The competition heats up for Bay

The Red Sox are going to have plenty of competition for Jason Bay.

The Seattle Mariners are looking to make a move in the AL West. They’re keeping Felix Hernandez, are about to sign Chone Figgins, and have targeted Bay to play left field.

Bay makes sense for the Mariners. They badly need a LF after rotating Endy Chavez, Michael Saunders, Wladimir Balentien, and Ryan Langerhans there last season. They also need someone to bolster an offense that scored only 640 runs.

The kicker: Bay lives in Kirkland, Wash., a 25-minute ride to Safeco Field. His wife, Kristen, is from there. Bay played college ball at Gonzaga,

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The question is whether the Mariners will spend the money to sign Figgins and Bay. They also want to retain free agent third baseman Adrian Beltre.

If the Mariners can make an offer at least close to what Boston is offering, Bay will find it difficult to turn down. This is why players become free agents, so they have the freedom to make these sorts of choices.

If Bay bolts, the Red Sox would have to either enter the pricey Matt Holiday sweepstakes or obtain somebody like Josh Willingham to platoon with Jeremy Hermida.

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