Jason Bay has given the Mariners a very interesting “problem” to deal with. It’s the kind of problem the team will be happy to face, given the real problems they’ve had to deal with already this season.
You see, Bay looks to be pretty close to his old self numbers-wise, at least with some stats. He is currently hitting .249 with an on-base percentage of .355 and a .441 slugging mark for an OPS of .787. He’s also on-pace to hit 16 home runs in only 324 at-bats.
Now, some of you, naturally, have seen those numbers and written in to ask me why the Mariners don’t make Bay more of a full-time player. It’s not a bad question: especially when you consider that doubling his at-bats to a more full-time number would make him a 30-homer guy with the OBP you like to see.
Who wouldn’t take outfield numbers like those, right?
Again, though, we’re back to the old John Jaso quandry. Is the player putting up numbers because he’s really a great, underused player? Or is he putting them up because he’s been carefully handled in order to maximize his results?
Again, with Jaso, he put up a .276 average and .850 OPS in 294 at-bats with Seattle last season, prompting criticism by some fans and pundits that he should have played more. But given a 389-at-bat pace by the Oakland Athletics so far this season, Jaso is now a .248 hitter with a .658 OPS. In other words, it appears the Mariners handled Jaso just perfectly last season.
So, what to do with Bay? Well, it’s not that clear-cut an answer, namely because — unlike Jaso — Bay has been a highly successful full-time player before.More