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McClatchy on Bay

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Not to look for dark clouds, but I find one thing about this article annoying and another disturbing.

The annoying part comes, unsurprisingly, from Kevin McClatchy, who wants to make this signing out to be something it isn't:

"We're serious about keeping our young players here," owner Kevin McClatchy said. "That's one thing we said we have to do. We have to develop players and we have to keep the right ones...

"I think Jason's popular with the fans, and he represents the team extremely well. He's very polished and very genuine. He's one of the most humble, down to earth players I've been around. He's a terrific guy. We need to keep players like Jason Bay.

"...We're looking forward to building around him."

Again, this contract has nothing - NOTHING - to do with keeping Bay, building around Bay, or keeping young players. The Pirates are as free to trade Bay in three years as they were yesterday. In fact, as WTM pointed out in a comment at OnlyBucs, they might even be more free, depending on the terms of the deal, because Bay might have gotten expensive in his last two years of arbitration. I'm assuming this contract is backloaded a bit, but probably not by as much as his salaries would have been had he gone to arbitration. Now, the Pirates know he won't be prohibitively expensive in the years they're most likely to deal him.

This isn't a bad thing, by any means. It might mean they'll get a much better deal if they do try to trade Bay in a couple years. But it has nothing to do with keeping young players. Pirates fans aren't any more assured of having Bay in town in three years than they were before the deal was signed.

The disturbing part comes from Bay himself:

Bay can become a free agent after the 2009 season. Can he envision staying with the Pirates at that point?

"You never know where the team is going to be and where the market is going to be," Bay said. "If we get there and we're where we want to be and we're doing well, I have no problem staying."

"I have no problem staying"?! Translation: "I can't wait to get out of here."

UPDATE: Rotoworld reports the terms of the deal are as follows: $750,000 for 2006 plus a $1 million signing bonus; $3.25 million for 2007; $5.75 million for 2008; and $7.25 million in 2009. To put this in perspective, the Astros paid Lance Berkman $10.5 million in his last year of arbitration, $3.25 million less than Bay will make in what would have been his. There's risk here, but there's also, in my view, a very good chance that Bay will still be putting up Berkman-like numbers in 2009. If he is, his trade value will be very high if he's making $7.25 million.