>Matt Holliday is Much Better than Jason Bay

>Matt Holliday is Matt Damon and Jason Bay is Ben Affleck; Holliday is “Happy Xmas (War is Over)” and Bay is “Wonderful Christmastime”; Holliday is “Raiders of the Lost Ark” and Bay is “Kingdom of the Crystal Skull”. Make no mistake about it, Matt Holliday is much better player than Jason Bay. It’s that simple. Matt Holliday is younger, a better hitter, and a better fielder than Jason Bay. I know this, Holliday’s agent, Scott Boras, knows this, Jason Bay knows a-boot this too, but I’m not so sure the Mets know this. The Mets reportedly offered Bay a $65mil/4year deal today. I see only two possible reasons why:

1. They actually think that paying ~$16mil a year for Bay is a better deal than paying Holliday ~$20mil a year.

Or, more intriguingly,

2. The Mets, with a deranged look in their eyes, have a gun pointed at their own head as they threaten to pull the trigger on Bay and leave Scott Boras with one less major market team to drive the bidding on Holliday. Boras suspects that the Mets are bluffing, but he can’t be sure because he saw them bid against their own split personality to sign Oliver Perez the year before. Both Boras and Met fans watch helplessly as the Mets click off the safety, sputtering nonsense like, “Bay is a pull hitter so his power plays better at Citi Field”, “the Green Monster messed with his defensive numbers”, and “Ghostbusters II, when you think about it, was really the better of the two films.” It could all be an act, but no one is sure anymore.

This is the horror of being a Mets fan right now. I have absolutely no faith in their ability to accurately assess players. I no longer even have faith in them to be simply competent, and I’m not alone. Ted Berg posted a piece today telling everyone not to panic about the contract offer to Bay. I really want to think the Mets know Jason Bay is worse than Matt Holliday, and thus this contract offer is just a negotiating ploy, but I’m not sure. Omar Minaya might actually think, because of the favorable Canadian exchange rate, Bay is a better value and actually pull the trigger on this.

Jason Bay is not a better value than Matt Holliday. Jason Bay may be worth the $16mil a year, but Matt Holliday is going to be worth more than the $20mil a year it will take to sign him. Look at both of their WAR from the last three years:

Over the past three years, Matt Holliday has accumulated the fifth most WAR by any position player. The only players in front of him are (the God of WAR) Albert Pujols, Chase Utley, Hanley Ramirez, and Alex Rodriguez (David Wright is sixth). Matt Holliday is right behind them. Jason Bay may be really good at hitting a baseball, but Matt Holliday is really really good at playing baseball.

Let me rehash the comparisons that have already been endlessly made. Both players can hit, with Holliday putting up .313/.394/.515 and Bay mashing .267/.384/.537 in 2009. Either one would be a great addition to the Mets’ line-up, but, and it’s a big Molina-sized but, the Mets happen to play in the National League. I may be mistaken about this, but I believe that is the league that doesn’t use the DH. I’m pretty sure either player would have to play defense if they signed with the Mets, and the comparison is not even close with the gloves on. UZR has Holliday as a well above average LF, and Bay as a well below average LF. This isn’t to say that Holliday is using a glove as well as Johnny Cochrane, since he is just being compared to others who play LF, such as Carlos Lee and Adam Dunn (winner of many Dunndies), but Holliday is adequate left fielder and Bay is a designated hitter stuck out in left field.

The Mets shouldn’t give Bay the same contract the Red Sox offer because Theo Epstein can stick Bay at DH after Big Papi’s contract expires next year. I think this is the Red Sox plan. They can maximize their value by getting him out of the field; the Mets don’t have a DH and paying him as much as the Red Sox will is an idea on par with Mrs. O’Leary saying to herself, “I’ll leave the cow alone with this oil-filled lantern in this dry straw-covered barn for a just minute. What’s the worst thing that could happen?”

Runs prevented on defense are just as valuable as runs scored on offense. 1 run = 1 run no matter offense or defense. Do Omar Minaya and the Mets know this? They should, because they are a major league baseball team. I hope this contract offer is just a negotiating ploy but I have a lingering fear that it’s not. The Mets might not really see the added value of Matt Holliday, who will only cost an extra $4mil a year. $4mil. That’s two Alex Coras.

This is my plea fellow Met fans: accept no substitutes. Call in WFAN and explain to Mike Francesa what a yuge mistake Jason Bay is. Organize a Holliday march outside of SNY studios. Don’t settle for Southside Johnny & the Asbury Jukes when you can have Bruce Springsteen & the E-Street Band; don’t be okay with watching Late Night with Jimmy Fallon when you could just as easily turn the TV off; don’t be grateful for Jason Bay when Matt Holliday is available for just a few (million) dollars more.

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