I have already outlined the eleventeen billion ways in which Matt Holliday is superior to Jason Bay, but just to review: If you call their hitting even, – and that’s debatable – Holliday is still younger and a better fielder. If the choice is between paying $16mil/year for Jason Bay and $20mil/year for Matt Holliday, Holliday is a vastly superior choice. You get double the value for an addition $4mil. It boggles my mind that anyone with any modicum of baseball intelligence would fancy Bay over Holliday. However, I now assume that the Mets have no modicum of baseball intelligence, so it in no way surprises me when Jon Heyman tweets*, “Plan A is Bay for #mets.” I also would not have been surprised if Heyman had tweeted
“#Mets think Beta is Plan A, VHS plan B”, “#Mets think tonight is the Washington General’s night” or “#Mets lose millions in pyramid scheme”. Hey, that last one actually happened!
*I don’t know about anyone else, but I feel like an idiot saying the word tweet or twitter. I am hesitant to go to Starbucks or Cold Stone for similar reasons. At Cold Stone all the ice cream flavors have names like “Berry Berry Berry Good” or “German Chocolataschadenfreudedashundmeinkamfolate” and all the sizes are equally Candy Land-esque: “Like It”, “Love It”, or “Gotta Have It”. I feel like Lord Licorice if I say “I’ll have a Love It of Berry Berry Berry Good”, so I’ll usually try to dodge this by ordering a “Medium of the Berry-thing”. This always fails because Cold Stone apparently only hires people born and raised in the Gumdrop Forest. The pimply-faced kid behind the counter never understands my order. I am forced to degrade myself and order instead in the native language of the Oompa Loompas, but the ice cream is good enough where I willingly accept this public humiliation, but just barely. Starbucks, in my opinion, is not as of the same quality, so I avoid it like Omar Minaya avoids getting into an elevator with Adam Rubin. And . . . we’re back to baseball.
Anyway, what does surprise me is that the Boston Red Sox apparently also fancy Jason Bay. If the Mets are the Ralph Wiggum of MLB, then the Red Sox are Lisa Simpson. They have an intelligent GM who says things like “the reality is we can’t build a team based on, sort of, psychobabble.” The Mets have a GM who says things like “paperwork, that’s false hustle“, “I was a little bit, you know, somewhat, kind of, we gotta find out about this“, and “When I grow up, I’m going to go to Bovine University!” I don’t understand how the worst run team in baseball and the best run team are competing for the services of the same player. I understand the Mets not seeing the added value in Holliday, but the Red Sox? This is the team that hired Bill James as a advisor, that recently produced Lester, Pedroia, Youkilis, Ellsbury, and Pabelbon, that sold high on Nomar and bought low on Ortiz. The Red Sox know what’s up. Something isn’t adding up right. I can’t understand a world where both the Mets and Red Sox like the same player. If the Mets like Bay, he must be terrible, yet if the Red Sox like Bay, he must be good. It’s a paradox that is ripping apart my understanding of the time-space continuum.
I have three theories that explain this discrepancy and restore order to the universe:
1. The Red Sox are worried that Holliday can’t hit in the AL. He had a 120 OPS+ in Oakland, so maybe. Still, 120 is fine, it was only 400 PA, and for the rest of his career he has an OPS+ 134. I don’t think it’s this one.
2. The Red Sox are attempting to expand “Red Sox Nation” into “Red Sox Empire” by taking over the Canadian baseball market, and a Jason Bay signing is only the first step. The Red Sox will also add Canucks Matt Stairs and Erik Bedard, trade for Justin Morneau and Russell Martin, and hire Celine Dion to sing the Canadian National Anthem every night.
3. The Red Sox had no intention of offering Bay anything more than their initial 4 year, $60mil deal – which is fair value for Bay – and now they are just attempting to incite the Mets into a Bay frenzy to get them out of the Holliday sweepstakes. If you assume the Mets are working at a Michael Scott* level of competence, and I think at this point it is safe to say that they are, Mets’ “leadership” might just be playing copycat. They see the Red Sox, the cool kid in class, looking at Jason Bay and they suddenly want one too. The Red Sox see the Mets ogling Bay and feign greater interest in him, only confirming in the Mets’ mind their perceived value of Bay. The Mets go all in on Bay, and end up with a used Pontiac Trans Am while the Red Sox drive off in a new Ferrari for just a bit more.
*The Mets are in their mid-forties, generally ineffective, have lost money in a pyramid scheme, and spend a lot of time around Ryan Howard. In other words, the Mets are Michael Scott.
This last scenario is too JFK conspiracy theory to possibly be true, but I sincerely doubt that the Red Sox interest in Bay is genuine. I don’t see why Theo Epstein would get just his money’s worth with Bay when he could get more than his money’s worth out of Holliday. On the other hand, I do think the Mets interest is in Bay is real, because I can easily imagine that they don’t see the added value in Holliday. Again, I can’t understand a world where the Mets and the Red Sox value a player equally; I’m waiting for the Silver Surfer to show up and announce the arrival of Galactus. If I were the Red Sox and my interest in Bay was genuine, I would recheck my math because the kid sitting in the back of class eating paste just came up with the same answer I did.