Jason Bay, Mike Lowell, and Why Hometown Discounts Are a Bad Idea
It looks like the Jason Bay era is over in Boston, thanks to him being unhappy with the Red Sox’s $60 million contract offer. So, is Bay being greedy in not simply taking Boston’s offer? Should he give the Red Sox a hometown discount? Spare me.
Joe Urbon, the left fielder’s agent, told Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal Saturday that the free agent was ready to “move on.” Urbon said, “We don’t agree with their evaluation of the player. Frankly, we have other offers on the table that are of greater interest to Jason.”
The New York Mets are among the teams looking into signing Bay – they reportedly offered him a $65 million contract. And Seattle and Anaheim are other possibilities.
But it makes no sense for Bay to get all gushy over Boston, if the team’s offer is the weakest. Players who wax sentimental end up paying the price – especially in Red Sox Nation.
Look at what happened to Mike Lowell, the last Boston player to take less money – and fewer years – just to stay as a Red Sox. He turned down a four-year, $50 million contract offer from the Philadelphia Phillies, and instead accepted a three-year, $37.5 million Red Sox offer. Teammate Curt Schilling praised the third baseman at the time for doing so:
“How cool is that?” Red Sox pitcher Schilling posted on his blog. “Leaving years and dollars on the table to come back here for three more years, good stuff.”
So what did Lowell get for giving up $12.5 million? Shipped out of Boston to the Texas Rangers in a trade this week, pending a physical. Nice!
This isn’t the first time in recent years that GM Theo Epstein traded a player who gave the team a hometown discount. Bronson Arroyo signed a three-year, $12 million contract with the Red Sox before the 2006 season, even though his agents advised against it. While he said he left “close to $4 million on the table,” Arroyo said the deal would give him “a little bit of security.”
“I love playing here. I love the fans. I love the city. I want to stay here for my whole career,” he said. “I feel that’s going to beneficial for me as well as the team. Hopefully, they see it that way and don’t trade me.”
Some security. Just two months later, Arroyo was traded to the Cincinnati Reds for Wily Mo Pena. So much for him leaving that extra money on the table.
Besides Boston’s history at trading the same players who gave the team hometown discounts, the Red Sox also have a propensity to, shall we say, highlight a player’s negatives on their way out the door, like what happened with Nomar Garciaparra, Pedro Martinez, and Johnny Damon. Or like what happened with Lowell last week, as SI.com’s Jon Heyman noted:
And while Texas people were pleased to be getting a very smart guy with a nice personality in Lowell (as opposed to original target Milton Bradley), people who communicate often with the Red Sox front office painted Lowell in another light after the deal was agreed to — that of an occasionally disgruntled clubhouse guy (that’s certainly not the Lowell I remember more than a decade ago coming up with the Yankees).
Stay classy, Boston!
Not so surprisingly, Tony Massarotti of the Boston Globe reported Sunday that the team had concerns about Bay’s health:
According to one source, in fact, the Red Sox and Bay either had agreed or were close to agreement on a contract at the All-Star break when the Red Sox expressed concerns over Bay’s knee, shoulder or both. Whatever the case, the Red Sox balked at roughly the time that Theo Epstein spoke of an “aggressive,” offer to the player, who is now sufficiently disgruntled that agent Joe Urbon is telling the media that Bay is “prepared to move on” from Boston.
Hmmm. Bay hasn’t had any injury that cost him considerable playing time since 2004. Over the past five seasons, he averaged 154 games played per season, with 151 games for Boston in 2009, and 155 MLB games played the year before.
Does that mean he won’t break down in the future? No. But as Massarotti also notes, the Red Sox gave the oft-injured J.D. Drew a five-year, $70 million deal, even thought Drew had a much more spotty injury history than Bay.
Fans frequently compare the players to themselves, suggesting that such offers are more than enough to live on. And if the comments on Boston message boards are any indication, the same fans who once suggested Bay was better than Manny Ramirez, the player he was traded for, are now hoisting pitchforks about Bay, griping about him turning down such a large sum of money.
But why should Bay take a hometown discount, when Red Sox ownership couldn’t even give one to their fans? After all, in the worst economy since the Great Depression, the team raised ticket prices for 2010. What, the team couldn’t make a little less money off their fans in these rough economic times?
If the Sox can’t come to terms with Bay, it looks like Scott Boras client Matt Holliday would be a target to play left field. But if the price tag is too steep for him- Epstein has described 2010 as a “bridge period” where they were preparing for the future – there’s somebody else Boston could consider to play left.
He’s had experience in Boston. He’s on the market this year. And signing him would stick it to the arch-rival New York Yankees.
Imagine this – Johnny Damon in left field for the Red Sox!
Photo by -nanio-
Follow us on twitter@thefastertimes
- 1 Amanda Bynes’s Behavior Revealed to Be Elaborate PSA
- 2 Obama Horrified by the Grammar in Our Emails
- 3 Incidental Boob Graze Redeems Trust Fall Exercise
- 4 Monster Fart Prompting Management to Rethink “Open Office”
- 5 NSA Demanded Access To Un-Filtered Instagram Photos
- 6 Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson Ambushed By Alan ‘The Paper’ Rubinstein
- 7 Local Bully: Gay Boy Scouts a Dream Come True
- 8 ‘Licensed to Kim Jong Il’ Records 27th Straight Year Atop N. Korean Charts
- 9 ‘A/S/L’ Most Asked Question At Kaplan Online University Reunion
- 10 Stanley Cup Final One Blowout Away From “Boston Massacre” Headline Outrage