According to John Tomase and Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald, the Yankees have reached out to Jason Bay‘s agent to express interest in the free agent outfielder.
The source said Bay expects to make a final decision in the next couple of days, with the Mets, Angels and Mariners the front-runners for his services. However, lurking in the weeds are Yankees, who have reached out to Bay’s representatives to express their interest, the source said.
The Yankees are not believed to have made an offer, and it was unclear last night exactly how strong their interest is, but it goes without saying that in matters of free agency, they never can be discounted.
This sounds more like a move where the Yankees are checking in to make sure a couple of their rivals, the Red Sox and the Mets, don’t sign Bay on the cheap. With the Sox signing Mike Cameron yesterday they don’t have much need for Bay anymore and if they’re not able to get him at some sort of discount it almost guarantees that he won’t return.
The Yankees are still in the market for a left fielder and they’ve always been one to love a big bat, but it is hard to see them having real interest in Bay. For one thing if they were going to pay big dollars for a left fielder then Matt Holliday is younger and a better defender. Even if it would take less years to sign Bay, the difference in the two outfielders ages wipes out that advantage. Bay might be slightly cheaper, but giving the Red Sox their first round draft pick is not something the Yankees would be thrilled about.
My fear is that this could be a reactionary move since the Red Sox signed two possible Yankee targets: Cameron and John Lackey. If that’s the case they would be making a mistake, between the amount they would be paying Bay, his poor defense (-11.4, -18.2, -11.2 UZR/150 over the past three years), and the fact that he is already on the wrong side of 30, the Yankees would almost certainly regret this contract.
No offer has been made yet and there is a big difference between a team discussing a free agent and making an offer. Just yesterday we found out the Yankees were talking to Brian Giles’ agent and it is highly doubtful that they are really interested in him. Hopefully they’re just checking in to make sure that now that the Red Sox are not interested in Bay his salary demands don’t drop to the point where someone is getting a sweetheart deal.