Given the amount of protection he’ll have in his new lineup, Jason Bay could very well thrive in Boston. But as a friend told me shortly after the Red Sox dealt one of the five greatest right handed hitters in history, “it’s just hard to welcome in losing players.”
And until he proves otherwise, Bay is just that. The guy has played very few meaningful baseball games throughout his entire life unless you count the World Baseball Classic a few years ago. Before that, it was the Little League World Series and I’m sorry, Williamsport in August just isn’t Yankee Stadium in October.
It will be hard enough coming over from a place where 90 losses is routine and replacing a guy who helped transform the Red Sox into a model franchise, but what makes it worse is that Bay comes to Boston knowing that everyone agrees that the Yankees, Angels and White Sox all got better this week, while the Red Sox got worse.
Of course that may not be completely true. Some will argue that, given everything that has happened, Bay is better for the Red Sox than Manny Ramirez. And when another friend asked how much of a difference protection in a lineup makes, my simple answer was this: It’s the difference between you knowing who Jason Bay is and not knowing who he is.
Unfortunately, that losing stigma just seems to stick out more than anything right now. It’s likely he’ll face similar backlash to what J.D. Drew dealt with all of last season. Of course, Drew responded with an excellent post season that led to a World Series ring.
And winning is all it comes down to in places like Boston. Just ask Drew. Just ask Paul Pierce. Bay might not hit like Manny, but he better win like him.