New York Yankees Show Interest in Jason Bay for Left Field

December 15, 2009   ·     ·   Jump to comments
Article Source: Bleacher Report - New York Yankees

The Yankees have yet to address their left field situation for 2010.

They also have yet to re-sign Johnny Damon, who was the team’s left fielder for the past two seasons and has said they have yet to offer him any sort of a contract.

There might be a reason why.

According to Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald, the Yankees have contacted the representatives for Jason Bay, who was the left fielder of the Boston Red Sox for the last season and a half.

Bay already rejected a four year, $60 million offer from the Red Sox to stay with them.

However, on Monday, the Red Sox locked up John Lackey for five years and $85 million and Mike Cameron for two years and $15.5 million. With Cameron’s signing and the big-time money they gave out to Lackey, Bay’s tenure in Boston is all but over now.

Bay also recently got an offer from the New York Mets for four years and around $65 million, an offer Bay had yet to decide on.

Bay, who just turned 31 this past September, would be a younger and potentially an offensive upgrade in left field over Damon, who just turned 36 in November.

In 2009, Bay hit .262 with 36 home runs and 119 RBI, which is great production. He did strike out a lot last season, 162 times, but he also walked a lot, 92 times and his on-base percentage was .384, so Bay does know how to get on base.

Bay’s fielding might not be Gold-Glove winning, but he did not make an error in the entire 2009 season in 150 games played in left field.

So now here’s the major question: Do the Yankees make a strong push for Bay?

Apparently, Bay is looking for a five-year deal, which no team has yet to offer him, but because of the market, Bay could always reduce his demand and accept a four-year deal if offered to him.

With Cameron off the market and the Los Angeles Angels signing of Hideki Matsui, the choices for the outfield are starting to dwindle down.

There is Matt Holliday, but the Cardinals just offered him an eight-year, $125 million contract last night, and that deal would be very hard to turn down for Holliday, so he may be off the market very soon.

This leaves the Yankees with a choice to make. Do they want to offer Bay a contract or try to keep the negotiations going with Damon?

There could be a possibility that the Yankees could bring in both Bay and Damon and move Damon over to the full-time designated hitter role and sign Bay to be the left fielder.

Now, if the Mets get Bay, this all becomes irrelevant and was simply hot stove talk, but Bay is still out there and it seems like he likes playing for a contender.

The Mets are not likely to be a strong contender in 2010 because they haven’t made any attempt to upgrade their team at all. They watched Lackey and Roy Halladay slip away and have yet to add anymore offense to the team, so this could essentially turn off Bay to the Mets.

The Yankees however, will be back in the playoff mix by bringing almost their entire team back from 2009 that won the World Series. The idea of playing for a winning contender could be an interesting option for Bay.

While he did not play well in the 2009 postseason hitting just .125, Bay did have a strong 2008 postseason with Boston, hitting .412 against the Angels and .292 against the Rays with three home runs and eight RBI.

Don’t pay attention to the 2009 postseason numbers for Bay because everyone on the Boston lineup from one through nine had a really bad batting average and performance against the Angels. Bay has become a very good player and clutch performer in a short time with the Red Sox.

If the Yankees do pursue Bay, it would almost be similar to last season’s pursuit of Mark Teixeira. The Yankees were nowhere to be found in the Teixeira talks until the Red Sox screwed up the negotiations and the Yankees pounced and signed him on Dec. 23.

The Yankees have not really been mentioned or a factor in the Bay negotiations and if they feel like they could go out and get Bay, the Yankees certainly have the money and the winning formula to put Bay on their team.

Time will only tell if the Yankees do in fact get serious about possibly adding Bay. If they were, it could be a potentially big addition to an offense that is one of the best in all of baseball.

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