Nov 19, 2009, 12:31 PM EST
SI.com’s Jon Heyman reports that Jason Bay has turned down a four-year, $60 million offer from the Red Sox and will officially hit the open market.
Not a shock, certainly. Bay was never going to accept $60 million, whether he ends up remaining in Boston or going elsewhere, and there was little reason for him to accept a deal of any kind before at least seeing what other offers are available.
As general manager Theo Epstein put it: “It’s not a surprise that a player that’s gone this far wants to see what’s out there.”
The assumption is that a) Bay would like to re-sign with Boston, b) the Red Sox are legitimately interested in bringing him back, and c) Epstein and company could turn their attention to Matt Holliday at some point if the market for Bay is crowded. Interestingly, the Cardinals have indicated that they aren’t interested in pursuing Bay if Holliday decides to leave St. Louis, so the left fielders simply swapping teams is highly unlikely.
As noted by Matthew Pouliot in his excellent, in-depth preview of this offseason’s free agent outfielders, once you get beyond Bay and Holliday there isn’t much available in terms of big bats. Johnny Damon, Hideki Matsui, Vladimir Guerrero, and Jermaine Dye are the best of the rest, but all come with question marks that could have teams that miss out on Bay and Holliday instead turning to the trade market for lineup help.
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