The Bay saga had several twists

Great job of reporting by Rob Bradford of, giving readers an in-depth look at all the twists and turns that ultimately led to no deal between Jason Bay and the Red Sox.

First, Bradford confirmed what was reported earlier this week by’s Peter Gammons — that Bay and the Sox had agreed on a four-year, $60 million deal in July, only to have it fall apart due to a medical dispute. Bradford’s account is the first time that Bay confirms the story.

“That,” Bay tells Bradford, “is just one-tenth of the story.”

Bay took a physical in July, and the Red Sox’s medical staff had some red flags, namely the condition of the left fielder’s knees. Bay’s agent Joe Urbon had come to Boston, presumably for a press conference announcing the new deal. Instead, general manager Theo Epstein informed him of the team’s concerns, and the deal was put on hold.

The Red Sox said that they would keep Bay’s AAV — average annual value — the same, at $15 million per year. But they wanted protection in the third and fourth year, in the event Bay’s knees and shoulder acted up. The team also wanted Bay to undergo surgery at the end of the 2009 season.

Bay felt that his knees were fine and sought the advice of another doctor, who confirmed his belief.

The sides revisited the situation in the offseason, when Urbon informed Epstein of the second opinion. The sides than agreed to get a third opinion, and once again, Bay was given a clean bill of health.

On the first night of the Winter Meetings, according to Bradford, Epstein updated his proposal and made it three years guaranteed, with protection for the fourth year. The Red Sox also wanted Bay to pay part of the insurance policy he would need.

“Listen, I could understand the club wanting all these medical contingencies if I had spent any recent time on the DL,” Bay said to, “but I had no history of being a risk for injuries and I wasn’t hurt.”

At any rate, Bay found another suitor — the Mets — that didn’t share Boston’s concerns about his long-term health. And that was where he ended up.

If Bay has knee problems at some point over the next four years, the Red Sox will be proven right to take the conservative approach they did. If not, perhaps they will have regrets about losing out on the slugging left fielder, who fit in so well to the fabric of the team during his year and a half.


Ian.. Can you find out how MLBBLOGS rates their “leaders”?? For some reason, your blog is always right around 10th-13th. I am just curious as to what criteria the powers that be in this case use.

Nothing shocks me about this Bay situation. Really, it just makes me wonder what the front office and those involved with team trasactions really do to help the team.

Very good interview article by Bradford. I think Theo will want to file that interview under “What the Red Sox Didn’t Want You to Know”. I can’t say I blame Bay for not signing the contract that the Red Sox offered him–I am not sure why ANYONE would! Not a good way to go about negotiations! Good luck to J-Bay.

Like Ian said, If he has knee or shoulder problems the RedSox will look like geniuses, if not they look stupid.
I can understand both sides of the coin here. I don’t blame either for the stance they took.

Hi ya Ellen! Hi ya Greg! I can’t say I blame Bay, if this truly is how the situation played itself out. This is akin to say…. a company that deals in hazardous waste requesting the employee, who has no history of skin conditions or breathing problems for example, to sign a contract that states they’re guaranteed “x” amount of money but if something should happen during the course of the contract, the employee becomes the responsible party. Yeah. Sure. Part of being an athlete is getting injured — an occupational hazard. My wife reminds me sometimes of the terrible knee injury that cut short my time on the field and says she’s thankful that it happened, otherwise we’d have never met (sweet, huh?) but it doesn’t completely soften the blow that it dealt. As they say, “sheet happens” and there’s no real way to guage what’s coming until you get there. I can see an owner wanting a guarantee for his money and I can see a player wanting a long-term contract from his employeer (with guarantees tossed in as well), but there’s a point you reach where you have to take a chance on each other. Theo decided not to. Neither did Bay. Bay saw that the Mets were willing to take that chance on him and he appreciated that….The other thing that comes to mind is, just how much money does one need to live on to guarantee his family quality of life until retirement? Heck, we’d do just fine on a fraction of what this contract pays! So to demand more and more money is borderline ridiculous. I think Theo wins this tug-o-war because he can get similar results for less payout. If Bay really wanted to be a Red Sox, he’d have signed the waiver.

