Tag Archives: Jason Bay

All Things Come to an End

Today was the final day of the 2012 regular season. Once again the Mets finished below .500 and are hoping some offseason magic can make them relevant sooner rather than later. Because it is no fun to reflect on a season in which the team hasn’t been competitive or in the playoff race for months, we will instead look to next season.

So, should Mets fans be optimistic going into next year?

To be honest I’m not entirely sure. I know this is a bit of a cop out, but with Sandy Alderson claiming to be very active in the trade market, this team might be entirely different by the time the 2013 season gets underway.

But let’s pretend the Mets will largely keep the same team intact going into next season.

The biggest weakness of this club is the outfield. Who on the Mets makes you feel confident going into next season? Jason Bay? Lucas Duda? Matt Den Dekker?

There is a chance one of the young players on the Mets could blossom into an everyday starter, but we have yet to see it, and everything said by scouts says we will never see it. So unless Alderson makes some moves, the outfield situation should not be much better next year. There may be small individual improvements among the players, but nothing drastic.

The infield is less of a question mark. Daniel Murphy has proven to be a steady hitter, and (this may be generous) serviceable second baseman. Best part? He is probably the weak link. David Wright is a perennial All-Star, Ruben Tejada had a remarkable year, and Ike Davis rebounded in the second half to belt 31 hrs. Even catcher has been decently reliable for the Mets ever since the trade for Kelly Shoppach.

So how about the rotation?

Going into next season the rotation looks to be a strength. R.A. (Cy?) Dickey will be returning. As will Jon Niese and Matt Harvey. Top pitching prospect Zach Wheeler will be up sooner than later, and the Mets will potentially have Johan Santana, Dillon Gee, Mike Pelfrey, and/or Chris Young to choose from as the fifth starter. Not to mention a spot starter and long reliever in Jeremy Hefner.

The bullpen may still be a weakness, but with the improvement of Bobby Parnell, and the expected additions of Jenry Mejia and Jeurys Familia the bullpen should be at least serviceable moving forward.

So outside of the outfield things seem good. Does that mean the Mets could be in the playoff race?

They could. Stranger things have happened, but if I had to bet I would say no. Why? Well there are just too many questions that face the Mets.

First, can RA Dickey have a similar season? How will Matt Harvey look during his first full season? How will Zach Wheeler perform in the majors? Will Santana be a solid starter? Are they even bringing Pelfrey or Young back? How will Gee recover from surgery? Those are just the questions for the rotation.

Murphy is still a reliability at second, Davis hasn’t put together an All-Star season yet. Tejada is good, but isn’t a star yet. And with no outfield, and maybe one star in the infield, the offense will struggle. On top of that, we still aren’t sure how much better the bullpen can be expected to be next season.

I guess in short: the Mets have talent. In my opinion I think they are doing a nice job of building within, especially considering where they were. But they aren’t there yet. Perhaps Alderson can do something in the offseason to change this, but as of now the Mets look at least a season away from being real playoff contenders.

Reverse Jinx

After Gary Cohen pointed out Bay’s inability to crank out extra-base hits, Bay has had a quite a streak. After going 50+ games without a double, Bay has cranked out three in the last two days, with one of them clearing the bases. Generally an announcer mentioning a streak jinxes the team in a bad way. Somehow Gary Cohen managed what seems like a reverse jinx. This gave me an idea…

Jason Bay, you are so bad at hitting that you couldn’t hit water if you fell out of a boat. OOOOOOOHHHHHH! Burned!

You hear that Jason Bay? I have officially given up on you. What, you think I’m gonna fall for your antics again? Just because this is the best you’ve hit since your grandslam in Texas does not mean I’m gonna believe you’ve gotten out of your slump? You got that?

Jason Bay, you are easily the worst outfielder in the major leagues. You are so bad, that I am actually writing an article about you because you have gotten three extra base hits in what seems like the last month! That would be fine, if you were at least hitting for average, but .223 is not cutting it. Hell, I would be ok if you just avoided grounding into a double play or striking out every time you come up with runners in scoring position.

