INDIANS WELLS, Calif. — On the list of players who never should have left Boston, we give you Jason Bay.
The Mets parted ways with Bay Wednesday with still a year remaining on his contract. He was due to earn $16 million and a $3 million buyout of his contract for an option year in 2014.
Bay couldn’t agree to terms with the Red Sox, who insisted on clauses to protect them in case Bay needed knee surgery. The Mets ponied up $66 million over four years.
“Jason is a great teammate, hard worker, stand-up guy and true gentleman,” Jeff Wilpon the team’s chief operating officer said in a statement. “Like Jason, we had planned for the kind of production here that he enjoyed in Boston and Pittsburgh, where he established himself as one of the game’s top players. We wish Jason and his family success and happiness in the future.”
Bay, whose career was never the same after he slammed into a fence and suffered a concussion and then post-concussion symptoms for two years, hit .234 with 26 homers and 124 runs batted in.
In 2012 he hit .165 with 8 home runs and 20 RBIs and suffered from various injuries.
Bay had a swing made for Fenway — hitting 36 homers and driving in 119 runs in 2009 for the Red Sox after a superb career in Pittsburgh. He seemed to regret leaving the moment he signed on with the Mets, where the expanse of Citi Field never suited him.
“I still feel I have plenty to give to this game and that I can play baseball at a high level,” Bay said in a statement. “But after serious consideration, both sides agree that we would benefit from a fresh start. I’m grateful we were able to reach an agreement to allow that to happen. I’m excited to keep playing and have no intention of just walking away.”
It’s expected some team will give Bay at least a spring training invitation and a minor league contract.