According to an article in Wednesday’s Plain Dealer, the Indians are seriously considering making an offer to Jason Bay, who was recently released from him contract with the New York Mets.
Bay would fill the Indians need for a right-handed bat and a corner outfielder (he’s primarily played left field throughout the course of his career). But is he worth the risk?
In 2012, Bay hit just .165 in 90 games and rode the bench for the majority of the second half as the Mets began their rebuilding process. He’s currently 34 years old and anyone looking to sign him has to consider the possibility that he simply doesn’t have the tools to be an everyday player anymore.
None of Bay’s stats from his time in New York are particularly encouraging, but the most concerning stat in my opinion is his .246 batting average against lefties. The primarily motivation behind signing Bay would be for his ability to provide the Indians a right-handed bat against lefties. But a .246 hitter is a .246 hitter no matter where he stands at the plate.
And while Bay’s disastrous 2012 campaign could certainly be an arbitration, his .246 average over a three-year span covers a fairly large sample size.
One could argue that Bay’s numbers were negatively influenced by the spacious Citi Field but, surprisingly, he fared better at home than on the road against left-handed pitching.
If we throw out Bay’s 2012 debacle, he hit .312 against lefties in Citi Field but just .255 on the road. Additionally, Bay managed just seven home runs against lefties in that span (four at home, three on the road).
So does Bay make sense for the Tribe?
I suppose it all depends on the money. If the front office is considering a Grady Sizemore-like deal (one year, $5 million), I’d call them crazy. But a one-year, incentive-laden deal may be a gamble the Indians need to make. It’s tough to convince a player with Bay’s reputation to come to Cleveland – even in the late stages of his career. If they have any reason to believe he can dramatically improve on his 2011 numbers he might be worth the risk.