Though I’m having troubling figuring out why Jay Payton (two doubles in last night’s 2-0 loss to Pittsburgh) thought he’d more than a part timer on a team that features Manny Ramirez, Johnny Damon and Trot Nixon, I suppose we can try to look at things from his perspective. From Michael Silverman in Saturday’s Boston Herald.
“There’s probably a half a dozen other teams, a dozen other teams, I could be playing for,” Payton said. “Actually, as far as playing time, this is one of the worst situations I can be in because if I’m hitting .800 I still wouldn’t be playing any more than I am right now because they’ve got their boys.”
“In all reality, for me to come here, this is the last place you’d really want to be as far as a guy that’s coming in and looking to play and used to playing every day,” said Payton. “You come here and look at the outfield and say, `Man, I might never play.’ Everyone can say whatever they want, but bottom line is, I like to play baseball. I don’t like to watch baseball.
“So, hopefully people can understand how I feel that way. It has nothing to do with Boston or the team – it’s a great team. If it were different circumstances, if I were 36 or 37, I’d love to be the fourth outfielder on this team. But I’m not. I’m 32, somewhat in the prime of my career, making more money than I’ve ever made this year and I’m sitting on the bench for the first time in my career.”
The Sox, who have had ongoing discussions with Payton and his agent, have had no luck in making a trade.
Payton said when he was traded to the Sox from San Diego last December in the Dave Roberts deal, he was told he would have 350-400 at-bats because of assumed injuries to Ramirez and Nixon.
After appearing in 45 of the Sox’ first 65 games, Payton has 103 at-bats and is on pace for 257. Having averaged 470 at-bats his last five seasons, he is worried about his next job.
“If you don’t win a World Series, anything short of winning a World Series, I’ll look at this season as a complete disappointment and failure, pretty much, a wash for me. I guess we’d better win a World Series.”
(UPDATE : nice timing Payton hit a 2 run HR today off the Pirates’ Kip Wells, Matt Clement blanking Pittsburgh, 8-0.)