It is not for lack of effort that Jason Bay has been struggling in his time with the Mets. The man ran into a wall on two occasions to show to Mets fans that he is at least trying. The problem with Bay is that he is trying too hard. He seems to be putting too much pressure on himself with the weight of an $80 million dollar contract on his shoulders. The odd part about Bay is that the media attention in Boston should have prepared him for New York but he doesn’t seem to know how to deal with the media and fans of the Mets.
I really do not understand how a player of Bay’s caliber can be this poor in a Mets uniform. I mean, he was is a three-time All-Starand was a beast in the middle of Pittsburgh and Boston’s lineup. In 2009 he hit .267 with 36 home runs and 119 RBIs. Since signing with the Mets he has only managed to hit 22 home runs in three seasons at Citi Field. Granted Citi Field isn’t a very hitter friendly park. But come on! Maybe this is all an issue of confidence because it is impossible for his skills to drop off this badly.
Bay has been an absolute disaster since joining the Mets. Every season he seems to miss months at a time with injuries. In his brief Mets career he has missed 165 games so far at the mid-point of the 2012 season. And when he is on the field he strikes out in the worst possible situations, with 223 strikeouts in 240 at-bats. He has completely lost his power and is content on settling for singles. He is basically an overpaid fourth outfielder with no pop while taking up a spot at the bottom of the batting order.
Throw all of the negativity of Bay’s past out the window though. Forget how bad he was the last 2 seasons because it is all about the here and the now. The Mets are finally competitive again for the first time since Bay’s arrival and the team is desperate for a right-handed hitter to challenge left-handed pitchers. They need Bay to contribute at least something close to what he provided in Pittsburgh and Boston. I’m not saying he has to be the slugger he was when he hit 36 home runs; he just needs to be half of that player.
Bay is currently rehabbing in Class-A St. Lucie and is set to return to the Mets soon. The reality is that this might be his last chance to win over the fans. Everyone is frustrated with him and his ridiculous contract, and now is the time for him to show fans what he is capable of. If he comes back from the DL and provides the Mets with a quality bat in the middle of the lineup, fans will forget about his struggles. Helping the team to a playoff spot for the first time in six years would probably be enough to get him off the hook. But if he comes back and strikeouts every at-bat like he has been doing, he will find himself either on the bench or out of New York. With two years left on his contract he hasn’t accomplished anything in New York.
It’s time to put up or shut up, Jason Bay. No more excuses. Go out there and play like you know how to play.
Take a look at Bay’s career stats: