Analysis

Bay to NY Has Several Angles

http://eatsleepmoneyball.files.wordpress.com/2009/10/werth.jpgIf you haven’t heard, former Pirates and Red Sox all-star Jason Bay signed a four-year, $66 million contract to become part of the spacious outfield for the New York Mets at Citi Field.  On the surface, they obtain one of the prize pieces from the free agent haul this offseason.  Below it, they may not be getting everything they hoped for.

For the Mets, any sort of offensive firepower is welcome.  Bay also appeared to be asking for slightly less than Matt Holliday, making him slightly more desirable to a team looking to add a big bat.  The problem isn’t so much his age (he will be 32 late next season); he’s certainly in his baseball prime.  It has more to do with his new digs up in Flushing.

We witnessed with our own eyes how ridiculous the new Citi Field can be for power hitters. To be fair, the Mets were missing their core of sluggers, but when you hit just 49 bombs in your own yard, it’s obvious a mistake made when the architect put the blueprints together.  Bay will help solidify the middle of the order that, so far, still has Carlos Beltran and David Wright.  Beltran dealt a bum knee in 2009 and David Wright was beaned on the head, but never really showed his power stroke even when healthy.  Just 1.6 home runs were hit on average per game, according to hittrackeronline.com.  So, injuries coupled with a powerless lineup, contributed to the awful performance.

As for Bay, he will hit home runs.  In fact, he’s hit 185 in his career including a career-best 36 last season in Boston.  It was the fourth time Bay reached has 30. It might be the last time we see him do so, and here’s why: Fenway Park’s Green Monster plays games with your head.

It’s a shade over 300 feet from home plate, meaning it’s relatively easy to hit over it.  When Bay gets to Citi, which reaches 331 in left and 371 in the alley, will he swing harder because he believes he has to?  Will the dimensions wreck his focus as a very good contact hitter?  Add that to the pressure of playing for New York, with the bonus of being the guy who hs to help save the franchise from the depths of the NL.  Even out in Pittsburgh where Bay resided for four-plus seasons, he swung for a relatively short wall. PNC Park goes 325 down the line, complete with a 36 inch wall (kidding, it’s 72 inches).  He’s used to an easy target in left and he’ll now have to deal with more between him and the left field seats.

Defensively, Bay was decent for his position. He had zero errors on the season, which proves he’s no slouch, but came in at a minus-4 on the Fielding Bible’s plus/minus scale.  So he was actually below the average major league left fielder in terms of defensive abilities for the ’09 year.  Add in a larger pasture to defend, and there may be some problems in ’10.

Overall, he has the tools to add a few notches to the win column for the Mets, especially when surrounded by a full complement of Reyes, Beltran, and Wright.  However, it’s pitching that really killed NY in 2009, an area that has not gotten any stronger for the team.  If I had to toss out an early prediction, I’d say 28 homers for Bay, with 100-plus RBI, and a jump to 78 wins for the Mets.

Another dilemma – one that has little to do with the Mets – is the Jayson Werth Factor.  How does the Bay signing impact the Phillies potentially re-signing Werth when he becomes a free agent?  Scott Lauber of the News Journal talked about this in his blog yesterday; and I agree with the sentiment that it now becomes that much harder to ink Werth long term.  Their numbers are similar in many facets of the game, however, Werth has more speed and is noted for his defensive acumen.

The four-year deal for Bay (with a fifth year vesting option) could spell the end for Jayson Werth in red pinstripes if he is set on parlaying his play into the best possible contract.  Lauber does point to Bay’s track record, but Werth can continue to build his resume with another strong season in 2010.  Plus, as Lauber mentions, Werth is a “late bloomer”.  He’s managed just 619 games played strewn across seven different seasons.  In six full years, Bay has over 900 games under his belt.  So while Werth is behind the curve, he certainly is setting himself up for major payday, and one that may have been put into context by Bay’s new deal with the Mets.

