This hasn’t been a fun year for Jason Bay. Signed to a four-year, $66 million contract over the winter, the 31-year-old outfielder is batting a modest .260 with six homers and 47 RBI. This time last year, he had 20 homers and 72 RBI. The Mets just haven’t gotten what they paid for.
After going 0-for-12 with eight strikeouts during the recent three-game sweep at the hands of the Diamondbacks, the struggling Bay was dropped to the seventh spot in the order by manager Jerry Manuel on Friday night. Prior to Friday’s game, Bay had only started a game in the No. 7 spot seven times in his career.
While it is notable the Mets broke a three-game losing streak Friday, banging out more than four runs for the first time since July 5, it was Bay that managed to steal the show. He started by making a running catch on a full-sprint in the bottom of the second inning, crashing face-first into the chain link fence in left field. I wish I had a screengrab for you, but the link to this video should suffice.
Perhaps the collision jarred something loose, because Bay finally remembered how to hit. In the eighth, he smacked a three-run double to right-center field, extending the Mets’ lead to the eventual winning score of 6-1. It was Bay’s first RBI since July 5 and his first extra-base hit since July 2.
As baseball fans, we often can’t help but to look at each season as a narrative. Or we at least long for one, trying to identify individual moments that turn things around. I’m not saying Bay is going to go on a tear and suddenly be the run producer the Mets thought they signed this winter, but would you be surprised if he did?
Update (8:51 PM EST): The deal is in place, according to Heyman.
Update (8:27 PM EST): Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the Cardinals made an “over-the-top offer” to Fowler to ensure he’d sign.
Frank Cusumano of KSDK Sports reports that free agent outfielder will take a physical in St. Louis on Friday. Presumably, that means that Fowler and the Cardinals have gotten pretty far along in negotiations.
Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports recently reported that Fowler was looking for $18 million per year. The Blue Jays reportedly made an offer to Fowler in the four-year, $16 million range several days ago. The Cardinals’ offer to Fowler, if there is indeed one, is likely somewhere between the two figures.
Fowler, 30, is coming off of a fantastic year in which he helped the Cubs win their first World Series since 1908. During the regular season, he hit .276/.393/.447 with 13 home runs, 48 RBI, 84 runs scored, and 13 stolen bases in 551 plate appearances.
Fowler rejected the Cubs’ $17.2 million qualifying offer last month. While the QO compensation negatively affected Fowler’s experience in free agency last offseason — he didn’t sign until late February with the Cubs — his strong season is expected to make QO compensation much less of an issue.
Tommy Stokke of RanRag Sports reports that the Braves and Rangers agreed to a trade. According to ESPN’s Keith Law, the Braves will receive pitcher Luke Jackson from the Rangers in exchange for pitchers Tyrell Jenkins and Brady Feigl.
Jackson, 25, is under team control through 2022. He has logged only 18 innings in the majors, yielding 14 runs on 22 hits and eight walks with three strikeouts. While Jackson has struggled with control, the Braves likely see upside because his fastball sits in the mid- to high-90’s.
Jenkins, 24, is also under team control through 2022. The right-hander made eight starts and six relief appearances in his first major league season in 2016, putting up a 5.88 ERA with a 26/33 K/BB ratio over 52 innings.
Feigl, 25, was an undrafted free agent and was signed by the Braves in 2013. The lefty underwent Tommy John surgery in 2015 and briefly rehabbed in rookie ball this past season.