The very 1st thing Pirates President Frank Coonelly said about trading away Jason Bay is that the Pirates will miss Bay as a PERSON. Now THAT is something that you will NEVER hear uttered about Manny.
I am not hear to bash Manny- he was very entertaining and a great, great hitter, but he was not a role model. Enter Jason Bay- a relatively humble multi-million dollar baseball player. So how do we explain this oxymoron? Let’s start with his hometown of Trail, British Columbia, population 7,237, a few miles north of the US-Canada border.
Bay was drafted by the Montreal Expos and was traded to the Mets, and then to the Padres (on his 1st trading deadline day deal, July 31, 2002) where he made his major league debut. Guess it was not quite an impressive enough debut because soon after he was sent to the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Bay is 6-2, 205 pounds. While not exceptionally fast, he is a good baserunner, stealing 21 straight bases a few years ago before finally being caught (he is 7 for 7 this season). His career batting average is .281, while this season hitting 22 home runs with 64 runs batted in.
Here is where I think Bay should fit in. The Red Sox can put J.D. Drew into the cleanup spot to replace Manny (Drew’s numbers have been equal to Manny’s this season and oh yah, Drew is being paid clean-up hitter type numbers at 14 Mill/year), and then you put Bay into Drew’s spot in the batting order, taking the pressure off the newcomer.
While fans will miss Manny, you (AND his new Red Sox teammates) are going to like Jason Bay.