The New York Mets and outfielder Jason Bay agreed to end his time on the Major League Baseball club with a year and at least $16 million left on his contract.
Bay signed a four-year contract for at least $59 million as a free agent after an All-Star season with the Boston Red Sox in 2009 and never regained that form in New York. He hit 26 home runs in three years with the Mets, a total he either equaled or surpassed in five of his six seasons prior to joining the team.
Bay, 34, will become a free agent, the Mets announced today in an e-mailed statement. The team didn’t disclose the terms of the buyout.
“Jason has a tremendous work ethic,” Mets General Manager Sandy Alderson said in the statement. “Unfortunately, the results weren’t there and we are in a results-oriented business.”
The Mets were 230-256 in the three years Bay was with them, finishing fourth in the National League East division each season.
The National League Rookie of the Year in 2004, Bay was an All-Star with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2005 and 2006. He hit .318 with three home runs in the 2008 playoffs with the Red Sox and was named an All-Star for the third time in 2009, when he had a career-high 36 home runs and 119 RBI.
Bay batted .234 in 288 games for the Mets, with 124 runs batted in. Last year he hit a career-low .165 in 70 games, while missing time with concussion symptoms and a broken left rib.
“I still feel I have plenty to give to this game and that I can play baseball at a high level,” Bay said. “I have no regrets in signing with the Mets, other than that I wasn’t able to play to the level that the team, the fans and I all expected and that we weren’t able to win more games.”
Bay was owed $16 million in the final year of his contract, according to Baseball-reference.com, with ESPN putting the figure at $19 million. There was also a $17 million vesting option for a fifth season, Baseball-reference.com said.
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