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Is a Divorce Between Wright and the Mets Inevitable?



By Mike Silva ~ February 19th, 2012. Filed under: New York Mets.

“I think that his future is independent of club performance,” Alderson said of Wright at the Mets’ spring-training complex yesterday. “There are certain decisions that one takes that are a function of where a team is at a particular time and so forth, but if there’s anybody on the team whose performance and future is independent of the club’s performance, I think it’s David’s.”

It didn’t take long for the questions about David Wright‘s future to be discussed. A year ago, it was Jose Reyes and Carlos Beltran that became season-long topics. This year, it will be Wright, but the stakes are higher since these questions surround the face of the franchise.

Debate it all you want, but I think it was never a question as to who the face of the Mets has been in recent years. Since his debut on July 21st, 2004, Wright has been the New York Mets. He’s everything you want in a superstar- good looking, marketable, personable, says the right (no pun intended) thing and, most important, loyal; sometimes to a fault. You won’t find him on the back pages with whispers of drug use or a DUI mug shot. Wright even recently revealed that he selling his $7-million dollar penthouse and returning to his roots in Virginia. He is almost too down-to-earth to be a superstar. I always remember sitting by myself in the St. Lucie press room early one spring training morning when Wright walked in. He doesn’t know me from Adam, but he stopped and said hello. You think Jeter, A-Rod, Reyes, or Beltran would have done the same? Doubtful.

You have to wonder if a continued marriage between Wright and the Mets is realistic, or worth it for both sides. If Jose Reyes is collateral damage of the fallout from the Omar Minaya/Madoff era of Mets baseball, Wright might be the sacrificial lamb. With Jason Bay and Johan Santana‘s contracts firmly ensconced on the payroll for the next two years, Wright’s $16 million dollar option becomes more of an issue than it should be. How reasonable is that salary for his services? Do you realize the Rangers’ Michael Young made more than that last season? Yes, Wright, who has the sixth highest OPS+ of any third baseman in the history of baseball, makes less than Young. He’s actually the third highest-paid player on his team behind Santana and Bay.

A lot of Wright’s production came between 2005-2008, when he was a player that you could count on for 25 HRs, 100 RBI, and a batting average of .300. The Wright of 2009-2011 has been a complete wild card. One year he is a singles-hitting average hitter, the next a high-strikeout slugger, and last year an injured hybrid of ’09 and ’10.

What is a fair contractual AAV? Ironically, Fangraphs WAR converted to Dollars lists his value at $16 million, $16, million, and $8 million the last three seasons. Considering he played only 102 games last year, that is right on par with the previous two.

The problem is the eyes don’t put the same value on Wright. Even the statistical dollar valuations indicate he’s about half the player he used to be. That might be better than most, but it’s a downward trend that would scare any team into committing long-term for him into his thirties. He is not the same hitter and his defense has been atrocious. Even worse, it appears the burden of this franchise has taken his toll; almost making him appear older than the birth certificate. The team’s margin of error is so thin now they can’t afford to add a bad contract when they are in the back half of the Santana/Bay fiasco.

On the flip side, and I have said this before, maybe the key to Wright returning to his pre-2009 form is a fresh start elsewhere. Virginia born and bred, wouldn’t it make sense for the Orioles to bring him home? If I were Wright I would salivate hitting in the cozy confines of Camden Yards. He also would be away from the ownership mess and expectations that come with being the face of the New York Mets. He could go back to doing what he does best – play baseball.

Even if Wright returns to his 2008 form, would it be wise to sell high? Even with his performance the last three years, the Mets are looking at doling out a contract in the same vicinity of what Reyes received from Miami. Adrian Beltre received 5 years and $80 million from Texas, so 7 years and about $120 million for Wright is what I could see him commanding.

The shame of it all is this shouldn’t even be a debate. In the proper environment, Wright could flourish and be himself (see 2006). David has proven that he is a great when he is part of the group, but not so great when he needs to be the main offensive cog. I suspect the continued development of Daniel MurphyIke Davis, and Lucas Duda will make Wright more expendable as the season goes on. Even if they pick up his option, there is a great chance he will be traded this coming offseason.

There are so many questions about a long-term marriage between David Wright and the Mets. All signs point to both sides believing it isn’t in either of their best interest. That may make you angry or sad, but it’s a reality Mets fans must accept.

