INDIAN WELLS, Calif. – The Red Sox need outfielders, so the news that the Mets released injury-ravaged Jason Bay and negotiated a deal to pay the $21 million remaining on his contract caught Ben Cherington’s attention.
Bay was a productive player for the Red Sox after being acquired in 2008, hitting .274 with 45 home runs and 156 RBIs in 200 games. He left as a free agent following the 2009 season.
“Certainly surprised it didn’t go better for him in New York,” Cherington said. “He’s a terrific guy. He was a great player for a long time.”
Would the Red Sox have an interest? “We haven’t talked about it yet,” the GM said. “Wouldn’t rule anything out.”
The Red Sox had contentious negotiations with Bay before he left for the Mets, the team believing that his medical reports precluded a major investment. That proved to be accurate as Bay played in only 288 games in three seasons for the Mets and hit .234 with 26 home runs.
Bay has had issues with concussions and other injuries. But more than anything else, he just hasn’t been able to hit for a few years. At 34, he may be looking at no more than a minor-league contract and an invitation to spring training.
Bay is one of the more professional, accountable, and well-liked players in the game and those qualities will help get him a shot. Whether the Red Sox open that door remains to be seen. But they had that concerns in 2009 that proved well-founded.