Jason Bay Rumors

Free Agent Rumors: Oswalt, Delmon, Sizemore, Ross, Ludwick

Here's the latest from the Winter Meetings on a handful of free agents:

Earlier updates:

NL East Notes: Mets, Bay, Phillies, Wright, Dickey

Here’s a look at some news out of the NL East following the Marlins‘ shocking trade earlier this evening..

  • The Mets made an offer to David Wright and the third baseman’s representatives responded with a counter-offer, a source tells Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (via Twitter).
  • The $15MM that is being deferred to Jason Bay will be paid out over a two year period, writes Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com.  That means that the Mets are only saving about $850K on the full $21MM Bay is owed.
  • The Phillies are wide open in their search for a third baseman, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.  The club could look at multi-position types like Marco Scutaro and Jeff Keppinger as well as someone like Kevin Youkilis.
  • At a charity event earlier today, Mets owner Jeff Wilpon said that the the Mets remain focused on signing David Wright and R.A. Dickey, but added that they would be remiss to not explore the trade market in the process, tweets Andy McCullough of the Star-Ledger.
  • Wilpon said that the club hopes to sign both Wright and Dickey with a trade of one or both as their backup plan, Mike Kerwick of the Bergen Record tweets.
  • A Mets source tells Andy Martino of the New York Daily News (via Twitter) that “nothing has changed” for the club since the GM meetings.

Quick Hits: AL Rookies, Nationals, Indians, Valentine

On this day in baseball history in 1941, Joe DiMaggio won his second American League MVP award. The runner-up was Ted Williams, who had batted .406 on the season and lost the award thanks to a writer who left him off the ballot. Here's the latest news and headlines from around the league…

  • The American League, more specifically the AL West, served as home this season to a talented crop of rookies beyond just Mike Trout, writes Paul Hagen of MLB.com. Hagen points to Yoenis CespedesJesus Montero and Yu Darvish as players who have strong cases that would easily win AL Rookie of the Year any other year, but Trout's not only a finalist for being the top rookie as he looks to take home league MVP as well.
  • While the Nationals failed to collect the hardware that comes with winning the World Series, the team's manager, top rookie and ace look to make up for it this week as the BBWAA award winners are announced, says Amanda Comak of The Washington Times. Strangely enough, Washington manager Davey Johnson was fired the same day he last won a Manager of the Year award thanks to a contract dispute with the Orioles back in 1997.
  • Count the Indians among the teams interested in pursuing Jason Bay's services, writes Paul Hoynes of The Plain Dealer in his latest mailbag. Beyond Bay, Hoynes suggests the team could be in play for Melky Cabrera as the pressure-free environment in Cleveland could help him rebound next season.
  • Bobby Valentine's future may not take shape in a dugout, but Peter Gammons of MLB.com believes the veteran manager would be an asset to Major League Baseball by working for commissioner Bud Selig.

Red Sox Notes: Bay, Hunter, Ellsbury, Upton, Farrell

A source tells Rob Bradford of WEEI.com (via Twitter) that Jason Bay would be very interested in returning to the Red Sox.  Earlier today, the Mets reached an agreement with the outfielder to make him a free agent this winter in exchange for deferring some of the $21MM owed to him.  Here’s more on the Red Sox..

  • While Bay would like to return to the Red Sox, signs point towards him preferring a west coast team, tweets Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald.
  • The Red Sox have expressed interest in free agent outfielders Torii Hunter and Grady Sizemore, tweets Silverman.
  • General Manager Ben Cherington says the club has not yet discussed Bay, tweets Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald.
  • The Red Sox will listen on Jacoby Ellsbury but they will listen on him, tweets Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com.  One rival official noted that the club won’t be overly anxious to move Ellsbury as they’re already in need of two outfielders.
  • Boston is expected to be in the mix for Justin Upton this offseason, writes Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald.  It’s not yet known if the Red Sox have had talks with the Diamondbacks about the outfielder previously or at the GM meetings, however.
  • Manager John Farrell says the club is thinking about hiring two hitting coaches and would even prefer it, tweets Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald.  “I think it’s evolved into more than a one-man system. We’re going in that direction,” Farrell said (Twitter link).
  • Maureen Mullen of CSNNE.com looks at the decisions facing the Red Sox in advance of the Rule 5 draft.