44 Comments

44 Comments

  1. bfo_33

    December 30, 2009 at 2:22 pm

    Mets overpay an overrated, unathletic, one-dimensionsal player to too many years. Just another year. Unfortunately, rough implications for re-signing Werth.
    Werth is one of the few guys I could see giving a “home team” discount (to some extent), but I couldn’t blame him for chasing the money. Based on his age, this will probably be his only op for a big contract (same with Vic). Is he worth the Bay contract? I’m sure there are GMs who agree. Is Ruben one of them? I’d like to see if they could sign him to a three year extension now – maybe $40M?
    This team has 2 years, then big decisions (Howard, Hamels, and Vic will chase $$, I don’t see Rollins being an every day player in 2012, Utley will probably be at 1st base, Ruiz still catching, Ibanez retired, Werth?). Looking for 2 more rings, then rebuilding. I just hope we don’t go into Mets mode and overpay guys on the downside of their career just to sell a few tix, would rather see a full scale overhaul after our 4th consecutive WS in 2011.

  2. phil

    December 30, 2009 at 2:53 pm

    we have hamels for 2012 as well and rollins will still be an everyday player….

  3. Ed R.

    December 30, 2009 at 2:56 pm

    I think the Phillies have to do whatever they can to resign Werth. Losing him not only creates a huge hole in the 5th spot but unless we replace him with someone of his similar offensive skill set then we are going to see a huge drop off in Howard’s numbers as well.

    Similar to what happened this past year in Boston to David Ortiz. Granted he was injured to an extent but his numbers also took a big nose dive because he no longer had the pleasure of having Manny batting behind him.

    I really think the Phillies window for dominance might end after this year unless Howard or Werth are willing to take big pay cuts to stay here.

  4. Don M

    December 30, 2009 at 2:58 pm

    Rollins is young.. still in his prime …. he’ll be slowing down in the future, but he’s got 3-4 years of above average baseball left in him

    Jason Bay has average like .280, 30 HR, 100 RBI since he’s been in the league

    overrated? Maybe..
    Not worth $16.5 Million in my opinion, but if that’s what the market is for a player like that.. then Werth is gone, because

    oh wait, nevermind.. I don’t want to start using that “budget” word again

  5. Ed R.

    December 30, 2009 at 3:02 pm

    I know the Met’s are not an offensive machine like the Phillies, but if you have a park predicated on pitching why are they not spending money for pitching? Bay really won’t do them much good at all. I hope they enjoy fourth place for the 2nd year in a row.

  6. Manny

    December 30, 2009 at 3:38 pm

    Don’t underestimate the Mets… with Beltran, Wright, Reyes, and now Bay… that’s one scary lineup. They’re one No.2 or No.3 starter away from contending, in my opinion.

  7. shag beta sigma delta

    December 30, 2009 at 3:51 pm

    IMO the question is can you pay Howard the 20+ million a year and still have money to pay other people, like Wreth and Vic. That is the first decision that has to be made. If you know you are not going to be able to extend Howard then I think you can pay Wreth 15-17 million for 3 or 4 years. On the other hand even with all the trades isn’t the Phillies minor leagues full of outfield potential, maybe not with power of Wreth, but down the road you do not have to have all HR hitters. With Brown, and Gose, and even Mayberry if he can fix his swing a little bit. Is it smart to try and extend Howard and bring some of these guys up in ’11 and ’12 and a much cheaper rate. I really like Wreth but IMO he is more easily replaced then a guy like Howard.

  8. Denny Dennehey

    December 30, 2009 at 3:52 pm

    Soon it will cost $100 for a bleacher seat. What players are earning is absolutely crazy. Who will ultimately pay these outrageous salaries. You and me — the fan. Baseball will soon price itself out of the market and out of the range of the upper middle class. Just look at what Mike Schmidt earned. Then look at Jason Bay. Not right. Economic suicide.

  9. Pat Gallen

    December 30, 2009 at 3:56 pm

    Manny, I agree we shouldn’t underestimate them, but I dont see a legit #2 on the market that stands out. Pinero will be pricey and is more of a 3/4 and the others like Sheets are projects. Tough to say. They certainly have the tools to be an above .500 team, but will Beltran stay healthy and can Bay make up for what they lost in Delgado power wise?

    I see something like 78 wins.

  10. Chris.I

    December 30, 2009 at 3:59 pm

    Manny, I couldn’t agree anymore with you…And the fact the Mets have one of the best closers in the game makes it even more scarier.