I hear ya, Jim, on the “how much money does one need to guarantee retirement” idea. I have said as much before, that there is nary a player in the majors right now that will have any trouble “surviving” if he manages his money right. Bay is not an exception to that, and I think he also recognizes that. I don’t think that is what Bay’s problem was, though–he did not want to be treated differently, if the doctors consulted saw no reason for concern (and the majority did not). Bay reportedly also went out of his way to get multiple opinions, when he could have done otherwise, so he was not exactly being obstinate, either. Salaries ARE way out of whack in pro sports, incl. in MLB. But that horse already left the barn. Bay didn’t want to be treated differently, and I can understand that (been there, done that). I’d have done the same thing Bay did, and if that makes me a minority, so be it.

I give Bradford a ton of credit, reporting on a story you were obviously afraid to report on Brown. Bradford is a real spoets reporter, your nothing more than a Theo Epstein kiss-***. You’d do anything to kiss up to keep your job you no talent bum. As for Epstein, he shows his true colors, and this more than justifies my loathing of him. Our team will only get beeter if he is pushed out.

You have to wonder why Lackey wasn’t put under more scrutiny as he has been injured the last 2 years . Did he have to pay for his insurance ? He certainly didn’t get a 2 year deal with options , Sox signed him for 5 years at 82.5 mil. Best of luck to Bay

tginri.. and maybe one day you’ll learn how to spell. As I said in a much earlier post (actually your last one) if you don’t like Ian, so be it, but why not go to Bradfords website and praise him and not subject us to your bad grammar and spelling and your complaint vomit!!! Just know that you’ll take some s-h-i-t over here when you bad mouth Ian.. We like him just fine and we’ve done far better than great without you. jack a–s–s–.

Just what I want.. a BEETER team!!!

To be fair, Nakedtruth, Lackey does in fact have that kind of “club option” as “injury insurance”. If Lackey does get elbow troubles, as he has had in the relatively recent past (he has missed time each of the last two years), and he misses “significant time”, his salary goes to the “league minimum” of $400,000. So yes, there is an “injury clause” in Lackey’s contract. Bay simply pointed out that, while such a clause would have made sense if Bay had been injured, he had not had that kind of injury history, so he did not understand why he was being viewed as an “injury risk”.

tgrini, get the hell outta here.

Greg…The club option (with injury clause) is only for 2015 and league minimum is if he is injured . The 2010 – 2014 money is guaranteed as shown below in the Globe article. I agree with Bay’s statement and have to wonder if Sox just wanted out of the deal with Bay

John Lackey’s five-year, $82.8 million contract with the Red Sox includes a “conditional club option” for 2015 at the league minimum.

Interesting. The option would only kick in if an old elbow injury forces Lackey to miss significant time after surgery. The big-money deal deal is front-loaded, with $18 million in 2010 and $15,250,000 every year from 2011-2014. Lackey, 31, was 11-8 with 3.83 ERA and 1.27 WHIP over 27 starts last season.
Source: Boston Globe

Here is the article and a better explaination of Lackey’s contract option . Maybe if they had said to Bay, we will give you 4 yrs at 60 mil and if you get injured, we have an option for a 5th yr at league minimum, Bay might still be with the Sox…..the business of baseball

Not disputing you there at all, Nakedtruth. I’d have preferred it if the FO had posed that possibility to J-Bay also. As I said before, I don’t blame J-Bay for not taking the offer.
Take care.

Hi All! Yea..I know..been neglectful….:-) The Hot Stove season is winding down…I am SOOOOO ready for baseball and to see how this “new” team will play. I am still unsure what will happen to Mikey – I think keeping him so he can play when Big Papi goes into another hitting slump will be critical for the team. Hope Theo can figure that one out! And I am baffled by the Yankees and Damon. I know – he has the agent from hell – but all things considered it is surprising that the Yankees have not signed him for the season.

AND today – in the AFC, really? Have to pull for one of two teams who I NEVER WANT to see win…okay…since one of them has to go to the Super Bowl – my prediction is that it will be an Indy-Vikings Super Bowl!!

February 12th – TRUCK DAY!!! WHOOO HOOOO!!!

Nakedtruth, sorry if my initial comment on Lackey’s contract was unclear. I was not at all trying to say that Lackey’s contract and Bay’s were equivalent in the type of injury clauses they had, just that Lackey did in fact have an injury clause. My only point was that the Red Sox FO must have had some concern of their own when they put the clause in there for Lackey. And like I said before, I don’t blame J-Bay for not taking the contract with the clause in it, since he had not had such an injury history—I would not have. Sorry–I didn’t think I’d be misunderstood there. Take care.

