SEATTLE – Jason Bay took a glance at the Seattle Mariners’ 40-man roster and suddenly realized how unique he will be.
He’s one of only two players on that current roster who was born in the 1970s.
“I don’t feel like I’m that old, but I guess I am around here,” the 34-year-old Bay said Monday.
While he may not exactly fit the Mariners’ model of relying on young prospects to rebuild the franchise, Bay could fill a significant need for Seattle in the 2013 season. He was introduced on Monday after his one-year contract with the Mariners was finalized during the weekend.
Bay said he hopes a fresh start with the Mariners can put three seasons of struggles – mostly due to injuries – with the New York Mets in the past.
“Where ever I ended up was going to be a fresh start and the chance to do it here in my backyard, so to speak, will be nice,” said Bay, who grew up in British Columbia and played at North Idaho College and Gonzaga University. “That’s all I was looking for. It didn’t work out for whatever reason and it was kind of a mutual split. I want to start fresh and wipe the slate clean and that’s what I get to do here.”
After signing a $66 million, four-year deal with the Mets before the 2010 season, the three-time All-Star hit .234 in three injury-plagued seasons with 26 homers and 124 RBIs, including a .165 average with eight homers and 20 RBIs this year. Sidelined by concussions and rib injuries, he played just 288 games for the Mets.
Seattle doesn’t expect this to be the end of its search for offense. The Mariners have been linked to discussions with free agents Josh Hamilton and Nick Swisher, among others.
As usual, general manager Jack Zduriencik remained tight-lipped.
“We’re going through a lot of dialogue,” he said.