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Report: Mets, Marlins talked Jason Bay swap

Jason Bay bats in the sixth inning of

Jason Bay bats in the sixth inning of a game against the Yankees. Credit: Jim McIsaac

Jason Bay is in the Mets lineup Thursday afternoon at AT&T Park, and has already knocked in two runs during the first inning.

But the slugger-turned-disappointment might have been suiting up for Miami tonight had some trade deadline talk went a little further.

Ken Rosenthal cites major league sources as saying the Mets and Marlins discussed a trade that would have sent Bay to Miami and shipped reliever Heath Bell and catcher John Buck to New York.

Rosenthal notes that a deal was never close.

Bay was hitting .157 coming into Thursday with five home runs. After several All-Star seasons with the Pirates and Red Sox, the oft-injured Bay has struggled with the Mets. “Struggled” might be putting it too lightly: he's hitting .239 with 23 home runs during his three seasons in New York.

Buck signed with the Marlins before the 2010 season, coming off a standout campaign in Toronto. But his performance dropped off and he's hitting .169 with eight home runs this season. The Mets have been reported to be looking for a catcher, so a Buck acquisition could make some sense.

Bell, the former Met who became an All-Star closer in San Diego, has been sacked from the closer role in Miami due to poor results. He's 2-5 with a 5.57 ERA and 19 saves. Ugly numbers to be sure, but the Mets are currently welcoming back a closer with a 4.97 ERA and 18 saves in Frank Francisco.

The trade would have been a classic “change of scenery” move, and the contracts somewhat match up.

Bay has one year and $16 million remaining on his contract with a $17 million option for 2014 that vests based on plate appearances.

Buck has one year and $6 million left on his deal.

Bell has two years at $9 million per year left on his contract. There's also a $9 million team option for 2015 that becomes guaranteed based on performance.

That would mean the Mets absorb $24 million with a possible $9 million more, for a total of $33 million.

The Marlins, meanwhile, would absorb $16 million with the possibility for $17 million more, a total of $33 million.

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