    It seems like everyone has amnesia when it comes to the Mets…Keep in mind they were one hell of a contending team 2 years ago (Minus K-rod, and Bay) which makes them more of a tougher team than they were 2 years ago. The Mets crumbled last season due to injuries. The Mets scare me more than anyone in our division (Though in reality we ARE the better team but not by much room). IMO the Mets are still candidates to be a tough contending team.

    If we plan to make another appearance to the WS again this season, we NEED Lidge & Hamels to step it up this year. They are the biggest question marks this season in order to succeed.

  11. psujoe

    December 30, 2009 at 4:13 pm

    Phils have to resign werth no matter the cost. Signing POlanco helps contact, but you can’t be devoid of Power at 3b and RF, especially from the right side.

  12. Tools of Ignorance

    December 30, 2009 at 6:02 pm

    Here’s a fun little article by Jeff Pearlman of Sports Illustrated on the Mets signing Bay.

    http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2009/writers/jeff_pearlman/12/30/jason.bay/index.html?eref=sihp

  13. George

    December 30, 2009 at 6:07 pm

    Anybody with half a brain would already realize that Werth will be difficult to retain with or without Bay’s recent signing. I’m sure any general manager would prefer him to Bay, and pay a good amount for him, even with his injury history (which appears to be that one-time wrist thing, anyway). I’m sure he’d bring Bay type money even without Bay in the picture.

    What worries me are the effects of the ridiculous contracts being given third starters and middle relief pitchers. It’s been estimated that Blanton could make $7 million in arbitration, but with Brad Penny at $7.5, Randy Wolf at $9.5, and a non-ace, oft injured Lackey being paid like a number one, Blanton’s pay could even go higher. And in 2011, how much will the Phils have to pay for Blanton’s replacement? How much will Moyer’s replacement cost?

    The Phils have a glut of outfielders on the farm. Let’s just hope some of their pitching prospects pan out better than they seem to be at present.

  14. Chris.I

    December 30, 2009 at 6:13 pm

    Interesting article on Bay, but a little more on the absurd side if you ask me. I just don’t see what Foster & Bay have in common? Like I said..interesting article, false reality

  15. Denny Dennehey

    December 30, 2009 at 6:48 pm

    The Phils should strive to extend both Victorino and Werth ASAP. Both are important to this team and if one leaves with the Phils only getting draft choice compensation, then we are screwed. If we cannot reach and agreement, we should explore trade possibilities early in an attempt to get something back. Remember what we got for Curt Schilling? We did get Placibo Polanco for Scott Rolen, but that too was lopsided at the time. Just my thoughts on the issue.

  16. Joel V.

    December 30, 2009 at 7:40 pm

    I have been telling people for a while now under the illusion that we will be WS contenders for another 4-5 years. Let me break the news to you. The Phils will not contend if they don’t find suitable replacement for Victorino and Werth, should they leave, and Ryan Howard, when he does leave. Here is the harsh reality, J Roll already has started to decline and we have two guys starting that are 34+ yrs old (Ibanez and Polanco) I agree we should definitley look to extend Werth RIGHT NOW bc he is looking to get PAID when he hits free agency. The worst is that the Phils are already balking at paying two aces (Lee and Halladay) even though one of them had a reasonable price tag! And not to add more fuel to the fire but Amaro (I like Amaro dont get me wrong) keeps giving an extra year to 100 yr old free agents that nobody were in a rush to sign early in free agency! That’s going to hurt us in the long run the same way the Adam Eaton, Pat Burrell and Geoff Jenkins contracts hurt us in the past.

  17. mikemike

    December 30, 2009 at 9:22 pm

    If reports are true that the cardinals are willing to pay Holliday 18 million a year for 7 years that nuts, werth will leave for sure and I don’t blame him or the phillies on that one. the cardinals are nuts if he is worth 18 with no speed no gloves , what the hell will howard get, the cardinals pay him that how do they pay carpenter, pujos, and the other starter cant think of his name. crazy move by the cardinals in my opinion.

