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Sunday, January 12, 2014

Jason Bay’s up-and-down career comes to an end

Voices hum, crooning over Jason Bay…

Jason Bay’s rapid ascent to stardom in the big-leagues was matched by an equally rapid decline that has him all but officially retired, a sad end to one of the top baseball careers ever enjoyed by a Canadian.

“I haven’t filed papers or anything yet, but I don’t really see a scenario where I would play this year or beyond, really,” the 35-year-old from Trail, B.C., told sportsnet.ca Saturday. “I had some offers, and an offer to play in Japan, actually, which could be fun for a life experience. I talked to Kevin Youkilis who’s doing it, but taking the whole family over there defeats the purpose of being at home and doing the family thing.

“The writing has been on the wall, I just haven’t made it official, per se. This is probably the end of the road.”

Bay, a three-time all-star and the 2004 National League Rookie of the Year, finishes his career with 222 home runs, third among Canadians all-time behind Larry Walker (383) and Matt Stairs (265). Justin Morneau is one back of Bay and will presumably move past his friend next season, but that won’t diminish his standing among Canucks.

Repoz Posted: January 12, 2014 at 03:48 PM | 30 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: history

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   1. Steve Parris, Je t'aime Posted: January 12, 2014 at 04:02 PM (#4637066)
The only scary hitter on some truly scary Pirates teams. And then that very good year in Boston. He sure Alomar'd in New York.
   2. Davo's Favorite Tacos Are Moose Tacos Posted: January 12, 2014 at 04:10 PM (#4637075)
Jason Bay was traded by three separate teams before winning the Rookie of the Year Award with the Pirates in 2004. He and Lou Piniella are the only players to be traded that many times before winning a ROY award.
   3. Davo's Favorite Tacos Are Moose Tacos Posted: January 12, 2014 at 04:14 PM (#4637078)
Bay retires having produced these awesome splits during the 2013 season:

In 95 plate appearances with runners on base: .157/.245/.181, 0 homers, 9 RBI.
In 141 plate appearances with the bases empty: 236/.333/.565, 11 homers, 11 RBI.
   4. BDC Posted: January 12, 2014 at 04:22 PM (#4637089)
Outfielders with similar careers to Jason Bay's:

Player              Rfield   PA OPSWAR/pos CS      Pos
Jesse Barfield         161 5394  117    39.2 47  
*9H/8D7
Lenny Dykstra           45 5282  120    42.2 72    
*8H/7
Curtis Granderson       30 5044  117    35.1 34  
*8/H7D9
John Stone              24 5008  116    25.1 40    798
/H
Mike Greenwell          18 5166  121    25.6 43 
*7/HD982
Jim Northrup            16 5215  116    21.9 38 
*987H/3D
Irish Meusel            
-8 5309  118    21.6 53 *79/H843
Hank Sauer             
-14 5412  123    26.1  4   *79H/3
Hideki Matsui          
-29 5066  118    21.1  9   7D/8H9
Jason Bay              
-30 5258  121    24.3 17  *7/8H9D
Patsy Dougherty        
-39 5109  117       17.7     *7/


That's an eclectic group. Guys that good often have longer careers, but not always. Greenwell, Barfield, and John Stone (a 20s-30s AL player I'd never heard of) had basically similar careers to Bay's: very good for a while and then not any good much past age 30. This is a pretty common pattern, historically.

Northrup and Sauer, by contrast, took a while to get going; Sauer's career was interrupted by WW2, but only briefly; he was still in the minors at the age of 26, in 1943. Matsui had a long career, but much of it in Japan; Dykstra might have had a longer career, but was an idiot. Irish Meusel had a substantially longer career, with the start and finish of it in the PCL (he was from California). Granderson is still hoping for a much longer one …
   5. Ray (RDP) Posted: January 12, 2014 at 04:37 PM (#4637112)
Good and rewarding career. Rookie of the year, multiple-time All Star, a really good player in a few years, made $65 million.

Yeah he burned out quickly which as you note is not unusual, but I'm surprised looking at b-r that his lows weren't as low as I'd thought. Park effects mask some of this but basically he was a 95 OPS+ hitter in his bad years, which, yes, sucks for an OF but somehow it's not as bad as I'd figured. He does have the one year at a 48 OPS+. (Granted there was also a lot of missed time.)

Looking back, was 2007 a warning sign? I would say yes if he'd only mustered one good year after that, but he had two, so I guess not.
   6. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: January 12, 2014 at 04:58 PM (#4637143)
#1, Yeah he was really productive in Boston. Not sure they really considered signing him for anywhere what the Mets offered. Good decision by them at the time. Similar to the Beltre situation, who had a great year in Boston also. Unfortunately they didn't sign him long term.
eh, win some, lose some.

