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Jason Bay was once one of the best outfielders in the game. From his Rookie of the Year campaign in 2004 until 2009, Bay put up a strikingĀ .280/.375/.519 line, which earned him a huge free agent contract with the Mets.

… where he summarily fell off the map, thanks in large part to an array of injuries, culminating in a brutalĀ .165/.237/.299 stretch over his 70-game 2012 season. Signed through next year, the Mets recently paid Bay essentially the balance of what he was owed to just go away.

Now he’s looking for a job in 2013, and the Cubs have been connected to Bay. Joel Sherman reports that, although his primary suitors are the Indians and Mariners, the Cubs are also involved on the “periphery.” That suggests to me that they’ve inquired and maybe even made a modest offer.

Tim Brown says that Bay is nearing his decision on a team, so we could hear soon.

Somewhat disconcertingly, Sherman goes on to note that interest in Bay is sufficiently strong to merit a guaranteed deal, rather than a mere minor league deal/Spring Training invite. He’s not going to get much money, obviously, but that’s a guaranteed spot on the roster.

At age 34, though, you have to ask: how much value is there, even if he does bounce back?

The addition of Bay, particularly on a guaranteed deal would make a great deal more sense if the Cubs were planning to deal Alfonso Soriano, and needed to add two outfielders, rather than just one. Counting on Bay to be “the guy” in right field in 2013? Well, that’s about as white-flaggy (and not the good one with the “W” on it) as it gets. Bay essentially hasn’t played anywhere but left field since 2005.

Alternatively, Bay could simply be viewed as a 4th/5th outfielder type and bench bat – one whom the Cubs could try and put in a position to succeed (good matchups), and perhaps then shop as a bench bat at the deadline.

  • Barry

    Keppinger to WSux…

  • MightyBear

    Brett,

    I can’t download the podcast from I Tunes. Is anyone else having a problem? I got 1-6 but I can’t get 7. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks.

    • Cubbie Blues

      For what it’s worth I didn’t have a problem with iTunes at all.

    • MightyBear

      Never mind. I got it. Thanks.

  • Spencer

    The official song of the Chicago Cubs: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OdXsPQc8M-4

    You get the idea.

  • Cubbie Blues

    although his primary suitors are the Indians and Mariners

    Is that the Indianapolis Indians? I could see the Mariners (they are just crap).

  • Patrick W.

    Speaking of ROY seasons… here’s the 2002 list.

    OOF. Worst class ever?

    http://www.baseball-reference.com/awards/awards_2002.shtml#ALroy

    • calicubsfan007

      @Patrick: Yeah… Outside of Pena, Ellis, and maybe Lackey, they pretty much became bench warmers at best. I like the crazy last name of the guy from St. Louis and the fact that he sucked since then, which shows that even the “great” minor league system they have has misses. Haha, I hate those guys.

  • Whiteflag

    I like the sound of white-flaggy.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      I thought of you when I typed it.

  • MightyBear

    Damn. White Sox signed Keppinger. 3rd base is going to be an adventure this year.

    • Jeff

      Cubs never should have let go of Ramerez. They definitely didn’t need the money…. Not with a 70mil dollar payroll… Funny thing is that the Cubs bring in a much larger attendance than the WhiteSox yet the WhiteSox will have the much larger payroll. Can someone say no more excuses for Mr. Ricketts and family. Open up that wallet big guy!

      • TheIsland815

        The Cubs are going through a youth movement and building for the future. Ramirez didn’t fit that. It would have been a wasted contract to have him on the team. I realize you are saying no more excuses for the Ricketts family. But I’m curious. Did you pay attention to the fact that they hired Theo Epstein last year and announced how they were going to build this team from the ground up and that the Cubs would have 2-3 years of noncompetitive baseball? If you were aware of that, I am not sure I understand you saying they should have kept Ramirez and should be opening up the wallet.

        • cRAaZYHORSE

          Are you positive- did not THeo and Rickets claim that they were going after some big free agents last year? The hole at 3b is because the front office believed in Stewart not so mush as they did not sign Aram. This one 3b void is the front office mistake they gambled and lost on Stewart and Stewart is worth as mush as wet toilet paper,

          The money going to Aram was suppose to go towards those big free agents- yeah sounds like a bunch snake oil crap

          • bbmoney

            I don’t remember the front office ever saying they were going after some big free agents last year.

            I do remember them saying free agents are an important part of building a competitive team, but you don’t build a team through free agency.

            But maybe I’m pulling a Clemens and misremembering

      • http://www.hookersorcake.com hookersorcake

        Ramirez had declined in the field for 3 straight years and was close to becoming an absolute liability until he had a really nice year, better than the previous three, with the glove for Milwaukee.
        Remember the play where he dislocated his shoulder in 09. That was routine (for a mlb 3B) and he looked like a fat guy guy at a softball game. And once you dislocate a shoulder…
        So I get why the Cubs let him go. We weren’t going to be competitive for what little it looked like Aramis had left in the tank. And even with his great bounce back year, the Brewers still owe him 30 million over the next two years. Plus we got Pierce Johnson for him. It wasn’t a bad deal.

        • Kyle

          I remember something about parallel fronts.

    • DocPeterWimsey

      Good! I was afraid that the Cubs would sign him. (I’m not a fan….)

      • ottoCub

        agree ^

  • http://Espnchicago Old School

    Espn radio Chicago is announcing Kep is a White Sox per John H.

    • Cubbie Blues

      Looks like a 3yr / 12 million contract.

    • Frank

      So he basically makes 3/33 to probably be bad. Nice work if you can get it.

  • Whiteflag

    I think you meant that’s about as blue-flaggy as it gets. S/N: I’m glad the cubs retired the blue loss flag tradition.

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  • willis

    Looks like it’s Seattle for Bay. Which is fine. (prepares to get bashed) Why not let B-Jax play CF? This club as it stands, isn’t going to spend any money to sign any OF worth a crap. So, just stick the kid in CF and let him make it or break it. Who cares? This organization doesn’t give a damn about winning this season. If being the worst team in baseball is the goal which it seems, then why woud anyone care if Jackson is patrolling CF? He turns out to be ok…yay! He sucks, then so what. There are guys waitin in the wings to take over in a couple years. There is no better time to toss this dude into the fire than now. Becaus with a terrible rotation and maginal lineup, nothing good is happening anyway.

    May as well go down in fiery flames.

  • ssckelley

    Bay is a low risk with potential high reward. He just got paid a substantial amount of money to not play baseball for the Mets so I would think his top priority would be to land on a team that can give him the best opportunity to play every day so he can earn another contract in 2014. But his best position is in left field, which is where Soriano plays.

  • JulioZuleta

    This is always the time of year when I get reallllyyy tired of the phrase “kicking the tires.” Must have seen it 200 times on Twitter today.

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