It's safe to say that nobody thought this would happen.
After all, it didn't happen to Roberto Alomar or Carlos Baerga. It didn't happen to Bobby Bonilla, Mo Vaughn or Victor Zambrano. It never even happened to Oliver Perez.
The list of underachieving Mets in recent years can go on and on, and not one of them, no matter how poorly they performed, was ever given money to just go away.
Nobody, not even a billionaire baseball owner, wants to give up on an investment until every opportunity for it to succeed has been exhausted, and understandably so. It's a practice that the Wilpons have strictly adhered to over the years when it comes to personnel. That is, until the Mets agreed to pay Jason Bay the money remaining on his contract to make him go away.
Surely nobody saw this coming, and why would they? Bay would be in the final year of his contract that was going to cost the team close to $17 million. Even for a billionaire, that's a lot of coin to swallow. Not to mention that even with Jason Bay, the Mets had arguably the worst outfield in all of baseball last season. Everything was lined up perfectly for the Mets to give him a final chance at making it in Queens.
Everyone from the outside looking in could see that this dysfunctional marriage needed to end as quickly as possible, and for once, shockingly, the Mets' brass agreed.
In a deal last week, Bay and the Mets agreed to terminate their relationship. Bay will be paid the remainder of his contract, with some of the payments being deferred over time, and in return Bay will not make Mets fans have to be spectators to the worst free-agent signing in their team's history any longer.
The deal brings to light two things. First, it's amazing how far Jason Bay has fallen, and how despite being an All-star performer in Pittsburgh and Boston, was never able to come close to that in New York. Bay has too good a resume to not be given a chance to play again, but one has to wonder if he's done for good, or if this is just another case of stage fright in front of the bright lights of the Big Apple.
Secondly, and most importantly to Mets fans, this brings a new way of thinking for the Mets front office, as the team is cutting their losses in an effort to make the team better now, rather than just continuing to go with something that hasn't worked and hoping for the best.
While anyone should understand that an owner does not want to (nor should be expected to) just throw money away or pay a player to play elsewhere, these are the type of concise decisions that successful businesses, and in this case winning teams, make.
Hopefully this is a sign of the way business will be handled in Queens from here on out. If it is, it could go a long way towards turning the Mets around much quicker than anyone expected.
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