Funny that he crashed and burned so quickly. Maybe I'm misremembering, but wasn't he always touted as one of those overall amazing athletes who was just incredible at everything? Always showed some good speed also. You'd think a guy like that would have a slower decline.
As mentioned, he went to NY and just Alomared there, or maybe a more apt comparison for the swoon would be Dale Murphy. Though Murphy reached much greater heights.
   7. PreservedFish Posted: January 12, 2014 at 05:54 PM (#4637183)
Maybe I'm misremembering, but wasn't he always touted as one of those overall amazing athletes who was just incredible at everything?


No, I don't think so. Unless you're talking about his abilities in golf and ping-pong or something. When the Mets signed him the talk on this site was mostly about what an awful fielder he was likely to become by the end of the contract.
   8. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: January 12, 2014 at 05:55 PM (#4637184)
hugh

good speed?

you are being fooled by the stats. bay got to the league with average speed and was a smart baserunner so his steals totals are good. but he was a subpar outfielder in part because he didn't have the makeup speed to compensate for his poor breaks on the ball.

by age 29/30 he was slow
   9. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: January 12, 2014 at 06:13 PM (#4637199)
Funny that he crashed and burned so quickly.


At the time when the Pirates traded him to the Red Sox, he had serious and chronic hip and shoulder issues. They had wrecked his 2007, and while he was able to gut out a couple more star-level years, the writing on the wall was pretty clear.

I enjoyed watching him play, and I hope retirement treats him well.
   10. Rennie's Tenet Posted: January 12, 2014 at 06:23 PM (#4637209)
I think he was a bit better on defense than the stats might show. With the Pirates, he inhabited a huge left field on a team with a bunch of lefty pitchers who seldom struck anyone out. You can see how that would end up with an unusual number of balls plunking in his direction.
   11. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: January 12, 2014 at 06:57 PM (#4637238)
rennie

no he wasn't. he gave good effort but he had a poor first step and his arm was average and after the injury got worse

again, he was a smart player so he still contributed as evidenced by his assist totals. guys would challenge him and every so often, because he did hustle and had a good release, he would make a runner pay
   12. crict Posted: January 12, 2014 at 07:02 PM (#4637246)
Involved in two of Omar minaya's biggest mistakes. When signed by the Mets, but also traded away as a prospect by the Expos for Lou Collier.
   13. Lassus Posted: January 12, 2014 at 07:05 PM (#4637252)
Jason Bay always played hard, always ran hard to first no matter how crappy he was hitting or how loudly he was booed, always ran hard and played smart in the outfield, and was a good teammate and a good Met. There are many, many, many Mets I've been sorry were on the team, and Bay was never one of them.

Have a good post-baseball life, Jason.
   14. zonk Posted: January 12, 2014 at 07:20 PM (#4637263)
you are being fooled by the stats. bay got to the league with average speed and was a smart baserunner so his steals totals are good. but he was a subpar outfielder in part because he didn't have the makeup speed to compensate for his poor breaks on the ball.


He had really good minor league SB numbers -- he stole 40 in his breakout minor league season, I think.

I remember thinking at the time how similar/oddly symmetrical the Bay/Giles trade (I know Ollie Perez was involved, too) was --

Both Giles and Bay got relatively late starts in the majors for guys who were stars and both were very good rotisserie OFs -- you can beat 20/20 guys who also hit ~.280-.300ish for straight rotisserie.

I know that sells Giles awfully short - but that's mainly because Bay fell off a cliff quicker.

At the time, the trade seemed basically like Giles was being traded for a younger version of himself.
   15. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: January 12, 2014 at 07:23 PM (#4637266)
zonk

as I wrote, bay was a very intelligent player

and lassus, I don't want my stuff to be interpreted as me not appreciating bay. just trying to provide some clarity on the player

he compensated for physical deficiencies via hustle and smarts

that is a valuable player
   16. jingoist Posted: January 12, 2014 at 07:34 PM (#4637281)
"eh, win some, lose some".

"Win some, lose some".
You're a hell of a trial lawyer Mr. Gambino!


I do find it amazing that a player of good, not great, ball-playing talent can command $65M in a 15 year career.

Mays and Aaron must reminisce from time to time that they were born 40 or 50 years too early.
   17. BDC Posted: January 12, 2014 at 07:45 PM (#4637297)
I do find it amazing that a player of good, not great, ball-playing talent can command $65M in a 15 year career. Mays and Aaron must reminisce from time to time that they were born 40 or 50 years too early

At least they still get to be Mays and Aaron. By contrast Mike Greenwell made about $20M, Jesse Barfield about $10M. Not peanuts, but dang, right now players must be kicking themselves for not being born 15 or 20 years later :)

   18. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: January 12, 2014 at 09:23 PM (#4637434)

One thing that may have contributed to Bay's rapid decline was two concussions he suffered with the Mets. He missed the last two months of 2010 after his first concussion (running in the wall at Dodgers Stadium) and suffered another concussion running into the wall at Citi Field in 2012. While he came back relatively quickly from the second one, he hit pretty terribly for the rest of the season and all of 2013.