Greg , that is the problem with the typed word , you don’t get the inflection of a voice . I forgot there was a “conditional clause” in Lackey’s contract albeit a rather strange one . I think most players would love a 5 year – 82.5 mil contract and if you get an injury you still get the money but have to play a 6th year ( option yr ) at league minimum . When that player is in his 30s , it’s probably his last big contract so really not much to lose. It just surprised me Lackey was signed for 5 yrs with his injury history , yet they pulled back on Bay’s contract . I agree with you , Bay shouldn’t have taken the contract . Take care as well , nice talking with you

This situation with may allowed me to realize one thing about baseball — I don’t know all the facts.
Still, despite this new revelation, I’m still puzzled about Theo. He seems to be a reactionary but again, I’m not sitting next to him. In addition, I’d love to see the actual medical reports and really know what’s going on. I’m hearing from Bay that, according to him, outside of the Sox doctors, everyone else seems to not have a problem with the situation. I think Theo feels a little burned from Schilling (an obvious Yankee fan apparently) and Mike Lowell but if that’s true, then he ignores the obvious problem with baseball — it’s unpredictable.
Having said that, all I can say is that I look forward too and dread the new baseball season. We’ll see.
p.s. Did anyone read Carlton Fisk’s rant about steroids in the Boston paper on line. They were great. Fisk has a brain and is obviously passionate about the sport.

Well, right now no one is trusting the Mets’ medical staff to put a band-aid on. If I were a betting man, I’d say Bay will have some problems with-in the next three years. The fact that Theo is concerned and the Mets are not is good enough for me. Visiting the DL is standard operating proceedure in Flushing these days.

good ol theo. it’ll be really interesting in a couple of years, once that “bridge” is complete, to compare the numbers of those “elite prospects” with those of the players theo has passed on over the past couple of years. it just amazes me that an org with the resources of the sox would gamble on unproven prospects who don’t even project to be major league ready for 2 yrs vs. some proven commodities who are in the prime of their careers.

Has anyone else noticed that every year Scott Boras has one client who prices himself right out of the market?? Last year it was our Beloved Captain.. This year seems to be Johnny What’s-his-name’s turn!! Dont stand in the way, you might get knocked down by the crowds of people chasing Damon to sign him…lol..
I do always say, what goes around, comes around. He is now getting just what he deserves for his bloated self-saturated ego!!!!

Brooklyn I hear you. It can get frustrating watching some of the big names pass by but I kind of get this higher satisfaction seeing some of our young talent (Pedroia, Ellsbury, Buck, Pap, Bard) make a credible impact on the team as opposed to Yankeein’ the hell out of the free agent market. But I think you’re right about comparing Theo’s “elite prospects” to the likes of those guys but I think it would be unfair to compare them to free agents we haven’t signed because I think value, availability, and offers by other teams play a large roll in us not acquiring them.

I sure hope the Sox keep Mike Lowell, I call the guy the Quiet Assassin. Cant have enough of these guys on a team.
Rooting for the Saints, can you imagine if they win, and Mardis Gras I think starts right after that. Maybe Karma.
Anyway sure wish I had an extra week of vacation.
Take Care.

Hey everyone. Hope you all had a great holiday season and the New Year brings you all good health and happiness. As for me, I’ve been down hard for a while with some back and nerve issues and will be heading for the knife on February 8th. Doc says in six months I’ll be ready to resume my role in the Sox bullpen.

As far as Bay is concerned, if he was truly healthy, and there is nothing to hide, there was no reason for him not to sign with the Sox. The protection the Sox were looking for should not even have been a factor to him. Apparently, they were. Somewhere along the line, someone must have seen something that caused the Sox to have concerns.

I think the Lackey deal is a joke. How can you justify paying 85 million over 5 years to a guy averaging 165 innings a year for the past two years. I wonder if there is any protection in that contract?

Garry, I think it was the other way around with Bay. I think some thing(s) was said to BAY that caused HIM concern. As for “protection” in Lackey’s contract, see the link Nakedtruth left, in our discussion above.
I hope things go well for you with your surgery!

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