Mets won't eat Jason Bay's contract

Updated: August 8, 2012, 9:42 AM ET
By Andrew Marchand | ESPNNewYork.com

NEW YORK -- On the day the Mets announced that left fielder Jason Bay will become a platoon player, general manager Sandy Alderson said the Mets have no plans to swallow the final guaranteed season of his four-year, $66 million contract.

"Certainly, there are times when it is appropriate to eat a contract," Alderson told ESPN New York "There are other times when it is not. Jason Bay is not going anywhere, nor is his contract."

Bay will not be going out to the field as often. Alderson said the right-handed hitting Bay will predominately play against left-handed pitching the rest of the way. Manager Terry Collins later confirmed that Bay will be sitting against most righties as the left-handed hitting Jordany Valdespin and Mike Baxter will receive more playing time.

"If I had a better leg to stand on, I could say something," Bay said after going 1-for-4 in Tuesday night's 4-2 loss to the Marlins at Citi Field. "But, as of right, now, I don't. I don't want to be a distraction. I want to go out there and help out anyway I can. That is kind of the position that I'm in."

Bay, who turns 34, is due to make $16 million next season. If he were to have 600 at-bats in 2013, his contract calls for $17 million in 2014. The most at-bats Bay has had in a season as a Met is 444 last year. If Bay doesn't return in 2014, the Mets would owe him a $3 million buyout so, essentially, there is $19 million that the Mets would have to swallow if they didn't bring back Bay next season.

Entering Tuesday's game, in which he was due to start against lefty Wade LeBlanc, Bay was hitting .154 with five homers and 11 RBIs in 130 at-bats. This season he has suffered a concussion and a fractured rib, which have limited him to 40 games.

"He is just has not been able to get on the field except for a few games at a time because of the injuries," Alderson said. "It has shown up in his performance. It really has been a hard luck story since he arrived here with a number of injuries that have caused him to be on the field and off the field on an intermittent basis. So hopefully, we can keep him healthy and have him play over a more prolong period, maybe primarily against left-handed pitching and let's see if we can get him going."

Bay
Bay

Like he does with all decisions, Alderson left open the possibility that he could change his mind about keeping Bay for next season.

"That is our position now, nothing is 100 percent certainty in baseball," Alderson said. "You know that."

For the rest of this year, though, the Mets are set on Bay being a platoon player. Collins, who has been one of Bay's bigger supporters, planned on explaining it to him.

"We are going to, depending on who is on the mound, make some adjustments out there," Collins said. "We have to get our left-handed bats in the lineup."

Those guys have given us some good opportunities to win some games. I want to make sure they get out there. It will depend on matchups.

"Jason is going to get plenty of at-bats to get it going," Collins added.

Mets co-owner Jeff Wilpon, in attendance for the unveiling of the 2013 All-Star logo, declined to answer questions about the team's future payroll.

Andrew Marchand is a senior writer for ESPNNewYork. He also regularly contributes to SportsCenter, Baseball Tonight, ESPNews, ESPN New York 98.7 FM and ESPN Radio. He joined ESPN in 2007 after nine years at the New York Post. Follow Andrew on Twitter »

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