Jason Lee "Jay" Payton (born November 22, 1972 in Zanesville, Ohio) is a Major League Baseball outfielder for the Colorado Rockies. He has played for the New York Mets (1998-2002), Colorado Rockies (2002-2003), San Diego Padres (2004), Boston Red Sox (2005), Oakland Athletics (2005-2006) and Baltimore Orioles (2007-2008). He bats and throws right-handed. Payton is an opposite-field hitter with some power. As a runner, he has decent instincts but he is not a base stealer. Defensively, he is a solid outfielder with an average arm, although his quickness getting rid of the ball helps him hold baserunners on the base paths. He can play all three positions in the outfield. Jay lives in North Carolina during the off season and has a son named Preston who was born in July 2004.
Payton attended Zanesville High School in Zanesville, Ohio, and starred in soccer, basketball, and baseball. He was also an excellent student and graduated 4th in his class. While in Zanesville Payton played for the Junior Pioneers.
Selected by the Mets in the first round (29th pick) of the 1994 amateur draft, Payton hadn't fulfilled the great expectations he projected in Georgia Tech when he rated ahead of his teammates Nomar Garciaparra and Jason Varitek. He debuted in 1998, and after ankle, foot and back injuries in three of his first four seasons, he eventually had to alter his hitting style. With limited duty in 2001, the Mets finally gave up on him and was traded to the Rockies during the 2002 season.