  18. WFC010

    December 30, 2009 at 9:54 pm

    I really HATE when people keep talking about how the Phillies only have a “short window of opportunity left” for another World Series title, since if everyone thinks they need to win now, then they should have kept Lee for 1 more year to go along with Halladay. HOWEVER, Ruben Amaro see’s the situation differently, and he believes the Phillies have a good shot at winning for some time to come. Since he’s the GM i’d like to think he knows what he’s talking about.

  19. David

    December 30, 2009 at 11:32 pm

    Statistically, Bay is not overrated at all. He was third in AL in HR and second in RBI last year. He’s hit over 30 HR and 100 rbi 5 of the last 6 years with an OBP around .375 and BA of .280. If anyone is overrated its Matt Holliday. He’s good, don’t get me wrong. But after his great 2007, he has hit 25 and 24 HR with 88 and 109 RBI. Yes, his BA and OBP are very good, but worth the 140 million he is supposedly asking? I dont think so. If Holliday goes for 18 mill per for 8 years then getting bay for 4 years and 66 mill, or 5 years and 80 mill, is a steal IMO. Mets still have no number 2 and three number 4 pitchers on their staff. They desperately need to sign Pineiro and Garland or trade for someone like Zambrano or they will lose alot of games 8-5 and 9-7.

  20. Al in Seattle

    December 30, 2009 at 11:53 pm

    As Colin Cowherd said this morning, the Mets are the rich guy with no hands who paid for a nose job. Sure, it helps the offense out a bit, but the Mets main problem is the pitching, which Omar has just sat on his hands regarding that problem (at least for now). It is very unfortunate to be thinking about losing Werth right now, but, let’s enjoy the Phils season this year and not start thinking about next season’s offseason just yet. We’ll see what RAJ and the rest of the front office will do when the time comes.

  21. Just Crushed

    December 31, 2009 at 9:40 am

    Werth will probably go to Seattle or the Blue Jays

  22. George

    December 31, 2009 at 9:41 am

    The Mets may be “the rich guy with no hands…” but it’s not very easy to find a spare set of hands around anywhere. Maybe that “nose job” will draw enough attention that the missing hands won’t be noticed. Bay at least gives them a better chance to get those 5 or seven runs David says they’ll lose with. They’ll look a lot better with a 5 run nose than they will with only a 3.

    Everyone thinks the Mets have no pitching beyond Santana. Maybe they’re not strong there, but they do have some options when their injured pitchers return, and scoring more runs means your pitching can be slightly less than stellar. I don’t recall the Phils having a great starting staff in 2007, and even in 2009, they had problems until they traded for Lee and signed Martinez. Scoring more, the Mets could be trouble, and if they find another pitcher, they WILL be trouble. I’m sure Minaya is working on just that.

  23. Doug D.

    December 31, 2009 at 9:46 am

    I’m sure that the Phils realize that Werth will be gone after 2010. They got there “hometown discount” last year when Scott Boras allowed the Phils to buy out Jayson’s first free agency year with a two-year contract for ’09 and ’10. The Phils, according to David Montgomery, are already “in the red” and will need to lower payroll next year. I expect to see either Ben Francisco or Domonic Brown as the 2011 opening day starter in rightfield, and the Phils getting a 1st rounder and a sandwich pick in the 2011 draft as compensation for losing Werth to free agency.

  24. Chuck

    December 31, 2009 at 9:58 am

    The Mets are going to pay Jason Bay 16.5 milliion per year..

    So let me ask all of you a question….Should the Phillies pay Jayson Werth that kind of money?…cause that’s probably gonna be about what he will command on the open market…

    Personally…and I’m a HUGE Werth fan….I don’t think they should…but I don’t know what a reasonable number is…and will Werth agree to a “home town discount??

  25. Joepa

    December 31, 2009 at 10:16 am

    Chuck, I think I’d like to see the Phillies sign Werth – even if it costs 16.5 million. But if signing Werth means we have no chance of signing Howard, then I’m not so sure. Don’t you think the Phillies are thinking they’ll need to pay top dollar for Werth or Howard, but they can’t afford both?

  26. Geoff

    December 31, 2009 at 10:37 am

    First, can you guys please put the last 4 comment window back up on the side of the front page? That was so clutch.

    Now, with Bay getting all that money theyd better start preparing to waive goodbye to Jayson Werth and have a good plan for a RH 5th hitter because Werth is they key to protecting Howard. They know that though.

