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Mets viewed Lackey a bigger health risk than Bay

03.12.10 at 7:46 am ET

FORT MYERS, Fla. — According to a major league source, the Mets viewed John Lackey as a bigger medical risk to sign at five years than they did committing to Jason Bay at four.

It should be noted that the Mets did have strong interest in Lackey when the Red Sox got the pitcher to commit to a five-year, $82.5 million deal. Bay ultimately inked a four-year contract with the Mets worth $64 million, that includes a fifth-year vesting option.

Lackey’s contract with the Red Sox includes medical contingencies that protect the team against the pitcher missing significant time with a pre-existing elbow injury. The Sox’ concerns with Bay mostly revolved around the outfielder’s knees, which the Mets didn’t deem enough of a concern to prevent a deal.

‘€œWe liked Lackey,’€ said Mets general manager Omar Minaya during his team’s game with the Red Sox, Thursday. ‘€œWe thought Lackey was probably the best starting pitcher out there. As for as Bay, we thought we needed a power hitter. Give Boston credit, they were aggressive. At the time of the winter meetings we talked to both of them and they were very aggressive going after Lackey. I’€™ll give them credit. They liked the guy, they went after him right away.’€

As for how Bay felt about the Red Sox’ signing of Lackey …

‘€œYou look at it now and it’€™s genius,’€ Bay said Thursday. ‘€œLook at that pitching staff and it’€™s ridiculous. But at the time it didn’€™t look like there was a need. But it was a great move.

‘€œIt surprised me because you hear all the stuff that goes on and his name wasn’€™t connected with the Red Sox and then all of a sudden, boom, done. Usually people get wind of things like that. They’€™re good at doing their own thing, but of all the team he was rumored to go to, then it was the Red Sox.’€

Minaya also said that the hestiancy the Red Sox had regarding Bay’s defense were not an issue for New York.

‘€œI was not concerned,’€ Minaya said. ‘€œWe had seen him in the National League. We didn’€™t see what people were talking about. I can understand it. When you play left field at Fenway Park it’€™s not easy. Guys can look back at that left field wall. ‘€œ

For the complete story of how Bay felt about the Red Sox’ commitment to Lackey click here.

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