This is a question Mets fans and myself have been asking for quite some time now. What happened to the guy that put up All Star stats with the Pirates and Red Sox? Put simply, he retired early. Jason Bay has had an atrocious approach at the plate since joining the Mets in 2010. After launching 36 home runs for the Boston Red Sox in 2009, Bay has hit only 8 bombs in 142 games as a New York Met. There has been much speculation about the shortcoming thus far on a 4-year $66 million contract. I’ll point out the legitimate arguments and infer my thoughts on his failures.

 

This sums it up for Bay in a Mets uniform.

Reuters

Here are three possible answers for Jason Bay’s struggles at the plate with the Mets:

1. His Age: Jason Bay was 31 when he joined the Mets. He had injury concerns during the 2009 season which made the Red Sox completely give up on re-signing him. He sure looks like he’s much older with this ball club.

2. The Stadium: He left a Red Sox stadium that was conducive to right-handed pull hitters. Anytime Jason Bay wanted a hit, all he had to do was launch a pitch off the Green Monster. It made it really hard to stay in a slump. CitiField may be the worst ballpark choice for Bay. All of the home runs that hit or went over the Green Monster are now fly balls to the edge of the warning track at CitiField. I bet David Wright has a lot to say about that.

3. It’s All Mental: It’s possible that he has lost all confidence in himself at the plate. The slump in 2010 and then a concussion that forced him out for much of the season may have followed him into this year. He is putting so much pressure on himself to get out of the slump that he presses even harder in the batter’s box. Apparently, he hits the ball very well in the batting cages. Too bad that can’t translate into the game.

So which of these is the main culprit for Jason Bay’s demise at the dish? I actually believe it’s a combination of all three. Players usually regress during their early 30s, but it is very rare to taper off this badly (ex: Andruw Jones from 2007 to 2008). Fenway was a perfect fit for Bay. CitiField has no doubt screwed up Bay’s mentality at the plate. Confidence plays the biggest role in performance. Talent is a very close second.

If this guy can’t hit at CitiField, we have to either (a) trade him to a team that would take his contract or (b) move in the left field wall to better suit his swing. His disappointing performance is a huge hinder on a Mets ball club that is battling to stay within the Wild Card running. You know you’re awful when bench players like Scott Hairston and Jason Pridie have more homers (3) than you.

So what do the Mets do about Jason Bay for the final two and a half years of his contract?