Increasingly, it has become fashionable to ask the question, in columns and on Twitter, “How long can the Mets go on playing Jason Bay on a regular basis?”
The answer, of course, is: for the rest of the 2011 season, at least.
As usual, the question is usually framed in a binary fashion: Bay, or no Bay? From that perspective, the answer seems easy. Bay has been just awful this year, with a .632 OPS in 307 plate appearances. That would be terrible at any position, but particularly while playing mediocre-at-best defense in left field, it is utterly terrible.
So the visceral relief at not having to watch Jason Bay make outs, while angrily contemplating the huge amount of money owed to Bay through the end of 2013, seems to make the decision an easy one. Put Bay on an ice floe and be done with it. Case closed, right?
Well, no. The Mets cannot simply fail to field a left fielder. And if the focus is on 2012 and beyond, Bay is by far the best choice to be playing left field regularly for the Mets from here on out.
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