Originally posted on NorthWest Sports Beat  |  Last updated 11/16/12
Free Agency Released by the NY Mets, where will Jason Bay play next season? With the New York Mets front office coming to terms with Jason Bay last week as to a buyout that will pay Bay the guaranteed remainder of his $66 million contract ($21 million this year), Bay must now find himself a new zip code, or even a postal code for that matter, if he wants to play next season. Not keen on retiring, Bay needs to find a home where he can once again establish himself as a valued product on the field.  After playing for the San Diego Padres, Pittsburgh Pirates, Boston Red Sox and New York Mets, at 34 years old, Bay may have one final stop left in his career before he heads into retirement.  Spending the majority of his career in the National League, chances are Bay will close out his time in the MLB in the American League. Here are some options Bay is likely considering. Seattle Mariners Considering the proximity to his hometown, playing for the M’s would be a homecoming of sorts for Bay, who lives in the Emerald City during the offseason  The benefit to the Mariners is that it would pretty much be a financial risk free venture, considering that Bay is already receiving money from the Mets. Where will Jason Bay, once one of the top players in Major League Baseball, end up this next season? With a need for offense, Bay, should he close out his career playing close to the level that he did in Boston, would give the M’s an experienced starter in the outfield, or someone who could step in as a productive DH and a right handed hitter off the bench.  While he would be playing in the Northwest and close to both hometowns, he wouldn’t be under the pressures of living up to a big contract in a big city. Toronto Blue Jays The Blue Jays are on the verge of turning the corner to become a playoff contending team.  Does Bay help this cause?  Possibly.  Would he help with all of the off field activities?  Certainly. Bringing Bay to Toronto would be a win-win situation as he would be a Canadian player on a Canadian team (kind of like having Steve Nash on the Raptors).  With a vacancy in left field, Bay can bring a veteran presence to a team ready to make the next step.  As with the M’s, Bay could also take over the DH spot, which would cater well to the 34 year old, as it would eliminate some of the potential risk of injury / wear and tear. Tampa Bay Rays While he once was a much sought after commodity in 2006, a trade gone wayward halted Bay’s opportunity to play in Florida.  As with the above two squads, the Rays have a hole in left field and as the designated hitter.  The Rays could also use an experienced right handed hitter in their lineup and a steady glove in the field. Cleveland Indians After playing for Terry Francona in Boston for a season and a half, Bay can join his former bench boss in Cleveland.  With a shortage of right handed batters in their lineup, the Indians can offer Bay a spot in the rotation. While his best batting days came in Wrigley Field, the measurements in Progressive Field are not far off those of which that house the Green Monster.  For the Tribe to offer Bay a one year contract with incentives, it would be a low risk deal for the club and an opportunity for Bay to show his value with free agency coming up next season. Boston Red Sox Why not return to the place where you had the most success? Although chances are at this stage in his career he wouldn’t be able to match his stats of 2008-2009, the Red Sox are in such a state of flux and horror that bringing back a success story would not hurt the club.  While the club needs to retool and rebuild for the future, bringing in Bay as a band-aid is not a bad idea for the front office to at least explore. Odds are unlikely that Bay will return to his All Star status that he once obtained. However, he has been around the block and knows how to play the game.  If one of the above teams inks his name to a short term contract, he would be a quality player to bring in as a mentor for future prospects and a veteran voice in the clubhouse.
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