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?
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports provides an interesting window into how teams handle a player’s contract after he has died in an accident. It was reported on Sunday that Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura died in a car accident in the Dominican Republic. He had three guaranteed years at a combined $19.25 million as well as two $12 million club options with a $1 million buyout each for the 2020-21 seasons.
What happens to that money? Well, that depends on the results of a toxicology report, Rosenthal explains. If it is revealed that Ventura was driving under the influence, payment to his estate can be nullified. The Royals may still choose to pay his estate some money as a gesture of good will, but they would be under no obligation to do so. However, if Ventura’s death was accidental and not caused by his driving under the influence, then his contract remains fully guaranteed and the Royals would have to pay it towards his estate. The Royals would be reimbursed by insurance for an as yet unknown portion of that contract.
The results of the toxicology report won’t be known for another three weeks, according to Royals GM Dayton Moore. Dominican Republic authorities said that there was no alcohol found at the scene.
Ventura’s situation is different than that of Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez, who died in a boating accident this past September. Fernandez was not under contract beyond 2016. He was also legally drunk and cocaine was found in his system after the accident. Still, it is unclear whether or not Fernandez was driving the boat. As a result, his estate will receive an accidental death payment of $1.05 million as well as $450,000 through the players’ standard benefits package, Rosenthal points out.
The Associated Press is reporting that the spring training schedule will be shortened by two days starting in 2018. That change comes as part of the new collective bargaining agreement, which was agreed to last month.
Specifically, the voluntary reporting date for pitchers, catchers, and injured players has been changed to 43 days before the start of the regular season, down from 45. For the rest of the players, the reporting date is 38 days before the start of the regular season, down from 40.
The change goes hand-in-hand with allowing teams 187 days, rather than 183, to complete their 162-game regular season schedule.
While just about everyone seems to be in agreement that the spring training exhibition schedule is too long, team owners are likely very hesitant to shorten that part of the spring schedule because it would cost them money. So they’re just allowing players to arrive to camp a couple of days later.