In short, I advocated Bay now/Gonzalez then. Make sure we're still in a position to want Gonzalez then. We have money and prospects. Bay only costs money, Gonzalez (for now) only costs prospects... and will be available later. Why not play both games? We've already got the quarters for the arcade machine, Dad... don't need anything more!
I swear I didn't see your article until *immediately* after I posted my own thoughts. =)
I think their approach with Bay is "if he falls into our lap as a tremendous bargain, fine; otherwise, pass." At least that seems to be the way they're treating it.
(1) LF is their flex point: MB will play there some when Jr is the DH. Saunders some. Figgins can flex out there when Tui plays 3b. The ABs you want to spread around Griffey-Saunders-Tui would all be stomped out by Bay. Otherwise, you're taking Bradley's bat out of the lineup to get those guys in, and that doesn't make sense. (In other words, LF is covered -- by the sum of your part-time parts.)
(2) Z is playing for July 31, too. I think that's when he believes AGone or Fielder (or somebody else) will be available. Bay takes up his payroll space and prevents him from showcasing his young MLB-ready talent in part-time roles. If they are heading to the playoffs, they will have a cleanup hitter. They just might not have him until July 31.
Great post ...
Quibbles before plaudits. :- ) I see things a tadbit differently, as to the war of attrition that Bay is currently involved with.
The blog-o-sphere has the attitude: we don't really want Bay, but if he insists on taking 60 cents per dollar, we'll tolerate him. I haven't seen Zduriencik take this attitude toward any player. He identifies who he wants and is interested, or isn't. Tolerating a new import that he doesn't want? When has he done that?
Zduriencik obviously has two approaches to players that he wants:
(1) Guys he has to have -- pay them at (or above) market and get them in quick.
Chone Figgins' 5-year deal is extremely aggressive. Jack Wilson's remark that the M's first offer was what they hoped for in free agency. The material traded for Wilson was over-the-top, as well.
(2) Guys he sees as good options -- hardball them and see if he can get them while saving as much payroll as possible.
Zduriencik obviously likes Russell Branyan. Branyan was Capt Jack's find. He is left-handed. He offers power. The medical reports are good. And yet Branyan is complaining about the M's not being fair to him.
Felix Hernandez is another example of this. I was appalled at the M's reported opening offer. It doesn't mean that the M's would prefer not to have Felix.
So, am not sure that we can project our own qualms about Bay onto the M's: after all, they have been one of 3-4 teams consistently rumored as talking with Bay. Just a week or two ago, Zduriencik was on the radio speaking enthusiastically about him.
That LF is the flex point ... that's for sure. It's one reason even Dr. D hesitates about Jason Bay. Everybody's glad to have the RH Franklin Gutierrez in Safeco, because he plays in the middle of the diamond.
You'd love to get your lefty cleanup hitter at 1B or LF or both... locking in your RH bat for 4-5 years in LF is not ideal...
But like Wakamatsu told BP, you'd like to have an All-Star at every position :- ) ... there's going to be some give and take. Not many positions are going to be ideal, except right field and SP1, SP2.
Grrrrrrrreat point about July 31. Probably Spec and Capt Jack are two steps ahead of SSI here.
If Zduriencik feels no urgency about Bay/Holliday/Fielder/AGone, this is probably why. The Pads will probably get serious about dealing Gonzalez in July.
On Brandon League and on Jason Bay, I wonder if Seattleites simply are failing to appreciate just how good these guys are. A picture's worth 1,000 words. A couple of weeks of watching them would change a lot, it sez here.
Imagine if you hadn't known much about Edgar Martinez coming from the Mets at 32.
And heard that the M's were interested in this Edgar guy from the NL, on big $$$, 5 years.
Yeah, fine, he's a real good hitter, but he's slow, doesn't help on defense, clogs the DH spot and he'll be RH in Safeco. Tell me that wouldn't have been the reaction?
Hey, you're talking about the Red Sox' cleanup hitter here.
No on Bay. Hes just not an undervalued asset like Chone Figgins. Hes going to get full market value, hes a bad fit for the park, and the years dip into his likely decline phase. Its just not the best play right now.
I wouldn't want to pay him anything even remotely close to 4/65. Bay is a good player, but hes not a great player.
