Mark Teixeira ($22.5MM), Curtis Granderson ($15MM) and Kevin Youkilis ($12MM) are all rehabbing, along with Francisco Cervelli, Ivan Nova and Michael Pineda. (Derek Jeter, who is still in a walking boot, is not.) "We've got a team here," says Cervelli. "I could be the catcher."
- After signing a non-guaranteed deal with the Mariners this offseason, Jason Bay is embracing his role as a complementary player, writes Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.ca. While other clubs offered him more playing time, the veteran came to find that he enjoyed the challenge of earning his place on the team.
Zach Links contributed to this post.
The Mariners have designated outfielder Casper Wells for assignment, tweets Greg Johns of MLB.com. The Mariners now have ten days to either trade, release, or outright Wells to the minors. If Wells clears waivers, he cannot elect free agency because he does not have enough service time and has not been designated for assignment before, reports the Seattle Times' Larry Stone (Twitter link). The Phillies and Tigers could have interest in the 28-year-old. Wells was a member of the Tigers until he was traded to the Mariners in the Doug Fister deal in July 2011.
The roster move means Jason Bay has made the team. The Mariners filled the open 40-man roster spot by selecting the contract of right-hander D.J. Mitchell, who was then optioned to Triple-A, according to Shannon Drayer of ESPN Radio Seattle (via Twitter).
The Mariners reached an agreement to sign left fielder Jason Bay, pending a physical, tweets Andy Martino of the New York Daily News. It's a one-year deal worth $1MM, with another $2MM in incentives according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. Bay, 34, played a couple of years at Gonzaga University and currently resides in Kirkland, Washington. He's represented by CAA Sports.
Bay signed a four-year, $66MM contract with the Mets in January of 2010. Last month, both parties agreed to an "early expiration" of the deal, with Bay deferring some of the $21MM still owed to him in return for a chance at a fresh start. An annual 30 home run threat when he signed with the Mets, Bay hit just .234/.318/.369 in 1,125 plate appearances for them from 2010-12.
Yesterday, Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times examined how Bay fits with the Mariners, who remain in pursuit of a bigger outfield bat. Prior to the signing, Dave Cameron of U.S.S. Mariner questioned the team's need for Bay.
Photo courtesy of U.S. Presswire.
9:46am: Jason Bay is close to a decision on which team he'll sign with, according to Tim Brown of Yahoo! Sports (via Twitter). The Indians and Mariners are among the teams still in the mix for the former Met, says Brown.
The Indians may be in the lead for Bay, says Joel Sherman of the New York Post, though he notes that the M's are still a factor and the Cubs are "on the periphery" (Twitter link). Bay is going to get guaranteed money rather than a make-good deal, according to Sherman, since teams are willing to take a little risk to see if he can bounce back in a new environment (Twitter link).
4:03pm: A Bay-Mariners deal is close, but nothing is final yet, tweets Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times.
1:54pm: While the Mariners are definitely in on Bay, a deal is "not done by any means," according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post (Twitter link). Bay is still talking to a number of teams, says Andy Martino of the New York Daily News (via Twitter).
12:49pm: The Mariners are pretty close to signing free agent outfielder Jason Bay, according to ESPN's Brock and Salk show. Bay, who attended college at Gonzaga in Spokane, Washington, agreed to part ways with the Mets last month with an eye on a fresh start.
It was reported late on Monday that the Mariners met with Josh Hamilton on Sunday. The team has also met with the Diamondbacks regarding Justin Upton, but that's far from the only news surrounding the Emerald City…
- General manager Jack Zduriencik appeared on MLB Network Radio on Sirius XM with Mike Ferrin and Jim Duquette earlier today (audio link) and said that the team has had talks with Felix Hernandez about an extension. King Felix has two remaining years on his contract and is still just 26 years old.
- Zduriencik is willing to deal from his wealth of prospects in order to improve the team, writes MLB.com's Greg Johns. Jack Z said he wouldn't want to move Felix Hernandez, but aside from that: "…if you can look at a scenario where you take a weakness and make it a strength, that's something you have to entertain. You can't sit there and say, 'I'm not moving anybody.' That would be foolish. You have to entertain any opportunity to make your club or organization better." The Mariners have some of the game's best prospects in the form of Taijuan Walker, Danny Hultzen, Nick Franklin and James Paxton.
- The Mariners are interested in Brennan Boesch, though to a much lesser extent than they are Hamilton, according to Danny Knobler of CBS Sports (on Twitter). Boesch is an obvious trade candidate following the Tigers' signing of Torii Hunter.
- Mike Salk of 710 ESPN tweets that Jason Bay is a strong possibility for the Mariners in the days ahead.