Wednesday, November 28, 2012
David Wright, the Golden Boy in Blue and Orange.
There have been rumors of the Mets tossing out contract offers to David Wright trying to extend their 29 year old 3rd baseman. He had a great year offensively as most would expect. His power wasn’t exactly overwhelming, but he did have 21 knocks with a .306 batting average and a .391 OBP. The question I’m posing is, in Wright’s shoes, why/why not accept a solid offer from the Mets? The comparables are obvious with Ryan Zimmerman and Evan Longoria having both signed six year 100 million dollar extensions in recent memory. Both were however multiple years from free agency, and on winning franchises.
Wright is for better or worse, the face of the New York Mets for at least one more season. He does control how much longer he is part of that dumpster fire however, and could opt to take his show on the road after the season, possibly parking himself in a city where a .500 record isn’t a monumental achievement, but is instead a disappointment of the highest order. Hell, he’s already in a city that follows that mantra he just happens to be in the wrong borough. Wright has been almost as rock solid as a player can be, having only missed significant time once in his career. He also plays well above average defense at 3rd, which isn’t exactly amazing, but when coupled with his above average bat, and his solid pop makes Wright an incredible threat. Wright could very easily decline to talk contracts with the Mets until they show dedication to making the team competitive, or the season is over.
The debate for Wright will hinge squarely on how much he values the stability of the new contract vs the potential for a bigger contract with a contending team. Obviously the Yankees, Nationals, Tigers, and Rays are locked into long term 3rd base commitments, however the Dodgers, Phillies, Red Sox, Orioles, Angels, and White Sox could all be potential suitors for the impending free agent. Wright has stated his intention to play his entire career with the Mets, and that in and of itself is commendable, however he will be sacrificing money, and potentially his chance at winning a world series to play for the city’s junior team. Wright may also be somewhat burned by the fact that so much has been written about what he has stated as his preference to be private negotiations between him and the team. Some if not all of that may be the team jockeying to get the contract negotiations handled quickly, it may also be Wright’s agent trying to find a way to gain leverage with the team, this has only served to ruffle Wright’s feathers however, and may not positively impact the negotiations regardless of who has made the information public.
Ultimately I think Wright will resign with the Mets, though I question whether or not he would be willing to take less money over the life of the contract, or take significant deferrals to keep the annual spending limit more reasonable for the team and see them spend at another position of need. Wright would find himself a very lucrative contract on the open market, there’s no doubt there, but how much is enough from the team that he’s played with his whole career? Will Wright be more concerned with his pay check, or his team’s long term flexibility is yet to be seen, however Wright may be saying all the right things publically but is secretly preparing himself for the free agent market next season. the 7 year extension he’s reportedly seeking is certainly possible given his history of durability and reliable play but whether or not he’ll price himself out for his current team is ultimately a very real possibility. The Mets are not contenders right now and signing a few players long term may not be the correct path to take for a rebuilding team. If Wright takes a contract from the Mets I’d expect it to run longer than the 6 years his comparables have received given his proximity to free agency but I doubt that the Mets front office is smart enough to frontload the contract and may hamstring themselves down the road with an aging third baseman on a big money contract. 7 years, 120MM is certainly possible but that doesn’t leave the team with as much payroll flexibility as they need to compete.