The Mariners made it official Saturday, signing free agent outfielder Jason Bay to a one-year contract. Bay will receive a reported $1 million with up to $2 million in additional incentives. Only $500,000 of the $1 million is guaranteed.
To make room on their 40-man roster, the Mariners designated LHP Mauricio Robles for assignment. The Mariners have 10 days to trade, release or outright Robles to the minor leagues. The Mariners’ 40-man is full with Bay’s signing.
Bay, 34, is a three-time National League All-Star (2005 and 2006 with Pittsburgh and 2009 with Boston). He has combined to hit .269 with 211 home runs in 1,210 career major league games with the Padres (2003), Pirates (2003-08), Red Sox (2008-09) and Mets (2010-12).
“I am glad we were able to put this together and bring Jason back to the Northwest to continue his baseball career,” said GM Jack Zduriencik. “This is a good opportunity for Jason as well as the Seattle Mariners. Jason has a history of being a productive major league player and has participated in postseason play. We look forward to adding his experience to our young group of players.”
Bay spent the last three seasons with the Mets, with whom he hit 26 home runs with 124 RBIs while being limited to 288 games due to four separate trips to the disabled list. Bay played in 70 games last season and hit eight home runs in 70 games and 194 at-bats. He was released after the season with $18.2 million remaining on the final year of his contract.
In 200 games with Boston in 2008-09, Bay batted .274 (196×715) with 45 home runs and 156 RBIs. Over a six-season stretch from 2004-09, Bay hit 181 home runs, 15th-most among major leaguers and fourth-most by an outfielder. He has also recorded four seasons during his career with 30 home runs, 100 RBIs and 100 runs scored (2005-06, 2008-09).
“Jason is a gritty, talented player with a winning attitude,” said Mariners manager Eric Wedge. “We know he has a passion for the game and looking forward to having him on the field.”
Bay won an American League Silver Slugger award in 2009 after recording career-highs with 36 home runs and 119 RBI in 151 games. He is a five-time National League Player of the Week and was named the 2004 National League Rookie of the Year with the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Bay grew up in Trail, B.C. (130 miles north of Spokane), played college baseball North Idaho College (Coeur d’Alene) and Gonzaga University and resides in Kirkland. Bay was selected by the Montreal Expos in the 22nd round of the 2000 June draft. Bay also:
- Led all major league outfielders with 2009 with 119 RBIs and tied for the lead with 36 home runs.
- Owns a career .988 fielding percentage with 66 outfield assists (has played exclusively in the outfield during his career (LF – 1170 G/1129 GS, CF – 40 G/37 GS, RF – 1 G/GS).
- Appeared in 14 postseason games with the Red Sox in 2008-09, batting .306 (15×49) with three home runs and nine RBIs.
- Was acquired by the Pittsburgh Pirates in a 2003 trade for Brian Giles, along with current Mariners LHP Oliver Perez.
- Won the West Coast Conference batting title as a senior at Gonzaga in 2000 with a .388 average (also 15 home runs); ranks third in Gonzaga history with 35 home runs despite playing just two seasons (1999-2000).
- Played for Canada in the 2006 and 2009 World Baseball Classic, combining to bat .467 (7×15) in five games.
- Ranks 3rd among Canadian born major leaguers with 211 career home runs (Larry Walker – 383, Matt Stairs – 259).
- Played in the 1990 Little League World Series in Williamsport, PA.