It would not be incorrect to say the Mets’ signing of a 3-time All Star was met with something less than a unanimous outpouring of joy. But Jason Bay’s scheduled arrival in Queens, while underwhelming to some, was subject to a rather unique analysis by Metsmerized’s Ed Leyro who raises the spectre of another highly compensated LF who seemed less than comfortable with his new home.
After winning the World Series in 1986, the Mets were looking for a full-time leftfielder. George Foster had started the 1986 season in left field, but he was released in August. After Foster™s release, the Mets used Mookie Wilson and the reacquired Lee Mazzilli to play left field. During the offseason, the Mets made a trade with the San Diego Padres to acquire Kevin McReynolds, sending three players, including future National League MVP Kevin Mitchell to the west coast.
During his first four years with the Mets, McReynolds was as good as advertised. These were his numbers from 1987-1990, which corresponds to when K Mac was ages 27 to 30:
1987: .276 average, 29 HR, 95 RBI, 14 SB
1988: .288 average, 27 HR, 99 RBI, 21 SB
1989: .272 average, 22 HR, 85 RBI, 15 SB
1990: .269 average, 24 HR, 82 RBI, 9 SB
Four year average: .276 average, 26 HR, 90 RBI, 15 SB
Over the past four seasons, Jason Bay was also in the age 27 to 30 range. His numbers were very similar to Kevin McReynolds™ numbers, slightly better in some and slighty worse in others:
2006: .286 average, 35 HR, 109 RBI, 11 SB
2007: .247 average, 21 HR, 84 RBI, 4 SB
2008: .286 average, 31 HR, 101 RBI, 10 SB
2009: .267 average, 36 HR, 119 RBI, 13 SB
Four year average: .272 average, 31 HR, 103 RBI, 10 SB
Although Jason Bay is being paid an average of $16.5 million per season over the length of his four-year contract with the Mets, fans and the front office might expect the type of season Bay produced last year with Boston and would be disappointed if he didn™t repeat those numbers.
However, if the Mets can get the consistent seasons from Bay that Kevin McReynolds gave them 20 years ago, I think I™d be more than happy with that. The Mets haven™t had that kind of consistency from their left field position since McReynolds™ first stint with the team (let™s not talk about his return to the Mets in 1994).
I have little to add to Mr. Leyro’s wishful thinking except to add I once attended a Mets/Giants game at Candlestick Park in the company of legendary Bay Area entertainer Mad V Dog, who spent much of the afternoon hollering at the Amazins’ slouchy outfielder, calling him “Kevin McDonalds”. I tried my best to bring this chant back east, but it never really caught on.