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Coming to Terms with Jason Bay: Seattle Mariner

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The Mariners are looking for any and every reason to keep Jason Bay around. At least he seems like a nice guy?

Jason Bay wearing a Seattle Mariners hat
Jason Bay wearing a Seattle Mariners hat
Christian Petersen

Good afternoon, Lookout Landing. My name is Kyle and I'm excited to be joining you. I've read this blog just about every single day for a few years now and being asked to contribute is a rather insane moment in my life. For the last 18 months or so, I've been writing baseball nonsense at my personal blog, The Trance of Waiting, where I make terrible jokes and pretend to know what I'm doing. I hear you like beer. I like beer, too.

Jason Bay is going to be a Seattle Mariner. If this has felt inevitable for some time, it only feels more so now. The Mariners, so desperate for added reasons why Bay might fit on the team, were willing to place the thirty-four year old in center field, where presumably baseballs would be hit towards him and he would be responsible for their retrieval and return to the infield. This would speak towards Bay's versatility, his ability to cover center every now and then were Franklin Gutierrez to continue to fulfill his bleak and unfavorable destiny as most tragic Mariner of all time. Jason Bay has been rated as an average to poor defensive outfielder for the bulk of his career. Jason Bay hasn't manned center field since 2005.

Mercifully, not a single baseball was hit towards Jason Bay last night. When I say mercifully, I mean for Bay, not for us, because the GIFs would have been wonderful. It does, however, seem highly likely that Bay will trot back out there again soon, to laugh in the face of the universe once again. The Mariners willingness to partake in such behavior speaks to their fondness for Bay, for whatever reason, be it veteran presence or a winning personality or some other such thing. It also seems to mark the end for Casper Wells. There won't be room for him on the roster and he'll more than likely be traded, and probably not for much. The Mariners will part with Well's annoying package of "skills" and "defensive ability" and "upside," and instead hope that Bay gives really inspiring pep talks. This is a shame.

ZiPS likes Bay for a .288 wOBA and -0.1 WAR, which, I don't think I need to tell you, is not good. Wells comes out looking a little better with a .303 wOBA and 1.0 WAR. Really, that difference is pretty negligible, and for a team like the Mariners who don't project to contend for a playoff spot, it probably means even less. But Wells is twenty-eight and Bay is six years older than that. Wells might still have some semblance of a prime left to enjoy while Bay's has been over for a while now. On the face of it, the choice of Bay over Wells isn't all that offensive, but it speaks to a strange organizational pattern that I can't quite reckon with and accept. I know the Mariners employ a ton of really smart people, and that veteran knowledge and team chemistry doesn't mean literally nothing. But really, we already have Raul Ibanez. And his defense.

And so, we must come to terms with Jason Bay: Seattle Mariner. It's going to happen. For all intents and purposes, it already has. To help lessen the sting, I've compiled a few reasons why this might be a good thing.

  • There was that one time in 2009 when Bay hit 36 home runs. 36 is a lot of home runs!

  • Jason Bay has a likeable, non-threatening face.
  • Jason Bay has a lot of interesting connections to Seattle and the surrounding area, which, in the absence of other, more baseball-related positivity, is a pleasant thing.
  • Bay will make one million dollars for his services, which is basically free in the insane world of baseball.
  • One time my friend was at a party and Jason Bay's wife was at the same party and she was a very nice person. She mentioned that the main challenge of her husband's job was constantly moving all the time. The Bays live in Seattle, and if Jason Bay stays on the Mariners, this nice lady won't have to move her possessions and children to an unfamiliar part of the country full of strangers and indecipherable regional accents.
  • The potential for Jason Bay to be playing center field and Raul Ibanez to be playing left field and a baseball being hit in-between them.