I’m gonna keep writing about how bad you are in every one of my articles (yes, even if I write about football, or basketball, or hockey) until you prove me wrong. I am reverse jinxing you back to baseball prominence even if it kills me (don’t ask me how it could kill me…it just can ok?!?)

So, thank you for actually contributing to the team for once. It was greatly appreciated. Just don’t think I’m gonna start expecting it from you, Jason GAY! How did you like that offensive and childish insult that I already feel stupid for saying? Huh?!?

Next time I’m bringing out the momma jokes! Start hitting Bay!

Oops

I think I jinxed him.

After being benched, Jason Bay went on an absolute tear. Images of his days with the Pirates and Red Sox instantly flashed in my mind. We were finally getting the power hitter we had paid dearly for. His resurgence was just in time for a run at the Wild Card and our hopes of retaining Beltran this season stayed intact.

…Then I wrote that stupid article and he hasn’t hit a thing since. It’s all my fault. Sure you could look at the stats and realize Bay’s hot steak coincided with a slew of left-handed starters (pitchers Bay has faired fairly well against this season), but that would just be a waste. Please throw logic out. It was my fault.

The Mets just have this annoying habit of screwing everything up just when I finally believe. You’d think I would’ve learned something by now, but apparently I have the worst short-term memory in the world.

Every year the Mets do poorly at some point in the season and I realize our playoff chances are slim. Then out of nowhere they go on a hot streak. I stay weary, expecting the wheels to come off at any moment, but it never happens. I wait longer, convinced today will be the day the Mets will show their true color, but nothing. Could the Mets possibly be a true competitor? I start watching. I become enthralled with their play. I start going over how good they could be, how great their lineup looks, and how deep their rotation is. Then it happens. The wheels finally come off and I feel like an idiot. I write them off and the whole cycle happens all over again.

STOP TOYING WITH ME SPORTS GOD!!!

Perhaps I should learn something from this. If I was smart I would write the Mets off now. Say they had no chance to sign Reyes then sit back and watch them capture a championship before locking Reyes up to a reasonable contract (and by that I mean both price and years…perhaps years is a bigger concern). Unfortunately that isn’t going to happen. It’s a nice thought, but it is too much fun to be a fan and believe in this team. I am sorry for the Bay thing though…I’ll try to be more careful about that in the future.

Bay is Back

I know I am a little late to post about this, but I promise I’m not just joining the bandwagon.

Anyway, since being benched for two straight days, Jason Bay has been on a tear. He is hitting .347 with four home runs and 17 rbi’s in 18 games. (thank you SNY for doing that math for me ; – ) )

I have been waiting for this day (stretch?) since the day we signed him, and, as much as I can’t prove it, I’ve continued to expect it to happen since the day we signed him. I know he has been awful for the Mets, but you don’t just forget how to play baseball. How often does a player go from career averages of 20+ home runs and a .270 average, to 6 home runs and a .210 average? Maybe, just maybe, at the twilight of your career, but not at the age of 31.

After his first dreadful season, I thought of David Wright. In his first season in Citi Field he failed to hit double digit home runs. It seemed the ballpark got in his head. The following season, David fixed the problem and returned to being the type of hitter we expect him to be. Was it that far-fetched that a guy who just signed a big contract for a team in a big market was having the same struggles? This season Bay started out poorly again, but the guy was coming off a rib injury to start the season, and after struggling early, started to come apart at the seams. He was playing poorly, and with all the attention he was getting, he was pressing to break out.

After a particularly poor stretch Collins decided to sit him down. This move received a lot of scrutiny, but I didn’t think it was a bad idea. When all you’re doing is thinking about ways to adjust your swing, sometimes just forgetting about it is the best idea. (It’s similar to those times you lose track of your conversation. When you actively try to remember what you were going to say, it never comes to you. When you finally forget about it and move on, you suddenly remember) I was hoping this could apply to Bay. So far, it looks like it is paying off.