    Piniero would be a nice signing, but not at these prices. Thats the kind of guy who approach with a 2-3 year offer at 6 million a pop. But he figures to get something more along the lines of a beefed up form of Eaton’s contract – which is crazy. Theyll let the dust settle a bit before they get another starter…

  27. Chuck

    December 31, 2009 at 11:05 am

    Joepa…

    See…to me….Werth is MORE valuable than Howard…if you only could have one….

    Without Werth protecting Howard in the lineup…Ryan Howard isn’t NEARLY as powerful a weapon…

    _____

    Yes…PLEASE….put the “last 4 comments” section back….THANK YOU!!

  28. The Dipsy

    December 31, 2009 at 11:06 am

    Geoff – I wouldn’t be so sure that the Phils won’t keep Werth and let Howard go. Howard will arguably soak up $10m a year more in payroll than Werth and I, for one, don’t think that Howard is $10m better than Werth. As absolutely out of the box as this sounds, I think that if the Phils could find ANY takers on Ibanez, that he’s a guy they could do without. Of course, I wish that would have happened before the Lee thing to free the money, but…. Methinks that Ibanez is just too old and too pricey for a team to be interested in him (or is he?) other than a contending team with a gaping hole in LF or an AL team to DH him.

    The Dipsy

  29. psujoe

    December 31, 2009 at 11:36 am

    Dipsy,

    Saunders would’ve been a inexpensive, young replacement for Ibanez in LF, but I’m not so sure the Phillies really could’ve gotten much for Ibanez. I’d love an outfield of Saunders, Werth and Brown in 2011, but would be down with Brown, Gillies and Werth. The thing that perplexes me is we know Saunders can hit Major league pitching(.279 away from SAFECO), but Gillies is a crap shoot.

  30. T Mac

    December 31, 2009 at 11:47 am

    I’ve been saying since the season ended that the best trade for the Phillies to make would be to trade Ibanez at the height of his value. There’s no way we will get 2 more great seasons out of him, and this team needs to get younger. So I’m with Dipsy on this. Of course, I was calling for Ibanez to be traded for a young 3B, but that isn’t going to happen anymore.
    As much as I liked the original deal for Lee, and the deal for Halladay (factoring in the extension for 3 years), I think Amaro has made a lot of really poor signings. Moyer never should have been signed to a second year. Ibanez never should have been signed to a third year. Polanco didn’t deserve more than 2 years. We have a dangerous model of relying too much on over 30 talent the next 3-4 years – where is the cheap young talent going to come in to help balance out the payroll?

  31. psujoe

    December 31, 2009 at 11:52 am

    TMac,

    I like the idea of a young 3b with some power. Polanco is a good fit for a year or 2, but when Werth and Howard possibly go there will be a hug power vacuum. Kouz strikes out a lot, but he’d be a good fit in a couple of years when the Phils hit the power vacuum.

  32. Tyler

    December 31, 2009 at 11:52 am

    Idk who mentioned it, but I like the idea of a 3/40 offer to werth because the only way we’ll keep him is if we do get a hometown discount, and that’s not an unreasonable discount either. It’s still a ton of money. Also, for vic, I think we should offer him somewhere in the range of 3/25-30 and see if he accepts. This too would be a hometown discount, but again, not unreasonable.

    Thoughts? Counter opinions?

  33. Don M

    December 31, 2009 at 11:55 am

    no team is going to trade anyone really good Ibanez.. MAYBE at the trade deadline if a team needs a LH bat, and a Designated hitter

    but without having to eat some of his contract, he’s going to be tough to trade

    Also, we’re much much much better WITH him than without him, he’s arguably the best 6 or 7 hitter in baseball .. and can slot 3-4-5 too if anyone were to get injured. Until Domonic Brown is ready, we need all 3 guys that currently play the OF for us

  34. Don M

    December 31, 2009 at 11:59 am

    Vic isn’t worth $10 M per season

    Give him something like a 4 year $25 M offer … speedy OF’s don’t get the big bucks

    Werth will take his big contract from whoever offers it.. he’s older now and due to injury and age, will get his only shot at a big contract

    if its a difference of a few Million, maybe he’d stay here

    but say the RedSox offer him 5 years, $60
    He wont stay here for 4 year, $45

  35. Chuck

    December 31, 2009 at 12:08 pm

    I agree with Dipsy…”I don’t think Howard is $10 million better than Werth.”

