Pending a physical, Mets to sign Jason Bay

According to WFAN’s Mike Francesca, the Mets have signed free agent outfielder Jason Bay. Pending on a physical, the former Pirate and Red Sox will be heading back to the NL.

From the New York Daily News:

WFAN’s Mike Francesca just reported that the Mets will have an announcement early next week that they’ve agreed to a contract with Bay, one of the top free agent hitters on the market. The deal will become official if Bay passes the physical, Francesa said.

The Mets have a four-year offer out to Bay worth about $65 million.

Francesa also reported that the Mets and free agent catcher Bengie Molina remain apart on a potential contract. The Mets have offered one year plus a vesting option, but Molina is holding with a demand for a three-year deal.

This isn’t a bad deal for the Mets financially. Bay hit .267 with 36 home runs, 119 RBI and 13 stolen bases in 531 at-bats last season and isn’t bad defensively. He’ll give the Mets’ lineup durability and some much-needed pop.

That said, this is the Mets that we’re talking about here. Some how, some way, they always manage to add talent and miss the playoffs. This was a solid signing, but they need to get Jose Reyes and a slew of other players healthy so they don’t collapse again next season.

On a semi-related note, Bengie Molina needs a reality check. The only reason he was a cleanup hitter last year is because the Giants were so devoid of offensive talent outside of Pablo Sandoval. Molina is a fine player and a good clubhouse guy, but at his age he’s not going to find a club willing to give him a three-year deal.

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Report: Yankees out of Holliday and Bay sweepstakes

According to a report by the New York Daily News, there is “zero” chance that the Yankees sign free agents Matt Holliday or Jason Bay.

But missing out on DeRosa does not mean the Yankees will seek an expensive option such as Matt Holliday or Jason Bay for their left-field opening, one Yankee official said before the deal was made. “No chance on Matt Holliday, no chance on Jason Bay,” the official said. “Zero. None. Underline it.”

The Yankees are thinking of much cheaper free agent options – former Blue Jay and Cub Reed Johnson, Jerry Hairston Jr. from last season’s team or other players for left field, the official said. Brett Gardner could have a chance to compete for a role there. They will also troll the trade market.

Of course, Yankee GM Brian Cashman once said that he was comfortable with Bubba Crosby being the team’s starting center fielder – mere weeks before the Yankees gave Johnny Damon $52 million over four years to play there instead. The Yankees certainly could afford to stretch their self-imposed budget for a big name, but they also believe that next year’s free agent class – hello, Carl Crawford! – is much more attractive, so they are saving cash for that.

Until Bay and Holliday are signed, don’t count the Yankees out. I don’t care what any report says: The Bombers have the money and if they want a player, they will spend in order to acquire him.

Report: Two things keeping a Bay-Boston reunion from happening

According to the Boston Globe, there are two distinct things that are keeping the Red Sox from bringing free agent outfielder Jason Bay back to Beantown.

Could Bay return to the Red Sox? It’s not inconceivable, according to a major league source, who said it would take two things to happen. 1. Bay would likely have to accept a backloaded contract, which would help the Sox remain under the $170 million payroll threshold for avoiding the luxury tax; and 2. the Sox would have to extend their budget, after they gave a two-year, $15.5 million deal to Mike Cameron.

Then, where would they play Cameron? He could be used against lefthanded pitching to spell Jacoby Ellsbury and J.D. Drew, or the Sox could use Ellsbury in an Adrian Gonzalez deal. But with Mike Lowell back in the fold after he failed his physical with the Rangers, the Sox have less wiggle room in their payroll and on their roster.

Call it a gut feeling, but I don’t think Bay will return to Boston. The BoSox don’t like to budge when it comes to their payroll decisions, which is why Johnny Damon played the last couple years in the Bronx instead of in Baaaston. In the end, another club will step up and pay Bay what he wants and I think he’ll cash in and move on.

Plus, as the article notes, the Red Sox already have Cameron to play left field so they’ve probably moved on. I think the only reason why the Bay-to-Boston rumors are staying afloat is because no other team has stepped up and signed him yet and it doesn’t sound like he’s even close to striking a deal with another club.

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Report: Four teams left in Jason Bay sweepstakes speculates that there are four teams remaining in the Jason Bay sweepstakes this winter.

But an official of one interested club believes that four teams remain involved in the bidding: the Mets, Mariners, Giants and Angels.

And while the Yankees are signaling that they’re not in on Bay — or Matt Holliday, or Johnny Damon — they have been known to shift course rapidly at this time of year.

One source believes the Mariners are attempting to clear payroll in order to make a late push for Bay. But one rival executive doubts Seattle would sign Bay for more than one or two years, since prospects Michael Saunders and Dustin Ackley are candidates to play left field in the long term.

The Angels haven’t ruled themselves out, either. They have watched their own free agents, Chone Figgins and John Lackey, sign elsewhere.

As for the Giants? One person familiar with the organization’s plans said today that it’s “not impossible” to envision them signing Bay or Matt Holliday.

Of the four clubs, the Mariners might make the most sense because Bay grew up north of Seattle and might want to play closer to home. But will they clear enough pay roll in time to scoop him up?

The Mets aren’t afraid to open their wallets, but who knows if they’re be an attractive enough option for Bay in the end. The same goes for the Giants, although I don’t see them spending enough in order to acquire Bay and there have been several reports that state that he doesn’t want to play in San Francisco.

The wild card is the Yankees, who are never out of a deal with their capless payroll. Even though rumor has it that they don’t want to exceed $200 million for their payroll, they’ll stop at nothing to add talent.

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Yankees acquire Vazquez from Braves for Cabrera

The Yankees acquired starter Javier Vazquez and left-hander Boone Logan from the Braves in exchange for outfielder Melky Cabrera, left-hander Mike Dunn and right-hander Arodys Vizcaino.

Vazquez is coming off a solid season in Atlanta, posting a 15-10 record with a 2.87 ERA and a 1.03 WHIP. In his first stint with the Yankees, he recorded a 14-10 record and a 4.91 ERA in 32 starts in 2004. He’ll join a starting rotation that already boasts CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett and Andy Pettite.

Braves fans were probably expecting more in return for Vazquez than Carbera, but the 25-year old has plenty of promise. He hit .274 last season with 13 home runs, 28 doubles and 68 RBI in 485 at-bats. He’ll take over the starting left field position in Atlanta and might see a boost in his offensive production switching the National League.

The question now is what will the Yankees do with their outfield? They acquired Curtis Granderson to play center, but traded away Cabrera, lost Hideki Matsui to free agency and thus far, have shown little interest in bringing back Johnny Damon. If they don’t re-sign Xavier Nady, then the Bombers will be left with Granderson and Nick Swisher as regulars, but who will play left?

I’m wondering if this was a precursor to the Yankees making a strong bid for Matt Holliday or Jason Bay.

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