After a few days of waiting, the Seattle Mariners made it official on Saturday, announcing the signing of free agent outfielder Jason Bay.
Reports of the deal surfaced a few days ago at the baseball winter meetings in Nashville, but it wasn’t finalized immediately. The Mariners also needed to make a 40-man roster move to make room for the 34-year-old native of British Columbia. To do that, left-hander Mauricio Robles was designated for assignment.
While the Mariners don’t release details of contracts, sources confirmed that Bay will make $1 million in salary, contingent on making the 25-man roster out of spring training. If he does not, he will get $500,000. The deal also includes $1 million in incentives.
“Jason is a gritty, talented player with a winning attitude,” Mariners manager Eric Wedge said. “We know he has a passion for the game and are looking forward to having him on the field when we get things going in a few months in Peoria.”
Bay, who played college ball at Gonzaga and lives in Kirkland, is coming off three injury-riddled, unproductive years with the New York Mets.
After a 2009 All-Star season with the Boston Red Sox where he hit .267 with 36 homers, 119 RBI and a .921 on-base plus slugging percentage (OPS), Bay signed a 4-year, $66 million contract with the Mets.
But injuries and slow starts made him the face of the Mets’ struggles during subsequent losing seasons. Bay played in 288 games for the club over the past three seasons. He had 1,125 plate appearances, and hit .234 with a .318 on-base percentage and a .369 slugging percentage. He also struck out 285 times and made four trips to the disabled list.
This past season he was plagued by concussion effects and then saw his playing time dwindle. The Mets finally decided to buy out his contract and let him become a free agent.
Bay was owed $16 million in salary, a buyout worth $3 million and $2 million from his signing bonus. He will get that money this season along with money from the Mariners.
Bay first made his mark in baseball with the Pirates, earning the National League Rookie of the Year award in 2004 after hitting .282 with 26 homers and 84 RBI. He had two more All-Star seasons with the Pirates before being traded to the Red Sox in 2009. In 200 games in Boston, he hit .274 with 45 homers and 156 RBI.
Robles, who was acquired by the Mariners a few years ago in the trade that sent Jarrod Washburn to the Tigers, never really found consistency. In 2012, he made five starts and one relief appearance in Tacoma and was 0-3 with a 9.86 earned-run average. He was sent to Double-A Jackson and pitched in relief. In 37 appearances, he was 2-2 with a 4.09 ERA.Ryan Divish: 253-597-8483 email@example.com blog.thenewstribune.com/mariners @RyanDivish