Jason Bay and the Red Sox had agreed to a four-year contract during the middle of the 2009 season, according to Peter Gammons, but concerns about his knees stalled the deal:
"You had the same thing here with Jason Bay, when he agreed to the four-year, $60 million deal near the end of July and then the MRI showed some problems with both knees," said Gammons. "Ownership wanted it to be two years and he had to prove that he was healthy to be able to make it four years, and he wouldn’t sign. This is no reflection on [Red Sox team physician Dr. Thomas] Gill and the Red Sox doctors, because they are probably the best in any sport. But the fact is, there becomes this disconnect where the player says, ‘Is he doing this for the owners or is he doing this because of my knee?’ That independent panel, I think, will almost certainly be a compromise that the owners will make."
If this is true -- and we really have no reason to think it isn't -- then the Red Sox's lack of interest in Bay during the offseason is really due to health concerns. The Red Sox have obviously done this in the past with players like Pedro Martinez, but it wasn't as obvious in this case. We'll see how it works out for the Mets.