There have been whispers for much of the day that the Mariners might sign outfielder Jason Bay to a contract. Moments ago, I had a source confirm that the talks surround a major league deal and that the two sides were “close, but nothing final…yet.”
The Mariners first tried to land Bay three years ago at the baseball winter meetings in Indianapolis. At the time, Bay had been offered just a one-year deal to stay with Boston because of worries about his prior knee injury. The Mariners figured they could land him on a shorter-term deal, but that fell apart when the New York Mets came through with a four-year, $66 million contract.
Bay had a disastrous stint in New York, plagued by injury and a lack of production. The Mets let him out of his contract a year early, but are paying him the remaining $21 million owed on his deal. So, he’s a free agent.
Now, before you all go screaming to the heavens in frustration, this deal — if it goes through — is not going to be a substitute for one of those major deals the Mariners have been looking to make. Rather, the Mariners lost some big clubhouse presence this winter when Miguel Olivo and Kevin Millwood both left. Everyclubhouse needs a veteran, steadying presence –and sometimes a policeman — and the team saw that leave with Olivo.
Bay would be coming in here with hope that he could supply some of the higher-upside production he’s shown in the past and at a much lesser rate than the Mets paid. It would be a little like what Adam Kennedy did in 2011 (leadership wise) only with a better supporting cast around him.
And unlike Kennedy, who came in on a minor league invite and had to be added to the roster, Bay would be on the roster to begin.
“If it were to happen, it would be a major league deal,” my source said.