(Jason) Bay watch? Unlikely, even with power shortage

One of the things Pirates cynics harp on — endlessly — is the success of players after they leave Pittsburgh. Guys like the 2012 versions of Ryan Ludwick and Nate McLouth are their ammunition.

We hear less about the other side of that coin. About moves that were prescient. Those are conveniently left off the see-saw of management decisions.

Yeah, instead of flourishing, some just flush after the Bucs. Folks still can’t let go of the mid-2009 fire sale of Freddy Sanchez and Jack Wilson, and how little the Bucs got in return. They don’t  concede that injuries have limited Sanchez to 196 games in 3 1/2 seasons with the Giants, or that Wilson didn’t hit higher than .249 for a couple teams he shuffled through and now is in premature retirement.

Jason Bay? The two-time NL All-Star had one decent season in Boston following his mid-2008 trade but, pushed by a nasty concussion suffered in mid-2010 against Dodger Stadium’s bullpen gate, has pretty much fallen off the baseball map. The Mets have just negotiated an early termination of his contract, making him a free agent.

Bay is only 34, but don’t look for the Pirates to pull another “McLouth” and bring him back. Not even on a non-guaranteed, make-good Minor League deal. GM Neal Huntington can’t afford the snide reaction such a move could provoke.

Of course, Bay at his healthy-and-productive peak is someone the Bucs need: An impact corner outfielder. Even with Garrett Jones doing half of his 2012 damage while playing right field, Pirates left and right fielders combined for 34 homers and 114 RBIs.

Only two NL teams had fewer homers from their outfield corners, and none had lower run production. Even the Astros, who also had 34 homers, got 133 RBIs from the corners.

Of course, there is more than one way to do damage, and the Giants’ World Series title may influence imitators. The Giants got only 28 homers from their corner outfielders (the Dodgers, with 29, were the other team with fewer than the Bucs) but proved that fundamentals and opportunism count for more.

The Giants succeeded by overall scoring 34 more runs than the Bucs while hitting 67 fewer home runs. San Francisco did 25 percent of its scoring via the homer, while the Bucs scored a 40 percent in that regard.

Which team’s offensive philosophy was more beneficial?

Another reason not to look for Jason Bay in Bradenton in a few months.

2 Comments

Not to be too nit-picky, but “one decent year” was really “one outstanding year”. He was 7th in AL MVP voting with a .921 OPS, a career-high 36 HR’s, started in the All-Star game, and won the Silver Slugger. He disappeared after that year, yeah, but man he was great for that team.

Agreed. “Decent” was the wrong adjective to use there. “Typical” would’ve been more appropriate. Got caught up in the fact he’d hit only .267, below even his current career average.

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