Let's give Jason Bay this benefit of the doubt because — if nothing else — the Mets certainly believe his failure as a Met is about caring too much, not too little.

It is about the left fielder falling into a hole instantly in 2010 and losing confidence while gaining advice. It is about a destructive cycle of wanting to please so much that too many voices got beyond the velvet rope in his brain, too much counsel was heeded to tinker here and readjust there.

His ears became a meeting place for the well intentioned to feed a series of recommendations that worked as harmoniously with one another as oil and water. Executives around the Mets couldn't remember an accomplished player who turned every at-bat into a mandate on the positioning of his hands, the angling of a foot.

Bay admits he got so bogged down with the perfection of each individual body part that the whole mechanism became crippled, bat speed lost to analysis. Pretty soon even a search party couldn't find Bay's swing or recalibrate his thought process. He was in a vortex spinning away from who he was and melding further into some horrible conglomeration of doubts, insecurities and a bundle of counter-productive suggestions.

Throw in a 2010 concussion and the lingering effects that seemed to stick around just to add more mental anguish, to taunt a guy already hounded by uncertainty and bedeviled by the hollow results astride his substantial contract.