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"Frustrated" Bay prepared to walk away

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff  December 12, 2009 08:44 PM

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Agents speak a language all their own. But Joe Urbon made it pretty clear today that Jason Bay is ready to walk away from the Red Sox.

"It's pretty simple. We reject the Red Sox' latest offer for a number of reasons but primarily the valuation of the offer isn't where we think it should be, nor is it where other clubs have valued Jason in this marketplace. That's just led Jason to be more interested in the other
opportunities at this point, rather than with the Red Sox," Urbon told my colleague, Amalie Benjamin.

The sides have been working on a deal since spring training and have yet to reach common ground. The Sox made what was apparently a second offer in recent days and in Bay's eyes, it still wasn't good enough.

"It hasn't changed much," Urbon said. "We've been talking with them for 10 months. We've got to a point where based on the offers we've received from other clubs, we needed to make it clear where we stand, and they've made it clear where they stand. If they want to re-engage at some point in this process but we're not going to wait. We can't wait. We have to go at the pace of the other clubs. I'm sure the Red Sox will have other avenues that they will pursue or they are pursuing."

Scott Boras is doing a happy dance in Newport Beach tonight. If Bay will seek his fortune elsewhere, the Sox will have to at least entertain the notion of signing Matt Holliday.

"All we've done is rejected their last offer and not agreed with their current valuation. We're certainly not going to close the door on them," Urbon said. "If they close the door on us and move on to other players and other plans, whether that's a premium pitcher or premium third baseman, that might close the door."

Bay said often during last season that he wanted to stay in Boston. According to Urbon, that hasn't changed.

"Json has been true to his comments and true to himself from the day he arrived in Boston last July," he said. "This is a great place to play, a great city to play for, and this is a place that will most likely ensure for him to play for a World Series year in and year out. That has not changed. There's a point where you evaluate opportunities and when they're so dramatically different, at least initially, he's got to proceed with what makes the most sense for him and that's what we're doing."

Bay, 31, hit .267 last season and led the Red Sox with 36 home runs and 119 RBIs. He was second on the team with 103 runs scored and made the All-Star team for the third time in his career. He also was fourth in American League with 162 strikeouts.

The Sox obtained Bay from the Pirates on July 31, 2008 as part of the three-team, six-player deal that sent Manny Ramirez to the Dodgers.

Bay has hit .274 with a .380 on-base percentage and 45 home runs over 200 games for the Sox. Now, maybe, he's gone.

"Nothing in this process or this environment or when you're talking about the level of the player we're talking about and the team we're talking about surprises me," Urbon said. "Was Jason prepared to sign with the Red Sox at any point prior to where we are now? Yes, he was. His feeling toward the players and the club and the city has not changed one bit. The process has been frustrating, but he understood quite a while ago, that's not under his control. That's not really his concern. All he can be concerned with is how to best respond to the opportunities that end up in front of him. Now that there are multiple opportunities it gives him more of an ability to judge his true value. We'll see where it goes."

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