The story behind Jason Bay's aborted deal with the Red Sox

0 Comments

Thumbnail image for Jason Bay headshot.jpg“I was shocked to say the least that I was being told to have knee
surgery in order to get the contract, particularly since I
wasn’t hurt.”

— Jason Bay

That quote comes from an interesting story from WEEI’s Rob Bradford, telling us what went down between Jason Bay and the Red Sox last summer.  The upshot: after tentatively agreeing to a four-year, $60 million deal, Bay’s physical gave the Red Sox serious concerns, so they changed the offer: two years guaranteed, two vesting years based on Bay’s health, and mandatory knee surgery as soon as the 2009 season ended. Bay got a second opinion on the knee, was told there was no reason for concern.

Then, despite the fact that he hadn’t shared his new opinion with the team yet, when negotiations reopened with the Sox after the season, the team had dropped the request for surgery. Instead, they substituted it with a proposed contract clause like John Lackey’s: four years, but the team has the ability to void the final year if he spends X amount of time on the DL due to pre-existing conditions specified by the team.  All of this despite the fact that, in the meantime, Bay had shared his own doctor’s opinion with the team and a third, independent opinion had been obtained also showing Bay to be healthy. Bay balked at the offer and now he’s a Met.

People have been highly critical of the Mets’ medical staff recently, and it’s likely that having Bay in New York will give us more opportunities for that. But this story may give us a chance to test the merits of the Sox’ staff as well. Were they overly cautious, and did that caution cost them their left fielder? And how about Theo Epstein?  What was with first insisting on the surgery demand and then retracting it despite the fact that, to the team anyway, nothing had changed?  A bit erratic, no?

Given its reputation and personnel, if there is a front office that is pushing the envelope with respect to how to limit injuries — and, more to the point, how to limit a team’s financial exposure to injuries — it’s the Red Sox. Jason Bay may well be an interesting test case to see if they have pushed the envelope just a bit too far.

Pujols hits 703rd HR to pass Babe for 2nd in RBI; Cards lose

St. Louis Cardinals v Pittsburgh Pirates
Getty Images
0 Comments

PITTSBURGH – Albert Pujols hit his 703rd home run Monday night, breaking a tie with Babe Ruth for second place in career RBIs, but the St. Louis Cardinals lost to Pittsburgh 3-2 when the Pirates drew four consecutive walks in the ninth inning to force home the winning run.

The 42-year-old slugger connected off right-hander Mitch Keller, pulling a two-run shot into the left-field stands to snap a scoreless tie in the sixth. It was Pujols’ 35th career home run at PNC Park, his most at any visiting ballpark.

The drive gave Pujols 2,216 RBIs, passing Ruth on the all-time list. Hank Aaron holds the record with 2,297.

“Passing Babe Ruth is a big deal,” Cardinals manager Oliver Marmol said. “Seeing him hit a home run in that situation was fun to watch. You feel pretty good about where you’re at whenever he swings, and his home runs have been very meaningful.”

Pujols, who plans to retire after the season, has 24 home runs this year – his most since hitting 31 for the Los Angeles Angels in 2016. He is one of four players in major league history with 700, joining Barry Bonds (762), Aaron (755) and Ruth (714).

Pujols, who did not speak with reporters following the game, had been hitless in eight career at-bats against Keller.

“It’s an amazing time to be around him and being around this team,” Cardinals starting pitcher Jose Quintana said. “He keeps believing in his abilities. The most impressive thing is he homers, then he’s ready for the next one. He wants to keep going.”

With the score tied 2-all in the ninth, the Pirates loaded the bases when Ke'Bryan Hayes, Miguel Andujar and Rodolfo Castro drew consecutive walks from Giovanny Gallegos (3-6).

JoJo Romero relieved and walked Oneil Cruz on four pitches to end the game. It was the first walk-off plate appearance of the rookie’s career.

Before the game, the Cardinals signed Gallegos to a two-year contract worth $11 million that runs through 2024.

Yohan Ramirez (4-1) pitched a scoreless ninth for the win.

“There were a lot of signs of resilience,” Pirates manager Derek Shelton said of the winning rally.

The Pirates avoided a second straight 100-loss season – at least for now – by beating the NL Central champion Cardinals for the second consecutive day.

Paul Goldschmidt led off the St. Louis sixth with a single before Pujols connected. Keller was chased after giving up two more singles in the inning.

The Pirates rallied to tie it at 2. Bryan Reynolds doubled home a run in the sixth and Jack Suwinski homered off Andre Pallante in the eighth.

Normally a starter, Cardinals right-hander Miles Mikolas allowed one run in three innings of relief. He followed Quintana, who pitched three scoreless innings.

Mikolas reached the 200-inning mark, raising his season total to 202 1/3.

“It’s just a nice ending to the season to get there,” Mikolas said. “It’s a mark you don’t see a tremendous amount of guys get to anymore, so it’s always kind of nice to separate yourself from the pack.”

St. Louis used the starters in tandem as Marmol attempts to set his staff for postseason play. The Cardinals host a best-of-three wild-card series beginning Friday, and Marmol has not decided on his rotation.

“It allows us the flexibility to still start them in any game of that three-game set,” he explained before the game.

Keller allowed two runs and six hits in five innings.

PIRATES MOVES

RHP Nick Mears was recalled from Triple-A Indianapolis and RHP Luis Ortiz was optioned to the same club. Ortiz made his major league debut Sept. 13 and went 0-2 with a 4.50 ERA in four starts.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Cardinals: 3B Nolan Arenado was scratched from the lineup 15 minutes before the game because of a slight quadriceps strain. He might also sit out Tuesday night as a precaution. . OF Tyler O'Neill (strained left hamstring) went through a full baseball workout but the Cardinals are still uncertain if he will be ready to play by Friday. . RHP Jordan Hicks will either be activated from the injured list and pitch in Wednesday’s regular-season finale or throw a bullpen that day.

UP NEXT

Cardinals: RHP Dakota Hudson (8-7, 4.07 ERA) will start Tuesday night. He has allowed one unearned run over 11 innings in two appearances since being recalled from Triple-A Memphis on Sept. 21. RHP Jack Flaherty is expected to pitch in relief as a postseason tune-up.

Pirates: RHP JT Brubaker (3-11, 4.58) will come off the injured list and start. He has been out since Sept. 16 with right lat discomfort.