Time to say goodbye to Bay

With age eroding Jason Bay's skills, it's time for the Mets to move on before his huge option vests. Mike Stobe/Getty Images

After a loss Tuesday night, the New York Mets are now 24½ games out of first place, and today on ESPN Insider we kiss them goodbye. Still, some positive signs remain for 2012 and beyond. Johan Santana seems to be making progress with his rehab starts in the minors, so a return to health could be on the horizon. Promising first baseman Ike Davis does not require foot surgery, which bodes well. Best of all, Jason Bay is hitting .266/.336/.477 since Aug. 1. Sure, it's not exactly what the Mets were hoping for when they gave him a four-year, $66 million contract prior to the 2010 season, but it might be the best six-week stretch he's had since joining the club and reason to believe he could at least earn some of that cash.

However, Bay's recent revival could be the worst thing that could happen to the Mets, because it might actually give the front office enough reason to talk itself into keeping Bay around for the life of the contract.

Why is this a bad thing? Because as good as his past 140 plate appearances have been -- and let's be honest, they're still not that good -- we have another 700 PAs as a Met that suggest he is toast. Not to mention the fact much of the recent damage he is doing is against pitchers who were called up when rosters expanded on Sept. 1, and are of Triple-A caliber. Having lived through the Roberto Alomar experience, Mets fans are quite familiar with the idea that good players can suddenly lose it in their early 30s, which is what appears to have happened with Bay. And even if he somehow can manage an .800 OPS in 2012, the Mets are still better off without him.