Nov 07

2012 Mets Player Review: Jason Bay

JASON BAY, LF

PRESEASON EXPECTATIONS: Injured and a bust in the first two years of his four-year, $66-million pact with the Mets, the expectations were mild at best. Even with the fences moved in at Citi Field, nobody really expected him to become the slugger he had been with Boston, when he made the Red Sox forget Manny Ramirez. Bay homered 18 times in his first two seasons with 104 RBI. At least, that’s what the Mets anticipated for a single season. Bay’s injuries limited him to 95 games in 2010 and 123 in 2011, the latter was a concussion sustained when he slammed into the wall at Dodger Stadium. If healthy, the Mets hoped Bay would regain his power stroke and start salvaging his contract. Bay did hit 12 homers and drove in 57 runs in 2011, but had a mediocre .329 on-base percentage and .703 OPS. For his part, Bay was a positive clubhouse presence that always hustled and played defense. But, it is difficult to be a leader when you’re not producing.

2012 SEASON REVIEW: Whatever hopes the Mets might have had in rectifying Bay’s career took a serious hit last summer as another concussion limited him to 70 games. That Mets’ fans cheered Bay’s injury is reprehensible, but boiled down it was a sign of their increasing frustration with him. In many ways, Bay personified the Mets’ second-half offensive collapse. Again, Bay hustled, but only goes so far. He reached base just 41 times (32 hits and 19 walks), but he struck out 58 times, batted .165 with a .237 on-base percentage and .536 OPS. In nobody’s world is that a good season. It got to the point where manager Terry Collins said Bay’s two concussions contributed to him being sluggish at the plate. By the end of the season he was a platoon player.

LOOKING AT 2013: When the Mets signed Bay, they did so despite having a greater need for pitching, both starting and relieving. Above all else, this season represents freedom from Bay’s horrendous contract as they’ll have to pay him $16 million plus a $3 million buyout. After ridding themselves of Bay’s contract and Johan Santana’s ($25 million) after this season, the Mets will have more financial flexibility. There’s no way the Mets can escape the bust label for signing Bay; that became official a long time ago. Since he can’t be traded, Bay’s value to the Mets will be if he stays healthy and produces with power and makes them competitive. Maybe then, might somebody take him of their hands for the second half. But, don’t count on it.

NEXT: Andres Torres

Jun 30

Mets Matters: No Rest For Johan Santana

Johan Santana (5-4, 3.00 ERA) tries to up the Mets’ winning streak to four when he opposes right-hander Nathan Eovaldi (0-4, 4.04) at 7:15 p.m. ET today at Dodger Stadium.

The Mets aren’t planning on shutting down Santana for the remainder of the first half following tonight’s start. It sounds like a good idea, Terry Collins said there’s no need as the left hander has held up well physically. There was concern after the 134-pitch no-hitter, but that has dissipated as Santana rebounded after a rocky start against the Yankees.

* Rueben Tejada continues to play well since coming off the disabled list. Last night he reached base a career-high five times.

* Ike Davis was fined $750 for inadvertently touching umpire Manny Gonzalez with this glove Tuesday in Chicago. There will be no suspension. It was good to see MLB go in that direction. In viewing the replay it was clear there no deliberate contact. Davis apologized to Gonzalez and the umpire acknowledged the contact was accidental.

* Jason Bay will attempt to run this afternoon. With the All-Star Game a week away, shutting Bay down for the rest of the first half would be good idea.

Sep 21

Bay’s Future in Doubt?

No one can say for certain if Boston poisoned Bay’s water before he ended up in a Mets’ uniform, but the once big-time slugger has experienced a falling off of monumental proportions this season. That’s not to say that some hasn’t been injury-induced; and any transplant from an AL lineup gets a season of doubt’s benefit. But in plain English, Bay simply didn’t pan out like the Mets had hoped.

Now it seems that the young ballplayer’s future may be hanging in the balance altogether after a July 22 concussion that Jason’s seemingly not recovering from.

Bay had left a game earlier this year due to leg problems, had taken a few off like a baby Manny for minor ailments and, after smacking into the wall at Dodger Stadium in late July, was eventually diagnosed with a “mild” concussion.

The Mets originally placed Bay on the 15-day DL due to his concussion, but now have moved that to 60 days. It’s an obvious move to give Bay time to heal properly in a season that went nowhere fast, but the interesting part in this is that Bay was also said to have been suffering from physical exertion.

On its surface, Bay’s odds of coming back at a full strength—and hopefully a lot more effective—next season are solid – a good 5:3. However, in light of recent scientific advancements on brain injuries and their link to long-term diseases, the odds that Bay will be “okay” in his later years are another story – maybe 20:1.