With his recent success (I understand 20 games is a small sample size with 162 games in a season, but he has never had this kind of stretch for the Mets. Think about it: 4 home runs in 20 games, as opposed to 8 in the other 135 games he has played in) I began to think of Carlos Delgado. Remember him? After a good 2006 season, Delgado was flat out terrible. He continued this poor play and power outage until the middle of the 2008 season. At that point he went wild. In the second half of the season he hit close to .400 and hit a home run every other day. (Ok that was an exaggeration…but it felt like that. Every time we needed a big hit, he came through. Part of me wonders if he had to sell his soul for that type of production, or at least the rest of his baseball career. The following season he got hurt early and hasn’t made it back to the majors.) He almost got the Mets into the playoffs that season by himself. So if Delgado could have that type of turnaround, maybe Bay can too.  Let’s just hope his career doesn’t end next season.

If Bay can continue to produce at this level, the Mets could climb back in this race. I don’t think this is ridiculous to expect either. It might be a small sample size, but this streak isn’t all about luck. He clearly looks more confident at the plate. He isn’t rushing his swing, and is staying strong on his back leg. I feel the only reason I refuse to state he has turned it around is I’m afraid to jinx it. That and the Mets have a nasty habit of messing things up just as you start to believe in them. (maybe I should learn from this and refuse to believe in them no matter how well they do. Even if they are 7 games up with 17 left to play, I should just refuse to believe they’ll make the playoffs)

I understand the Mets are teetering around .500 and that screams mediocrity, but after that terrible 5-13 stretch to start the season, they have gone 39-29, posting a winning record in both May and June. That is with Bay doing nothing, and Wright, Davis and Santana on the DL. The Mets are in the top 3 in almost every offensive category, with the big exceptions being home runs and total runs. With the possibility of Wright and Bay adding more pop, the Mets are likely to see vast improvements in both categories. Who knows, we might get lucky for the first time since ’69 and have Davis come back this season too.

Perhaps all of this is a little too optimistic for 20 good games from one player, but the team has given me reason to hope. For the first time in a while they are playing the game the right way. They are taking the extra base, coming back late in games, getting two out hits, working the count in their favor. It pains me to know that despite all of that, they might not have the talent to make the playoffs. I’m not a real religious person, but for some reason I’m a believer in sports karma. I just feel a team that plays the game right should make the playoffs.

Right Fielder Carlos Beltran

Via ESPN

“It was good,” Beltran said. “Normally you don’t see lefties in spring training. … From the left side I felt like I was a little bit more patient. From the right side I was jumping a little bit. Now I have an idea what I need to work on from the right side.”

Manager Terry Collins plans for Beltran to again serve as DH on Monday and get three at-bats, although Beltran cautioned: “Maybe playing tomorrow. Let’s see how everything feels tomorrow. You can do all the training you have to, but once you play games, the intensity is a little bit more. Hopefully tomorrow I feel good and I’m ready to go again.”

Beltran looked good today. Not totally healthy, but progressing. His play is probably one of the more interesting story-lines of spring training. When healthy Beltran is a game-changer and an integral part of the Mets offense.

His play is not just an important piece to the offense, but to our defense as well. In a selfless move, Beltran has agreed to play right field, allowing Pagan to roam center. Taking the demotion in stride avoids possibly problems in the clubhouse, and its not like having two great fielders is a bad thing. If Beltran is happy playing right field then we have a great defensive outfield as well. Something that is important when you consider the ballpark the Mets play in and the pitchers on their staff.

If the Mets have any chance of competing for a playoff spot they are going to need a healthy Beltran. A healthy Beltran teamed up with Angel Pagan and Jason Bay will give the Mets one of the top outfields in baseball. The pitching wasn’t the big problem last season, it was the offense. Let’s see if a full season of production from Beltran can change that.