I don't think Bay gets 'market value' in the sense you're suggesting. No one is willing to pay it... and I'm not suggesting we go 5/75 on the guy or anything either.
That being said, Bay's decline phase doesn't scare me as much as others. He's got enough speed to be productive longer in his career, unlike the Sexson-class player. I think he'd be a solid investment at a mid-market price (13per would be very good, 14 quite solid)... which isn't unreasonable right now. Remember, only half the games are in Safeco (even in a worst-case Safeco-effect assumption), and we need RH power in other parks.
Bay *wants* to be here. I think that helps him persevere until he finds a way to succeed here. We should definitely acquire him at the relatively reasonable price at which I believe he will likely end up signing.
That being said... I'm confident enough in him that I'd be more glad to have him than worried about a modest 'overpay'.
Neither was Jay Buhner.
Question is, Taro, you being a reasonable anti-Bay guy, and able to answer this ... I'm confused. Help me out.
.... supposing he'd sign for 3/$33 or 3/$36m. I presume you'd be all over that.
What then is the big deal about the $2 or $3 a year, when that means you have a cleanup hitter or not?
The payroll flexes, right? Does the $2 or $3 affect the roster *at all*?
I'm not saying money doesn't matter, of course. You draw a line for everybody. But I don't see how THIS $2 or $3 a year is a big deal, in THIS context (the M's needing a cleanup hitter to complete the puzzle).
I wouldn't be crazy about it, but I could see the logic behind it if Bay reduced his price to that range. The years are really key for me. Theres no way I can see going over 3 for Bay when hes already getting full value in FA $ per W.
I also just don't see Bay as that huge of an upgrade over the in-house alternatives. Assuming Saunders gives you awesome D and below-average offense and Bay with very good O and below-average D, you are talking roughly a difference of 1.5-2.5 W in '10 depending on how Saunders does offensively in his rookie year. Saunders is also liable to close that gap year-to-year with Bay possibly declining. That upgrade is just not worth the cost and downside of acquiring Bay.
I'd prefer trading for someone like Smith, who may be just as good of a player as Bay without the high cost. Then you can use the rest of the $ on a 1B, SP, and maybe a RP (positions with more of a need at a better value). With Ackley moving to 2B, I wouldn't mind giving the postion to Saunders either.
Say, 3x$15-17m? In my mind, that eliminates the possibility of a steep decline in the later years, and leaves the finances flexible enough after his contract expires that we can get another high-impact bat from elsewhere for 1B/3B.
The money isn't the big issue in my mind, it's the years. He's pretty likely to 'earn' the $17m for the next three years, and if he's still going good then he can score a Raul-esque contract on the end of the deal either here or elsewhere.
If you'll do 3 x 17 = 51, what if he then offered you the fourth year at $5m?
1. The Mets are getting radio silence on Bay for several days, the same way that Boston did before Epstein angrily wrote Bay off.
2. But now, the Red Sox are reacting to Bay's shun in the best possible way, from his point of view ... they're having committee discussions about raising payroll to offer Bay 4/$60M.
It's interesting how well this "don't call me, I'll call you" winter is working out for Bay.
It's still unclear what the M's would do with their lineup if they did get Bay at a hometown discount.
1) 180 games (20 in LF) might be about right for Bradley and Griffey to split -- 100-120 for Bradley is about all you'll get anyway, and 60-80 or so could work for Griffey as a player-coach. The Bradley-Griffey DH jobshare is feasible, IMHO.
2) ... but are you willing to lock everybody else out of DH? I guess they did that in the Edgar years.
3) It would be neat if they talked about one of the three playing a little first base. That used to be common in baseball ;- ) put an OF at 1B once in a while...
for the kind words.
I think everyone else stated pretty much my thoughts. I actually like Bay as a player, I just fear the loss of payroll and positional flexibility at the years/prices that are being tossed around. Saying "I don't want to give up Ackley and Triunfel for one year of Cliff Lee" isn't saying "I don't really want Cliff Lee on my team all that much."
And I do recall that they had plans for Buhner to share some time at 1B before the injuries caught up with him, didn't they? So, sure, there are ways it could all work out, too, if Bay wants to be here that badly.
Merry Christmas to all!