Sadly, you’ll find better odds playing online slots, and that’s tragic for Bay and every other player to suffer concussions and then not heal properly. It’s bad news, and there’s no getting around it.

Thanks to Chris Nowinski, his partners, and many volunteered brains of former athletes, the first major cause of—the ironically named in Bay’s or any other MLB player’s case—Lou Gehrig’s disease, ALS, has been found.

In every brain submitted to Chris from an ALS patient, one factor was present – the brain displayed symptoms of concussions that did not heal properly and thus sent protein deposits into the spinal cord. After years of buildup, these young athletes contracted ALS.

The odds of suffering concussions and contracting ALS are slim on their own, about 1000:1 – better than you’d find on any online blackjack games to be sure. But concussions that don’t heal properly, and those with other complications, are another story. These are the concussions that produce the proteins, and these proteins can produce ALS.

In an investigation into Lou Gehrig’s personal history, HBO’s Real Sports’ host Bernie Goldberg found that Gehrig had suffered multiple concussions during his time on the field, some severe enough to leave him unconscious. And let’s not forget that Gehrig was Cal Ripken decades before there was a Cal Ripken – he was the Iron Horse, never missing a game.

Hopefully, Bay will heal just fine and won’t suffer the fate of the dreaded protein deposits from this concussion. And the Mets’ kid gloves approach really bodes well for his future. But knowing what we know now about the horrible disease and its cause, it truly makes you take a harder look at athletes and question how they’re “really” recovering from injuries.

Jul 30

Bay goes on DL

Jason Bay was placed on the disabled list and Jesus Feliciano was recalled from Triple-A Buffalo. As the days passed with no improvement in his concussion symptoms it was a no-brainer Bay would go on the DL.

The Mets played this one conservatively from the outset, beginning when Bay complained of headaches on the flight back from the West Coast last Sunday, two days after running into a wall at Dodger Stadium. The Mets took a lot of heat, and justifiably so, for their handling of Ryan Church’s concussion in 2008.

Oct 27

Pedro gets the ball in Game #2

There wasn’t much surprise to the announcement when you consider some of the variables. Pedro Martinez will start Game 2 in New York because, 1) he’s pitched better than Cole Hamels recently, 2) he used to pitching in hostile Yankee Stadium, and 3) Hamels pitches better at home than on the road.

Martinez pitched seven shutout innings in a no-decision to the Dodgers in Game 2 of the NLCS. He is 8-4 with a 2.95 ERA in 16 regular-season starts and 0-1 with a 5.40 ERA in two postseason starts at Yankee Stadium while with Boston. The most memorable of those games was Game 7 in 2003 when Grady Little stuck with him in the eighth inning with a three-run lead. The Yankees tied it and eventually won on Aaron Boone’s homer.

MARTINEZ: Money pitcher gets the ball in Game 2.

MARTINEZ: Money pitcher gets the ball in Game 2.


Undoubtedly, there will be the “who’s your daddy chants,” in reference to a statement Martinez made about the Yankees being his daddy.

Martinez vs. the Yankees is one of the more intriguing storylines of this World Series, made so because the veteran pitcher is a grinder and the expectations are of a close game. And, in the Series, you’ll always take close because you never know what might happen. Back then, the Red Sox were snake bit by the Yankees with the Curse and all, but there’s none of that with the Phillies.

“He’s been in the big moment, and I think that his performance the other day in Dodger Stadium, how good he pitched, he deserves another chance to go back out there,” Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said of Martinez. “I think he’s still got quite a bit left. I was watching those playoff games that he pitched in [for the Red Sox]. I noticed his velocity on his fastball was sitting at like 87 to 91 mph.

“He was even better than that over there at Dodger Stadium. He knows how to pitch. He uses all of his pitches. His command is absolutely outstanding. He doesn’t rely on throwing the ball by people anymore. He’s a pitcher.”

While it is true Martinez has pitched well for Philadelphia, it must not be overlooked he’s worked a minimum of innings and is fresher than he normally would be this late in the season. To look at Martinez’s success it is easy to say the Mets made a mistake, but it must be remembered, 1) he did have an injury history with the Mets, 2) Martinez did not want to come back in the secondary role he eventually settled with in Philly, and 3) the Mets had expectations from their rotation that never materialized.

I thought the Mets did the right thing with Martinez in not bringing him back. It was time to move younger, but who knew Maine, Pelfrey and Perez would all hit the skids for one reason or another?

As well as he pitched for the Phillies, the full season work load will still be a question when he goes on the free-agent market this winter. Martinez has given indications he wants to continue, but should he pitch well in the playoffs and the Phillies win, he might find it a good time to call it quits when he’s on top.