It's certainly true that he already appeared to be on the downswing before the 2010 concussion, and other injuries also took their toll, but it is something worth noting when people wonder how he declined so quickly.
   19. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: January 12, 2014 at 09:33 PM (#4637448)

I do find it amazing that a player of good, not great, ball-playing talent can command $65M in a 15 year career.

It's a lot of money, but guys who peak early will always look overpaid in retrospect. Go look at how much Vernon Wells has made in his career.
   20. Lassus Posted: January 12, 2014 at 09:44 PM (#4637457)
and lassus, I don't want my stuff to be interpreted as me not appreciating bay. just trying to provide some clarity on the player

Oh, not at all. My statement was standalone, not a reply to anyone.
   21. Ray (RDP) Posted: January 12, 2014 at 11:30 PM (#4637518)
Which players have the most career earnings for the fewest career WAR?

   22. JJ1986 Posted: January 12, 2014 at 11:32 PM (#4637520)
Which players have the most career earnings for the fewest career WAR?


Probably Darren Dreifort.
   23. GregD Posted: January 12, 2014 at 11:53 PM (#4637523)
I think these are the guys with $100 million in career earnings with <30 WAR
Mo Vaughn
Alfonso Soriano
Carlos Lee
Paul Konerko
Mike Hampton
Paul Konerko
A J Burnett


Mike Hampton at 20.8 WAR for $124 million is probably the winner on this list.

For 90-100 mill careeer I would go with Adam Dunn: $97 mill/16.5 but that counts his 2014 salary

For 80-90 mill, probably Chan Ho Park at $85 mill/18 WAR

But if you go with lower cutoffs, Dreifort $63 million/6 WAR is pretty impressive!

   24. Ray (RDP) Posted: January 13, 2014 at 12:05 AM (#4637531)
Vernon Wells has made 110 million for 29 WAR.
   25. Ray (RDP) Posted: January 13, 2014 at 12:06 AM (#4637532)
On the flip side the Angels have paid Trout, what, less than a million for 20 WAR?
   26. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: January 13, 2014 at 12:06 AM (#4637533)
I think he was a bit better on defense than the stats might show. With the Pirates, he inhabited a huge left field on a team with a bunch of lefty pitchers who seldom struck anyone out. You can see how that would end up with an unusual number of balls plunking in his direction.


He was better at moving laterally than he was at coming in on balls, and after the first time he hurt the shoulder his throwing arm was always very weak (though fairly accurate). He did get to be pretty good about pulling HR balls back over the short LF wall at PNC Park - led the league in that a couple of times, IIRC.

As Harv notes, he had decent but not exceptional speed. He was just one of those guys like Kevin McReynolds who always did a really good job of watching the pitcher and picking his spots to try and steal.

He was one of the few fun players on a lot of Pirates teams that weren't much fun to watch at all, and I'll always be grateful to him for that.
   27. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: January 13, 2014 at 12:15 AM (#4637535)
At the time, the trade seemed basically like Giles was being traded for a younger version of himself.


The funny part is that Littlefield didn't really like Bay all that much - he tried and tried to get Nady in that deal, but the Padres wouldn't budge, so he settled for the guy he saw as second-best.

Similarly, they only drafted McCutchen because Maybin got picked right in front of them. And they only were able to trade for Freddy Sanchez (and get back Mike Gonzalez) because Brandon Lyon failed his physical but Sauerbeck had already pitched for Boston, so the deal couldn't be called off. So the three best moves of the Littlefield era were all accidents, to one degree or another.
   28. Walt Davis Posted: January 13, 2014 at 01:55 AM (#4637552)
On the flip side the Angels have paid Trout, what, less than a million for 20 WAR?

His $/WAR is likely to increase a tad in a year or two. :-)

Vernon Wells has made 110 million for 29 WAR.

See, one of the supposed huge busts and, for his career, less than $4M per WAR.

Be careful of salary number on b-r, they often don't include signing bonuses.

In a case of perfect timing, the Phils got about 16 WAR for $12.5 M from Werth (a guy they didn't develop and picked up for nothing) then let him go and the Nats will be rather lucky to end up with 16 WAR for $126 M.
   29. Rennie's Tenet Posted: January 13, 2014 at 09:46 AM (#4637602)
So the three best moves of the Littlefield era were all accidents, to one degree or another.


The story of the Pirate losing streak is a book just crying to be written. It could maybe be marketed as a "how not to" management book.
   30. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: January 13, 2014 at 11:31 AM (#4637661)

See, one of the supposed huge busts and, for his career, less than $4M per WAR.

Be careful of salary number on b-r, they often don't include signing bonuses.


They also don't include future salaries. Wells is going to make another $21 million this year, so add close to another $1 million per WAR.

The real issue with Wells, of course, is that he produced 21.8 WAR *before* signing his 7 year, $126 million contract. He's produced 6.9 WAR since then.

The Bay contract was bad for the Mets but at least it wasn't 7 years long.

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