Jason Bay For Chone Figgins–Do It Now

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In a trade of retrospective failures, the Mets and Mariners should exchange two disastrous contracts by trading Jason Bay for Chone Figgins.

Contrary to the narcissism of the armchair experts, neither contract could have been predicted to have turned out as badly as they have. Bay has been injured and unproductive. Figgins has been plain bad. At the time that they were signed, the contracts were heavy but no one—no one—could’ve predicted that Bay would fall off the earth and hit for no power while becoming injury-prone; nor could they have expected Figgins to become a hitter who can’t break the Mendoza Line (named for Mario Mendoza because of his terribleness at the plate).

Even if the Mets were desperate to sign a bat and overpaid for Bay when they were bidding against themselves, he’d been productive and a better than rumored outfielder who put up power numbers while playing in Pittsburgh’s big ballpark. He’d handled the pressure of Boston and navigated the Green Monster of Fenway. 20-25 homers wasn’t an outrageous demand and statistics/caveat emptor warnings against him are post-scripted, self-congratulatory and narcissistic.

Bay is being paid $16 million in 2012 and $16 million in 2013. He has a vesting option for 2014 at $17 million with a $3 million buyout. He has a no-trade clause, but presumably he’d waive it to get out of New York. I was never an advocate of simply releasing him. Some foolish, forum-infused (ESPN to be specific), non-experts have postulated that the Mets should’ve released him last season and signed Endy Chavez to replace him.

Great idea.

And by “great” I mean stupid.

But now, with another 3 months of injuries and ineptitude, it makes no sense to move forward with him if he’s not going to be part of the club when they turn the corner; when they have other players like Kirk Nieuwenhuis that need and deserve to play. Bay hasn’t been a Carl Pavano-type of signing where he didn’t want to play; one who appeared to choose the disabled list over being on the field and whose body language indicated someone who doesn’t care. Bay’s a good guy, has worked hard and hasn’t performed well as a Met.

Figgins is a player who appeared out of his comfort zone as a highly paid free agent and key to the Mariners’ resurgence. In the Angels’ structure, where he was able to blend into the background and Mike Scioscia was clearly in charge, he was fine. With the dysfunctional and disappointing Mariners and the jerking back and forth between second base, third base and the outfield and a powerless figurehead manager, Don Wakamatsu, he turned into a different person from what the Mariners thought they were getting.

It’s better in Seattle now with Eric Wedge, but Figgins’s die was cast.

Perhaps the take-no-crap Terry Collins and a new home will revert Figgins into something useful.

Figgins is making $9 million this season, $8 million in 2013 and has a vesting option for 2014 at $9 million. The Mets would have to eat some money in the deal, but they’re going to end up just letting Bay go anyway. It’s not out of the question that Figgins’s versatility and speed could be of use to the Mets where it’s not for the Mariners.

They haven’t worked in their current addresses and both are going to be dropped for nothing. Why not trade them for each other and see if the new venue helps?


6 thoughts on “Jason Bay For Chone Figgins–Do It Now

  1. This would be a smart move.

    I’m not completely sure, but I know that Bay was rumored to want to play in Seattle at some point anyway since its closer to his home in British Columbia. But that might be revisionist and I don’t want to go there.

    I do think that a change of address would be good for both of them.

    And, for what its worth, Figgins should have been a really good signing for the M’s because he seemed on the surface to be exactly what they need in their ballpark.

    As for Bay, you expected the contract to look bad in the last year because of his bat speed slowing down, but not for him to be a total bust. I’m with you, anyone saying that is full of it. Because everyone was pretty much jumping up and down at the signing when it came down because they wanted the Mets to ‘prove’ to their fan base that they were “serious” about winning.

    1. I was totally against paying big money for Figgins, but there was no indication that he’d hit about as terribly as I could.
      Bay was a good player with an All-Star history and MVP bonafides. The Mets paid for a good player. It hasn’t worked.

  2. “At the time that they were signed, the contracts were heavy but no one—no one—could’ve predicted that Bay would fall off the earth and hit for no power while becoming injury-prone…”

    No one? http://www.dugoutcentral.com/?p=262

    Jason Bay had injury issues with both knees prior to signing a free agent contract with the Mets. The Red Sox knew that and never really was serious about re-signing him. They made an initial cursory offer, then removed it.
    In adidtion, as Bay aged, his bat speed naturally slowed, and his hitting style became more pull happy, he was never going to hit well outside of Fenway Park in the later years of the deal.

    I was only off by two years.

    1. The knees weren’t the problem that the Red Sox implied. That was an excuse to get away with not re-signing a popular player who’d performed at an MVP-level for them. The Red Sox have a tendency to slam players on the way out the door to protect themselves from an inevitable backlash. They did it with Pedro Martinez, Jonathan Papelbon, Bay, Derek Lowe and others.
      You’re picking and choosing your facts because from that same article came the following sentence:
      He will perform well for the first two seasons, but with the large dimensions of Citi Field, his power numbers will drop. Then his production will decline as he gets into his age 33 and 34 seasons. He will actually be 35 late in his final season.
      As I said, no one could’ve expected this kind of crash and burn. He’d hit well as recently as the year before the Mets signed him and he wasn’t a product of Fenway Park because he hit more homers on the road in 2008 than he did at home. It was a signing that should’ve at least worked decently with 20-25 homers and hasn’t because of injuries and a snowball effect.
      He needs to get out of New York.

  3. This is a good trade proposal for both teams and players; the former to try to salvage something from their sunk costs, and the latter to try to resurrection something of their value before their contracts expire.

    But it doesn’t address what the Mets really need to focus on- a strong bat and bullpen arms to make them serious contenders for at least one of the wild card slots. Chone Figgins would be another supersub type that they already have with Baxter and Turner. It’s sad that what they are looking for is someone who resembles a pre-Mets Jason Bay.

    1. They do need a power bat, another starting pitcher and bullpen help but Bay wouldn’t provide any of that in a trade. It’s a dump/exchange of failed contracts and nothing more. I wouldn’t expect the Mets to do anything drastic in-season unless something notable falls into their laps. Their major improvements will come this winter when I expect Alderson and co. to be aggressive.

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