D.O.B.: September 20, 1978
Weight: 205 lbs.
Draft: 22nd round, 2000 (Gonzaga University)
Resources: PLC | WTM | FI
Pre-2008: The Pirates acquired Bay from the Padres in August 2003 along with Oliver Perez and Corey Stewart in exchange for star outfielder Brian Giles. The trade immediately paid dividends for the Bucs, as Bay hit .291/.423/.506 in 79 at-bats to finish off the season. In 2004, his rookie year was delayed a little over a month as he recovered from offseason shoulder surgery. However, the injury did nothing to slow his hitting. Bay hit .282/.358/.550 with 26 home runs and brought home the award for National League Rookie of the Year. In 2005, the 26-year-old had his breakout season. He hit .306/.402/.559 with 44 doubles and 32 home runs. He also stole 21 bases and was caught only once. Bay seemed poised to become a superstar, and signed a four-year, $18.25 million contract extension in November 2005.
Bay began having knee problems in 2006, and his performance slightly diminished accordingly. He still posted exceptional numbers that season (.286/.396/.532 with 35 home runs), but his stolen base total dropped to 11.
In 2007, everything fell apart for Bay. He was solid early, hitting .312/.382/.540 with 10 home runs through the first 56 games. But suddenly, his swing disappeared. In the final 89 games, Bay hit .204/.291/.337 with 91 strikeouts in 368 plate appearances. He finished with an overall line of .247/.327/.418 with 21 home runs and 59 walks. It is hard to say precisely what caused his dramatic decline, but he was continuing to battle knee problems. Regardless, it was easily the worst season of his career, and it cast serious doubt on the future of his career.
After the season, with a new front office in place, the Pirates tried to deal Bay as part of a rebuilding plan. However, after his down season, few teams were willing to part with much of value in return. New general manager Neal Huntington decided to hang on to Bay and hope he returned to form in 2008.
2008 Outlook: Bay did indeed rebound in 2008. Through July 30, he hit .282/.375/.519. In addition, three walk-off hits contributed to a WPA that remained among the top five in Major League Baseball for most of the season. Seconds before the trade deadline, he was dealt to Boston in a three-team deal that also sent Manny Ramirez to the Dodgers. In return, the Pirates received Andy LaRoche and prospect Bryan Morris from Los Angeles along with Brandon Moss and Craig Hansen from the Red Sox. While the Pirates lost a star in Bay, they received four good young players that should go a long way to solidifying the team in the future.