After nine uninterrupted years of major league play with the New York Mets, David Wright is approaching the end of his six-year, $55 million contract.
This start of the 2013 season marks an optional $16 million year on Wright’s contract with the Mets.
After posting a batting average of .306 in 2012 and an on-base percentage of .391, Wright continues to prove his worth as the Mets’ most valuable player.
Wright, the second most expensive third baseman in the league, has proven time and time again that he is a worthy component in New York’s organization. Yet, the constant disappointment that represents Mets play in recent years is not a persuasive element in new contract negotiations.
A thing great players tend to enjoy is winning baseball games. This is something the Mets didn’t experience enough in 2012 as they boasted a record of 74-88.
If the Mets want to keep David Wright long-term, it’s safe to say they need to prove they can put a team on the field that can win games.
Wright led the team in batting average, runs, RBIs and OPS in 2012. He is turning 30 years old in December and up to this point hasn’t shown any signs of diminishing ability.
The injured 2011 season aside, Wright has consistently posted sound numbers and has certainly earned the money New York has paid him to this point. The question is: Does Wright have the stuff worth paying for going forward?
First you have to revisit the climate of Mets baseball in the past few years. In 2012, the Mets had 1357 hits and 650 runs. Those numbers fall very short of the best teams in the league, let alone those in the NL East. I believe New York needs around 50 more runs and 75 more base hits in order to compete for a playoff berth in 2013. Losing a player who, barring a season-shortening injury, will most likely produce from 75-90 runs and 150-170 hits in 2013 will not help accomplish that objective.
All this attention has been given to this contract situation in the past few weeks, but this is certainly not the first time the Mets have faced this issue in the off-season. New York has a fairly significant history of letting home-bred stars slip through their fingertips.
In 2011, the Mets failed to re-sign an explosive bat and great infielder in Jose Reyes. After what seemed like a MVP-like season hindered only by yet another injury, Reyes was unable to reach a contract agreement with New York and signed with the Miami Marlins for the 2012 season.
The New York Mets dropped from sixth in both team batting average and on-base percentage in 2011 to 19th and 20th in 2012 respectively.
A decline like this can’t be credited to the loss of one player. Yet, the absence of an incredible leadoff hitter capable of sparking a team late in games certainly has something to do with it. Can the Mets afford a loss of the same caliber if not greater? In my opinion, no they cannot.
Failing to resign David Wright would be huge blow to the Mets organization in the near future. He is an icon in Queens, New York and the last symbol of stability within this program.
Money shouldn’t be an issue, but it always is. Take out the checkbook and resign Wright and build around him. A starting option could be a catcher, a position the Mets haven’t enjoyed since the days of Mike Piazza. They certainly aren’t making a run at the pennant on the end of the bat of Josh Thole.