The New York Mets and third baseman David Wright have agreed in principle on a contract extension that will allow the franchise player to remain in Flushing for the duration of his career. Although this is a big win for both the Mets and Wright, now it will be interesting to see if Sandy Alderson will be able to field a team around him.
The one player who is directly affected by the signing is none other than CY Young Award winner R.A. Dickey. Wright signed a seven year contract for around $124M and there is one issue that I see with the deal. Unlike Evan Longoria, who signed a similar deal with the Tampa Bay Rays, Wright did not want to bog the Mets down with hefty payments later in his career when he will not be performing at his best. Longoria decided to back load his contract so the Rays would have more money now to build around him while he was young and could be a help to his club.
The difference between the two is that the Mets do not have money now, and Wright decided to want his money up front and in the middle when he could “perform” and earn it. Either way, Wright and Longoria will get their money, as they are guaranteed contracts. Wright, if he really wanted to win before he retires a lifelong, ring-less Met, should have opted for the Bobby Bonilla plan which entailed deferred payments so the team would be better able to utilize funds towards areas of need.
That leaves us to a fan favorite, knuckle ball pitching zen-like player that will more than likely be traded sometime before Christmas. There will not be any money left to offer Dickey more than a two year contract that will be below market value. With that, Dickey will want his contract now, being that at the age of 38, he does not have much time left to get paid.
So again, while on the surface both the Mets and Wright have done what they thought was best for their club, they virtually made the decision that they can move ahead without their best pitcher. There have been many rumors swirling around that Dickey is being shopped, is not being shopped, that the Kansas City Royals are in the mix, and that the Mets will only offer a one or two year deal.
Any way this plays out, the financial standing of the Wilpons has left the writing on the wall for R.A. Dickey: David Wright is the future of the Mets. I am happy to see Wright stay, but would have been even happier if he gave the Mets more flexibility to build around him sooner rather than later. One thing is for sure, 2013 will be bleak, but the Alderson mold should be able to begin as of 2014. That is when only two Mets(Wright,Niese) will be under contract and Alderson can truly start from scratch.
With B.J. Upton signing with the Atlanta Braves, Russell Martin signing with the Pittsburgh Pirates and not a great pool of free agents to begin with, the Mets may have a long and frustrating season ahead. My only hope as a fan is that Dickey sees the writing on the wall early enough, asks for a trade and takes his talents somewhere that the Mets will be able to get quality in return.
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