Mets, Jason Bay Agree To Part Ways

The Mets and Jason Bay have agreed to an early expiration of his contract, making him a free agent. The team announced the move in a press release. Joel Sherman of The New York Post reports (on Twitter) that Bay will receive all $21MM left on his contract, though some of it is being deferred. Bay is represented by Joe Urbon at CAA Sports.

"I still feel I have plenty to give to this game and that I can play baseball at a high level. But after serious consideration, both sides agree that we would benefit from a fresh start," said Bay in a statement. "I'm grateful we were able to reach an agreement to allow that to happen. I’m excited to keep playing and have no intention of just walking away. I enjoyed my time in New York. I have no regrets in signing with the Mets, other than that I wasn’t able to play to the level that the team, the fans and I all expected and that we weren’t able to win more games. I move on with nothing but an appreciation for the organization and its fans and best wishes to all my teammates there."

Bay, 34, signed a four-year, $66MM contract with the Mets prior to 2010. He was still owed $16MM in 2013, a $3MM buyout of his 2014 club/vesting option, and $2MM worth of signing bonus money. All of that accounts for the $21MM, which will now be spread over several years rather than the next 12 months.

Sherman says that Bay will lose some present day value through the deferral, but now he can sign with a new team for more than the league minimum (all Twitter links). The union doesn't allow players to reduce the guaranteed portion of their contracts unless they get something equal in greater in return. The Mets would not have released Bay without the deferrals, which allow the team to spend more in 2013 according to Sherman (on Twitter).

Bay's three years in New York could not have gone any worse, as the outfielder battled injuries and hit just .234/.318/.369 with 26 homers in 1,125 plate appearances with the team. The year prior to joining the Mets, he finished seventh in the MVP voting and put up a .267/.384/.537 batting line with 36 homers for the Red Sox. Bay has hit .246/.355/.401 against left-handers over the last three years and figures to draw interest as a platoon outfielder/DH.

Alderson Talks Free Agents, Wright, Dickey, Trades

The fourth-place Mets will wrap up their season against the Marlins this afternoon, a season that saw them sit in second place and 4.5 games out of first as late as July 7th. GM Sandy Alderson spoke to the media earlier today, saying he is "not prepared to blow up the team and start over again." Let's recap the full media session with some help from ESPN New York's Adam Rubin

  • "I don't want to give the impression that we're going to be out in the free-agent market looking for significant additions," said the GM. "We have lots of payroll tied up in a handful of players. That's a situation that gradually has to resolve itself."
  • Alderson said he believes the team is headed in the right direction, but they are not yet in a position to spend lavishly or "pay for today with deferrals until tomorrow."
  • The Mets will make every effort to retain both David Wright and R.A. Dickey. The team holds affordable club options for both players, but they can become free agents after 2013. 
  • Alderson would not rule out a contract extension that takes Wright to the end of his career, and he acknowledged that both sides have already had "informal conversations."
  • The team's goals are to first build through the farm system, retain core players, and add players from the outside on a "fairly judicious basis."
  • "I think it's possible, given what we have, that we'll be more active in the trade market," said Alderson. "But that's not a given, necessarily. I really do believe some of our players are on the verge of making bigger contributions." Alderson said they would be cautious with their starting pitching depth, however.
  • The team's payroll for 2012 ended up being about $100MM, and the $9MM in total buyouts owed to Jason Bay and Johan Santana will be considered part of the 2013 payroll. Both players can become free agents after next season.
  • Manager Terry Collins is under contract through next year and there have not yet been any talks about signing him to a contract extension.

Mets Likely To Keep Bay, Santana

There’s “zero” chance the Mets will release Jason Bay or ask him to compete for a job next Spring Training, Mike Puma of the New York Post reports. Mets executives have already decided to stick with Bay, Puma reports. “He’s a part of this team,” a Mets person said.

The Mets aren’t likely to trade Bay or left-hander Johan Santana, Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com reports. Both players have no-trade clauses and tens of millions remaining on their current contracts. Bay will earn $16MM in 2013 and his contract includes a $3MM buyout for 2014. Santana, who's now on the disabled list with lower back inflammation, will earn $25.5MM in 2013 and his contract includes a $5.5MM buyout for 2014.

