How much better are the Mets with Bay?

Red Sox-RoyalsAfter wavering about signing a high end outfielder the Mets eventually caved and have agreed on a four year deal with Jason Bay worth $66 million, or an average of $16.5 million.

The Mets had bee n in talks with both Bay and Matt Holliday about filling their left field spot.

Angel Pagan who hit .306/.350/.487 in 383 at-bats last season with 8 homers and 32 RBI now moves into the position as the teams fourth outfielder.

Bay finished last year with a .267/.384/.537 line and compiled his second season of 100-plus RBI as he finished with 119 aided by 36 homers.

With the transformation from Fenway to Citi Field it’s likely Bay’s numbers could see a small dip but at 31 years of age Bay still has plenty of years of hitting the ball well and playing sub-par defense ahead of him.

With the exception of left field the Mets didn’t have much to address on the offensive side of the ball entering this winter so barring the always rumored trade of Luis Castillo it’s likely the Mets are done adding impact players to the lineup.

Clearly on paper the Mets were expected to do better then the 70-92 record they put up last season but that didn’t factor in costly injuries most notably Carlos Beltran, Jose Reyes and Carlos Delgado.

Daniel Murphy, who had far better second half, figures to improve going forward while expecting David Wright to be held to 10 homers and 72 RBI again would be foolhardy.

It’s difficult to project the Mets based on last year. Without the heart of their lineup they finished 12th in runs scored in the NL and last in homers. Oddly the Mets actually led the NL with a .270 batting average and were 7th in OBP but their 12th place rank in slugging made it difficult to score.

In addition only Mike Pelfry (10-12, 5.03) made more then 30 starts last season and Livan Hernandez (7-8, 5.47) actually made 23 starts for the club. Here’s the current depth chart of Met pitchers and their number of starts last season Johan Santana (25), Pelfry (31), John Maine (15), Oliver Perez (14) and Jonathan Niese (2).

It’s safe to say that the Mets are due for improvement this year but to what degree.

What do you think? Does Jason Bay push the Mets into contention? Is he just another example of what money can buy? Is the quartet

of Reyes, Beltran, Wright and Bay one of the best in the majors? Will Bay help the team avoid a late season collapse?