Usually, teams should take all the necessary precautions when thinking of handing out long-term extensions to players approaching their 30’s. Heck, the Mets heeded that warning, by not showing Jose Reyes any love and letting him walk this past offseason.
However, sometimes you have to reward the face of a franchise for being there through thick and thin and in this case; it’s time for the Mets to reward David Wright for all his hard work. With a contract extension, the Mets would show the fanbase that they are serious about committing long term to the prospects of this franchise.
I am not imploring this move to be made because of Wright’s hot start either (.516 batting average, two home runs). Although it should be noted Wright has reached base safely at least twice in the first nine games he has played-the longest such streak to start a season by a Met.
No, this investment is to signify that you want a seasoned leader at the helm of your squad to lead you through the tumultuous ups and downs of a franchise headed in a new direction.
With a squad full of young, exciting homegrown prospects, Wright has still come to be the embodiment of the Mets. While Wright has struggled a bit in the last few years-no doubt hampered by injuries- I think he has earned the right to be rewarded with a new contract. Although the Mets should be judicious in how many years they extend Wright, they owe it to the fanbase that they will not let another superstar leave the club. As you can see this is not just baseball related because if Wright left town without a contract extension offer, the backlash from a PR perspective could be catastrophic.
Considering all the financial mess the club was embroiled in, it made sense that they didn’t have the resources to pool enough money to keep both Reyes and Wright. But now that the Madoff issue has been settled, they should have enough money to give Wright a fair deal. Besides, Wright doesn’t have all that much leverage and wants to end his career here. It makes perfect sense to get this done as quickly as possible.
Wright has been the consummate professional in his eight years with the Mets. He has done and said everything in the most professional manner. Not to mention he’s also produced.
With an RBI in Wednesday’s game vs. the Braves, Wright tied Darryl Strawberry for the franchise lead in RBI’s (733). It does not end there. Check out where Wright ranks in other major statistics with the Mets:
WAR: 2nd- 32.6
Offensive WAR: 1st- 38.2
Batting Average: 2nd- .301
On Base Percentage: 4th- .381
Slugging Percentage: 3rd- .509
OPS: 3rd- .890
Runs Scored: 2nd- 704
Hits: 3rd- 1,263
Doubles: 1st- 281
Home Runs: 4th- 185
As you can see, Wright has made his mark and will go down in the annals of Mets’ history regardless if he plays another game or not. And at age 29, Wright should have enough good years left in him to live up to, say, a four or five year contract. If that comes to fruition, Wright will obliterate almost all major offensive Mets’ records.
I realize the drawbacks of signing Wright to a four or five-year deal. Offering a contract to a player who has battled and injuries and inconsistencies ever since Citi Field opened is risky, but it’s not like he didn’t thrive here before. Many people forget that Wright hit .283 with 29 home runs and 103 RBI’s in 157 games at Citi Field in 2010.
With Wright off to the start he is-even thriving with a fractured pinky-you should be able to assess that this is not the same player of last year, who played much of the season with a stress fracture in his back. Wright looks rejuvenated and ready to lead this club in the post Jose Reyes era.
The Mets should do the right thing and lock Wright up long term and avoid the circus-like atmosphere that permeated through the clubhouse last year when it came to Reyes and the constant “will he be traded, or will he stay?” hullabaloo.
Sign Wright and then immediately make him your captain.
This seems like the most logical and “Wright” thing to do.
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