Are there positives to signing Bay?
Despite a flurry of rumors, the Seattle Mariners had a quiet close to the winter meetings. The one big deal seemed to be the signing of Jason Bay to a 1 year deal.
After a disappointing three seasons with the New York Mets, what should the M’s be expecting from Bay heading into 2013?
Possible power potential
If the Mariners are hoping for any offensive boost from Bay it’s going to be through power.
From 2004-2009, Bay hit 181 home runs while accumulating 596 RBI. In four of those six seasons Bay had 30 or more home runs—his career high was 36 in 2009. He’s also topped 35 doubles twice in his career with a career high of 44.
But after moving to the Mets—and Citi Field—Bay’s power was devoured by the pitcher-centric ballpark. In 2011—Bay’s healthiest season in New York—the right-hander hit just 12 home runs in 123 games.
Bay’s power numbers in Seattle will come down to two things: health and the dimensions of Safeco Field.
Low-average batting average
Bay has a career .363 OBP and has averaged a 12.1% walk rate.
Batting average has been an inconsistent number in Bay’s career, and it should be expected that he’ll have a low one for Seattle.
Bay has hit over .300 once in his career. He has hit over .280 three times in his career, but has a high of .267 over his last four seasons.
In his .300 year, Bay had a BABIP of .350—so luck obviously played a hand. He actually has a somewhat high career BABIP of .317, but that’s still only been good for a career average of .269. Even with some good luck, Bay should be expected to hit around .250-.260 for Seattle.
The one offensive element that has been fairly consistent in Bay’s career is his patience.
Bay has a career .363 OBP and has averaged a 12.1 percent walk rate in his career. He has topped a 12 percent walk rate five separate times in his career.
Even with a low average, Bay should be expected to get on base at a .350-.370 clip.
Since 2010, Bay has averaged just 96 games per season. His three year high was 123 games in 2010.
Bay’s time in New York was mired in injuries. He suffered a concussion in 2010 and played in less than 100 games. A broken rib limited him in 2011, and another broken rib would hold Bay to 70 games in 2012.
He’s certainly not going to play in 160 games in 2012.
Another consistent element in Bay’s career has been terrible defense.
Bay has played the majority of his career in left field. His career UZR sits at a horrific minus-63.5. He’s posted positive numbers just three times in his career, while also finding himself in double-digit negatives three times.
Sabermetrics not your thing? Well, Bay has a career fielding percentage of .988. No matter how you look at it, he’s not going to be winning any golden gloves.
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