Final Thoughts On (Former) Pirate Jason Bay

In light of the recent Jason Bay/Manny Ramirez/prospects trade, my good friend Texas Gal decided to hit up some Pittsburgh bloggers for their thoughts on Bay. It’s part of Jason Bay Day at Center Field. Yours truly participated, and had this to say:

What can I say about Jason Bay? A Pirate for parts of six seasons, Bay gave us fans every emotion one could hope for when one becomes baseball fan. Franchise records as a rookie, power to all fields despite looking like a third line hockey winger, unrealized potential, “is-he-clutch?” worries, nasty injuries and at times, All-Star caliber play. As a Pirates fan, I get to see Bay’s tenure in the Burgh within the greater context and how he has shaped the future of the Pirates. Yeah, we suck now, but just you wait.

The Sox were probably impressed with his 26 dingers as a rookie. If Boston has done their collective homework, they’ll be more than happy with Bay’s current .985+ fielding percentage, or the little nugget that the guy counted on to be the Buccos’ primary source or power actually tied a MLB record in 2005 for most steals in a season without getting caught (before getting thrown out at the very end of the year, dammit). Boston fans, you’re getting a guy who might worry you, or might blow your..ahem…Sox off (sorry). Baseball-Reference says you’re getting either Kevin Mench or Grady Sizemore. Seems about right.

I thank Bay for all he gave to the team. Brian Giles was a hero in Pittsburgh, and Bay had the responsibility of replacing Giles when he was traded to the San Diego Daddies. Bay’s name seemed to be in constant trade rumors since his arrival, but his career year in ’06 allowed the other guy acquired from San Diego, Ollie Perez, to be dealt to New York for Xavier Nady instead. Nady’s recent trade then brought us prime prospect Jose Tabata. Now Bay’s trade brings us Andy LaRoche and Craig Hansen. By most accounts, Bay allowed the team to segue between Brian Giles and a first round pitcher, a legit third base prospect and a stud like Tabata. Take that however you want, but you can’t ask for much more when you trade a guy who was as respected in Pittsburgh as Giles was in ’03.

A little part of me is sad to see Bay go, mostly because I’ll miss his opposite-field homers over the Clemente wall. If Bay continues his trend of hot hitting against AL East pitching, that short porch near Pesky’s Pole might get lit up.

Pittsburgh wins, getting top prospects that we desperately need, and Boston makes out by getting a guy 7 years younger than Manny who can still be counted on for 28-30 homers and 100 RBIs when playing to potential. Not a bad trade by anyone’s count.

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