On a night when the New York Mets dropped the first of three games to the Miami Marlins, 4-2 at Citi Field, the attention was on Jason Bay. The all-star outfielder, with a four-year $66 million dollar contract, was regulated to a platoon player in left field. It was a decision that had been discussed with manager Terry Collins before the Mets returned home Sunday off a 6-5 road trip.
To say that Bay has been a disappointment may be an understatement. The last two years has seen Bay spend more time on the disabled list. His numbers have not reflected the player he was in Boston, prior to signing his deal with New York.
Perhaps, the signing of Bay can be seen as more of a bust than the lucrative signing of former Mets outfielder Mo Vaughn.
“This didn’t blindside me,” commented Bay after the Mets eighth straight loss at home. “I’ve had some time to digest this. I don’t want to be a distraction.” Bay is hitting .157 with five home runs and 11 RBI in 134 at bats.
Tuesday night, he started in left and went 1-for-4 and once again heard boos from the Citi Field crowd.
“I’m trying to be a realist with all that’s happened,” he said. “I’m not always the best option.” And Bay will not be the option in left. Collins plans to platoon him with Mike Baxter and Jordany Valdespin.
General Manager Sandy Alderson, who did not sign Bay, said the contract will not be dumped, and there is a possibility that a trade could be made in the off-season to offset some of the salary. Bay will need some playing time to appease some teams about his health and how valuable he can be.
That may be difficult to do, and if Bay stays, Alderson and the Mets could be stuck with a dilemma in dealing with one of the most expensive platoon or bench players in the game.
That will wait for another day as the Mets try to cope with finishing the season with a record over .500 and planning for next year. Bay may not be in that plan now that Baxter and Valdespin are going to get more playing time. And, Alderson, with limited payroll flexibility, could be looking for more options on the trade market during the off season.
Bay singled and scored one of the Mets runs Tuesday night, and Collins has always been in his corner.
“All he wants to do is help the club,” he said. So it is obvious this was a mutual decision that had been discussed, and with a third of the season remaining this was the right time to regulate Bay as a platoon player.
On the field, Daniel Murphy hit his first home run at Citi Field since July 16 of last year that got the Mets their two runs, and Ruben Tejada extended his career best hitting streak to 12-games with a single in the third.
The Marlins scored their runs off losing pitcher Jonathon Niese (8-6) in the fourth inning on five hits. In that inning, Jose Reyes extended his career best hitting streak to 25-games on an infield single that set the table.
Once again, the former Mets all-star who signed a lucrative deal with the Marlins in the off-season was booed by the home crowd on his return to New York.
“It is what it is,” said Reyes. “I’m good. They can do whatever they want here.”
But the story was about Bay who most likely will not get the start the next two games of the series as the Marlins will throw two right hand starters, Nathan Eovaldi and Josh Johnson.
METS UNVEIL ALL-STAR GAME LOGO: Before the game, at a press conference, Mets Chairman and CEO Fred Wilpon , CEO Jeff Wilpon and executives from Major League Baseball unveiled the official logo of the 2013 All-Star game that will be played at Citi Field on Tuesday July 16.
The logo is reflective of what has represented the Mets since their inception in 1962 shaped with a baseball of orange stitching and a bridge against the backdrop of the New York City skyline.
Fans at the ballpark can see the logo out in right center that is visible near the “Shea Bridge.”
e-mail Rich Mancuso: [email protected]