"We have to get Jason Bay going" has quickly become a phrase that will go down in New York Mets infamy, alongside "We want to be playing meaningful games in September," "Art Howe lights up a room" and "I'll show you the Bronx." By all accounts Bay is a nice guy (he is Canadian after all), a good teammate and a good person, so we're not here to disparage him as a person, and his effort can't be questioned -- he's concussed himself crashing into a wall more than once, for Pete's sake -- but the results and productivity during his Met tenure have been a disaster.
He has one more year left on his albatross of a contract, so the question is, what will the Mets do with him? For now, Terry Collins may platoon him, though he hits lefties worse than righties this season (.140 vs. .167). Will the team cut ties with him in some way this winter? Or live with him for another year? Another question that comes to mind these days: Is he the biggest bust in Mets history? Here's a look at a few of Bay's predecessors:
Jim Fregosi: He famously came to the Mets from the Angels in the Nolan Ryan trade in the hopes that he would solve the team's third-base issues. Fregosi was a six-time All-Star with the Angels but never came close to that form with the Mets. In two partial seasons (1972 and '73), he put up a .233/.319/.328 line for a .646 OPS and 85 OPS+. He was 30 years old when he came to Queens, and got off to a bad start when he broke his thumb in spring training. That was the beginning of the end right there.
George Foster: An MVP and home run champion with the Cincinnati Reds, Foster was a shadow of his former self with the Mets, playing for them from 1982 into the '86 season. His line: .252/.307/.422 for a .728 OPS and 103 OPS+. Foster was 33 when he joined the Mets, and did have three 20-plus home run seasons and drove in 90 runs once, but his ending with the Mets did not go smoothly, as he accused the team of racism when he was let go.
Bobby Bonilla: He had a beef with the fans, resulting in his wearing earplugs to the plate, and a beef with the media, but he wasn't a complete washout for the Mets on the field, though he didn't produce the way did in Pittsburgh. From 1992 (when he was 29 years old) to '95, with a return in '99, his numbers were .270/.356/.495 for an .851 OPS and 128 OPS+. Not a disaster but not worth the money they are still paying him.
Mo Vaughn: In one full season (2002, when he was an old 34) and one partial one (2003, when he was a really old 35), Vaughn had a .784 OPS and 108 OPS+, with a .249/.346/.438 line. He hit 26 home runs with 72 RBIs in '02, but he was not what the Mets were hoping for.
Roberto Alomar: His time with the Mets coincided with Vaughn, and he was worse than the burly first baseman: .265/.333/.370 for a .703 OPS and 88 OPS+. Like Vaughn, he was 34 when he began his Met career. His habit of bunting with a runner on second base and two outs epitomized his time with the Mets.
And now Jason Bay: .238/.324/.371 for a .695 OPS and 93 OPS+. He's hit a total of 23 home runs in 926 at-bats.
Is Bay the all-time worst? Is there a sabermetric stat for biggest bust in team history? His decline is sad and wholly unexpected, but maybe Boomer Esiason was talking about the wrong player when he opined that the new York Jets should cut Tim Tebow. Maybe he should have said the Mets should cut Jason Bay. The Met outfielder may be a nice guy, but he's coming in last, just about any way you look at it.