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Mike Silva has hosted sports shows on 107.1 FM Champions ESPN Radio Long Island ,1240 AM WGBB , Blog Talk Radio and live from Mickey Mantle’s Restaurant. He’s also built and maintained two popular social media hubs: New York Baseball Digest and Sports Media Watchdog. Mike has broken national and local stories, as well as been mentioned on the YES Network, SNY.tv, WFAN, Sports Illustrated, ESPN, NY Daily News, New York Magazine, Journal News and the NY Post. Contact Mike professionally at mikesilvamedia.com

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7 Responses to Is a Divorce Between Wright and the Mets Inevitable?

  1. hrdcremtsfn

    Noooooooooooo!!!!

  2. Piazza

    This whole schtick about Wright not being able to carry some sort of mythical burden is quickly turning into a “unclutch Dayvid Wrongz TRAID” deal.

    This is what confuses me: Adrian Beltre signed a $9mm deal with the Red Sox that earned him a 5 year, $80mm dollar deal with the Rangers, beginning with his age 32 season. If the Mets exercise Wright’s 2013 option, he’ll enter free agency at the age of 31. Why does Wright earn 2 more years and $40mm more than the superior Beltre? Does the one younger year make that much of a difference?

    I love Wright, and I want him to be a Met for life. But 7/$120? I don’t think so.

  3. nym

    If Wright bounces back to his previous levels, I’d be pretty confident that it was the stadium and that he’d be able to keep it up going forward. I don’t think he’d bounce back to those great levels and then fall apart again…so I’d love to sign him if he looks like old DW. Even if he does what he did in 09-10 thats still pretty valuable, but obviously not nearly as good…so there would be some questions there…what he’s looking for $ wise, etc. (Though what exactly he’s looking for $ wise would be a factor even if he was elite again given the money issues)

    Though I don’t know about him wanting to end up in Baltimore. He might love to play close to home thats is possible. But another thing he constantly talks about is how desperate he is to win…Baltimore’s chances at that are probably even worse than the Mets’. And while not the same degree of issues as the Mets’ their owner isn’t exactly Mr. Popular either.

    And Piazza, I don’t know exactly what type of money Wright would get..it depends on the market, what kind of season he has, etc. Its possible he’d get something right around what Beltre got, but he does have the potential to get more. Wright career wise dwarfs Beltre’s numbers offensively. Beltre is an elite defender and Wright’s D has been terrible these past few years, so there is a big difference there, but offense tends to bring in the most money. Beltre has been better than Wright the last 2 seasons, but he took that initial one year deal in Boston because he has been terrible (way worse than any of Wright’s bad years) in the years prior. And for his career prior to signing that contract with Texas, he only surpassed a .800 OPS 4-times in 13 seasons and had a career line of .275/.328/.462/.791; 108 OPS+… which is pretty similar to Wright’s line in his brutal 2011.

  4. Mike Silva

    Piazza

    We all said the same thing about Reyes, remember?

  5. Pablo

    It really is a shame that we’re talkin about the possibility of the Mets not being able to keep one of the best players ever produced by the franchise and to wear the Blue and orange for a second straight year. David Wright deserves better and I hope he has a big year and can put up numbers on par with his 05-08 prime.

    I really hope that Bay has a huge first half and can make himself attractive on the trade market. The Yankees being able to trade AJ Burnett off 2 straight terrible years, gives me hope that we can find a trade partner for Bay considering they both make essentially the same money the next 2 years.

    If we can find a way to trade Bay, we may be able to squeeze in enough dollars to pick up Wright’s option for next year and then discuss an extension if its merited.

    BTW i agree with nym, Peter Angelos might be the worst owner in baseball. Even more hated in Baltimore than the Wilpons are among the Mets fan base. If Wright ends up on another team, I would hope its on a team with a legitimate chance of contending for a championship and not with the Orioles. I think Wright deserves at least that much.

  6. Stu B

    “He is almost too down-to-earth to be a superstar. I always remember sitting by myself in the St. Lucie press room early one spring training morning when Wright walked in. He doesn’t know me from Adam, but he stopped and said hello.”

    Sounds an awful lot like Gary Carter.

  7. George

    You want Wright to go from the ownership mess of the Mets to the ownership mess of the Orioles?

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