Rubin also surveys MLB rosters for bad contract swap candidates the Mets could consider. GM Sandy Alderson will likely be looking for a new center fielder this offseason and the team could also pursue a right fielder, Puma writes.

East Notes: Girardi, Nationals, Rays, Bay

Division leaders and their rivals are squaring off today in both the AL and NL East. With the Yankees looking to pad their four-game lead over the Rays in their rubber match and the Braves looking to pull within 5.5 games of the front-running Nationals with a sweep, here are the notes, quotes, and song lyrics from the East:

  • GM Brian Cashman reiterated Joe Girardi will manage the Yankees next year, according to Ken Davidoff of the New York Post. Cashman was specifically asked, if in his mind, Girardi will be the manager regardless of what happens. "Yup," was Cashman's reply.
  • The Nationals aren't letting the Stephen Strasburg controversy and the recent skid in Atlanta dampen their enthusiasm, according to the Washington Post's James Wagner. Mark DeRosa is the most vital presence in keeping the clubhouse loose with Wagner calling him part team dad and part team comedian.
  • The Nationals' season is of historic proportions, writes Barry Svrluga of the Washington Post. With 1933 the last time a Washington franchise won a league title and the District of Columbia having seen two versions of the Senators come and go in the interim, Svrluga also gives a lesson in how to calculate magic numbers for those who might have already perfected the math behind RGIII's QB rating.
  • In addition to trying to make the playoffs, September is also about playing for awards and new contracts for the Rays, opines Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times
  • Jason Bay told Pat Borzi of the New York Times that he doesn't believe the effects of two concussions are the cause of his disappointing season. Manager Terry Collins hinted that was the case before the Mets' series in Milwaukee. Bay responded, "Terry’s asked me that, and I have nothing to quantify that with. How do you know? I don’t feel like it has. A lot of people look for a lot of reasons as to why things may or may not have come down as they historically have. Albeit that’s a viable scenario, but I can’t tell you from one day to the next how it felt. Those things did occur, but if I knew the answer, I would have fixed it by now.
  • There is no easy fix for the Red Sox as they begin the long task of rebuilding their roster, writes the Boston Herald's John Tomase who provided a critique of the franchise from ownership to the farm system.
  • It has been a surprising year for Bobby Valentine and Buck Showalter, according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post. No one could have predicted, even himself Sherman admits, the seasons the two managers have experienced.
  • In a separate article, Sherman believes starting pitching will determine the Yankees' post-season fate.
  • GM Alex Anthopoulos confirmed to reporters the Blue Jays are exploring moving their Triple-A club to Buffalo from Las Vegas, writes Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca. This would, in effect, bump the Mets, currently affiliated with Buffalo, to Las Vegas.
  • Rays' manager Joe Maddon summed up his team's offensive problems by turning to song, reports the Tampa Bay Times' Topkin. "Again, we've sang this song," Maddon said. "I'm sure we could make a nice country and western song out of this whole thing. Between your dog and your pickup, we came up short again. We came up short agin." Unfortunately, Maddon will not be eligible in the songwriting category at the Country Music Awards tomorrow night.

Mets Won’t Eat Jason Bay’s Contract

After announcing that Jason Bay will be a platoon player for the Mets, General Manager Sandy Alderson says that he won't absorb the final season of the veteran's contract.  The Mets allegedly discussed a change of scenery deal with the Marlins for Bay but the Mets aren't looking to part ways with the outfielder.

"Certainly, there are times when it is appropriate to eat a contract," Alderson told Andrew Marchand of ESPN New York.  "There are other times when it is not. Jason Bay is not going anywhere, nor is his contract."

Bay, 34 in September, is hitting just .154/.248/.285 with five homers in 149 plate appearances in 2012.  The outfielder is set to earn $16MM in 2013 and has a $3MM buyout on his $17MM 2014 season.

NL East Notes: Phillies, Suzuki, Bell, Bay

The Braves became the latest team to beat the struggling Astros tonight, winning a 4-1 result on the back of 7 1/3 innings of one-run ball from Tim Hudson.  With the Braves' win and the Nationals' split of a double-header with the Marlins today, Washington is only two games up on Atlanta in the NL East.  Here's the latest from around the division…