October 4, 2007

Trade Rumor: Jason Bay

Another day, and yet another trade rumor. This time, centering around young right-hander Matt Garza and not the great Johan Santana.. The rumored deal would have Matt Garza going to the Pittsburgh Pirates in exchange for outfielder Jason Bay.

Bay is a 29-year-old left fielder from British Columbia, Canada. He was the NL Rookie of the Year in 2004 and made the NL All-Star roster in 2005 and 2006 and even made an appearance in the Home Run Derby. Unfortunately, he was eliminated in the first round after hitting zero home runs. But still, it's the thought of it that counts... right?

Bay signed a 4-year $18.25 Million contract which will take him through the 2009 season. He is a career .281/.375/.515 hitter and has 118 career home runs in 616 games (2205 AB's). 2007 was a down year for Jason as he hit a career low .247 with 21 home runs and 84 RBI's in 145 games. This is the reason why his value is so low at the moment. If he were at the top of his game, he's one of the best hitters in the entire league.

The fact that the Twins are even rumored into getting this guy is pretty shocking. Not because he's not worth it or that he's on a potential downfall, but because he's actually a pretty good hitter and the Twins haven't really gotten one of those for a while (through free agency or trade). The other thing that is pretty surprising is what the Twins would potentially have to give up. Matt Garza has a world of potential, but he still is a huge question mark as he still has a lot to work on. I personally think that the Twins are getting the better end of this deal, especially since I think Bay's 2007 season was just a fluke being that it's the only outlier of his career. The rest of his stats have been pretty consistent.

I think that Garza could still be a #2 pitching in any rotation some day (including ours), but if we can trade him at a position we have a surplus of for a position we have a lack of (good all-around middle of the lineup hitters), you have to do it. Bay has enough athleticism that he could also be a possible replacement for Torii Hunter if the Twins declined his contract. He had a poor '07 on defense as well, but his .991, .996, and .991 fielding % in '04, '05, and '06 should indicate that it could also be just a fluke.

I know one player who would like this deal, and that is former MVP Justin Morneau. Morneau & Bay played together for team Canada in the 2006 World Baseball Classic. They are also both Vancouver Canucks fans. I really think both would like to play with each other and I'm hoping it will happen.

What would Bay bring to the Twins?
Bay would bring a great all-around bat in which he hits for both power and average. He also does it from the right side of the plate which is where the Twins would like to improve on.

Can the Twins afford him?
Bay's 4-year $18.25 Million contract is very reasonable for the Twins to squeeze into their 2008 and 2009 budget. He will make $5.75 Million in 2008 and $7.5 Million in 2009. The Twins will also lose guys such as Carlos Silva and Rondell White this off-season, so fitting Bay in would be no problem.

Where would he bat?
If Bay came back to have a solid 2008 season after a pretty bad '07 campaign, he could find his way in between Joe Mauer & Justin Morneau at the 3/4 spot in the lineup. It really depends on what Ron Gardenhire has in store. I am guessing that if Torii is resigned, he will get the #4 spot between the M&M Boys until he really is a liability and at that point he could give Bay the shot. Either way, I think that Bay would have to earn a chance to bat between them two, but I think he could definitely be a solid bat for the Twins.

Should the Twins really do this?
Yes! I honestly think the Twins should do a deal for a great hitter (like Bay) this off-season. Does it necessarily have to be Bay? No. But I think that he's definitely an option and with the Twins having a pluthera of young pitchers between the Majors and the Minors the team should really consider doing something like this. I really do agree with the saying "you can never have enough pitching", but when you don't have good enough hitting to help you even make the playoffs with a very solid rotation, then that's a problem that needs fixing. Pitching wins championships, but offense will carry you to the playoffs and with no offense, it's moot to keep such a great rotation. The Twins also have a few more (believe it or not) other pitchers who could be ready for the majors at some point in the next year or year and a half including top prospects such as Anthony Swarzak and Jeff Manship as well as guys like Oswaldo Sosa, Jay Rainville, Ryan Mullins and Brian Duensing. Tyler Robertson could also be a guy to quickly move through the system. The Twins need to do something to get us a high-powered bat, and I think that if it takes dealing Garza, then that's what we'll have to do.


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