    Without Werth, Howard’s production goes down..

    If Jason Bay is getting $66million for 4 years…I would think Werth would command more than $11-12 million per year??

    And the Phillies aren’t gonna pay that.

    So get used to the names of Gillies and Brown…

  36. WFC010

    December 31, 2009 at 12:39 pm

    Honestly, I feel that Werth is more crucial to the team than Shane. The biggest strength of Vic is how damn fast he is, but he’s probably going to be slowing down a bit fairly soon, and Werth is just a more well rounded guy, and a proven right handed power hitter.

  37. Tyler

    December 31, 2009 at 12:54 pm

    I wouldn’t mind bringing werth back at 4-5/55-67 & see if he takes that cuz he’s got so many tools I don’t see a huge decline in his numbers coming anytime soon.

  38. Chuck

    December 31, 2009 at 1:25 pm

    That’s about 13.5 million per year….4-5/55-67…

    If Jason Bay can get 16.5 million a year….I don’t see Werth signing for LESS than 15 million per year to stay here….and it’s gonna have to be AT LEAST 4 years…

    I don’t know…do the Phillies do that?

    If he has the year he had last year…and the Phillies don’t lock him up BEFORE the end of the year…he’s gone…cause his price tag goes WAY up at that point.

  39. joedad

    December 31, 2009 at 2:42 pm

    Let’s not underestimate Howard or overestimate Werth. Howard put up Hall of Fame numbers regardless of who hit (Burrell, Rowand, Delucci, Werth) behind him. However, I’d like to see Werth stick around. He will be 31 when he becomes a FA so he might look for a 4 or 5 year deal. Depending on his output this season, he may get that at $15+ million per.

    Everyone seems to be convinced Howard will leave. I am not certain of that. The Yankees and Red Sox are set at 1st base and no team would pay $25 million per year for a DH. Of course there are plenty of teams out there who would love to have Howard but the Phillies would too.

  40. Chuck

    December 31, 2009 at 3:14 pm

    Howard WAS better…because of the protection of Werth behind him…but you’re right…he’s a threat regardless.

    However…the Phillies aren’t gonna pay him 25 million per year….and I don’t blame them nor do I want them to.

  41. j reed

    December 31, 2009 at 9:37 pm

    I am not sure how agents and the market evaluate players but isn’t 1 full year a bit of a small sample to truly evaluate Werth. Bay has put up relatively good numbers over 5 years.

  42. derekcarstairs

    December 31, 2009 at 10:01 pm

    We must sign Werth to a four- or five-year extension. He’s our best athlete; he’s our only right-handed power threat; and he’d only be 35 or 36 at the end of the contract.

    Brown will be able to replace Ibanez in 2012. Brown will be making a minimum salary for three years. That means that, even with a big contract for Werth, the combined salaries of our corner outfielders from 2012 to 2014 should not be much different than the combined salaries of our corner outfielders right now.

    To keep their payroll at a reasonable level, the Phillies should bring up more players from their farm system. In 2010, they should fill a couple of bullpen slots with some combination of Bastardo, Escalona and Mathieson. In 2012, with Gillies and Gose as replacements, they probably can allow Victorino to walk.

  43. Brian Sr. of CO

    January 2, 2010 at 6:27 pm

    I agree with George, this Bay signing has NOTHING to do with Werth’s contract and not being able to sign him after 2010. The Phillies wont be able to sign him because David Montgomery is convinced the Phillies are in the Red. I personally would love to see Werth stay around, and also find it VERY hard to believe that the Phillies are “in the red” seeing how they sold out EVERY SIBGLE home game in 09, and a majority in 08. I find it hard to believe the Phillies are in the red after the last few seasons of success and driving up the cost of everything in and around CBP.

  44. mike mike

    January 3, 2010 at 6:45 pm

    Victorino is asking in the neighborhood of ten million, and if holiday get that 8 year 160 million dollar deal, vic might get 8 or 9 from some crazy team never know

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