GM: “Jason Bay is not going anywhere, nor is his contract”

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Yesterday manager Terry Collins revealed that Jason Bay will no longer be an everyday player for the Mets, which led reporters to ask general manager Sandy Alderson if the team was considering simply eating the remainder of his contract while parting ways.

Alderson shot that down, telling Andrew Marchand of ESPN New York:

Certainly, there are times when it is appropriate to eat a contract. There are other times when it is not. Jason Bay is not going anywhere, nor is his contract.

This is the third season of a four-year, $66 million deal, so the Mets owe Bay about $5 million for the rest of this season, $16 million next season, and $17 million or a $3 million buyout for 2014. In other words, releasing Bay right now would involve eating $24 million, which is why the Mets will hope that he can provide some sort of value as a part-time player first.

Bay joined the Mets in 2010 as a 31-year-old with a career .280 batting average and .896 OPS, but since then he’s hit just .238 with a .695 OPS in 259 games, including .157 this year.

Why Ryan Zimmerman skipped spring training

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All spring training there was at least some mild confusion about Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman. He played in almost no regular big league spring training games, instead, staying on the back fields, playing in simulated and minor league contests. When that usually happens, it’s because a player is rehabbing or even hiding an injury, but the Nats insisted that was not the case with Zimmerman. Not everyone believed it. I, for one, was skeptical.

The skepticism was unwarranted, as Zimmerman answered the bell for Opening Day and has played all season. As Jared Diamond of the Wall Street Journal writes today, it was all by design. He skipped spring training because he doesn’t like it and because he thinks it’ll help him avoid late-season injuries and slowdowns, the likes of which he has suffered over the years.

It’s hard to really judge this now, of course. On the one hand Zimmerman has started really slow this season. What’s more, he has started to show signs of warming up only in the past week, after getting almost as many big league, full-speed plate appearances under his belt as a normal spring training would’ve given him. On the other hand, April is his worst month across his entire 14-year career, so one slow April doesn’t really prove anything and, again, Zimmerman and the Nats will consider this a success if he’s healthy and productive in August and September.

It is sort of a missed opportunity, though. Players hate spring training. They really do. if Zimmerman had made a big deal out of skipping it and came out raking this month, I bet a lot more teams would be amenable to letting a veteran or three take it much more easy next spring. Good ideas can be good ideas even if they don’t produce immediately obvious results, but baseball tends to encourage a copycat culture only when someone can point to a stat line or to standings as justification.

Way to ruin it for everyone, Ryan. 😉