In November of 2012, David Wright and the Mets came to an agreement on an 8-year, $138 million contract extension. The deal has Wright locked in as the Mets third baseman through his age 37 season in 2020, barring a trade of course. The contract was interesting in two aspects.
First, it was what can be classified as a “second generation” contract. Essentially, Wright will be paid well in the coming years for past production that he realistically won’t match in the latter parts of the contract. It’s the type of contract that, while less frequent these days, dominated the market for much of the 2000′s. It’s also a type of contract that Mets GM Sandy Alderson has generally disparaged, though he left room for exceptions. Wright is obviously one of those exceptions.
Second, the deal is pretty beneficial to the Mets. Make no mistake; Wright is going to be paid very handsomely over the life of the contract. However, according to Cot’s Contracts , Wright will defer $15.5 million over the course of the contract. This deferment reduces the value of it to around $134 million. Additionally, it is a “middle-loaded” contract in that the bulk of Wright’s salary will be paid in 2014-2018 (with each of those years having $2.5 million deferred). The last couple of years see pretty steep drops in his salary. Theoretically, the structure of this contract and the deferments allow the Mets room in the budget to add players without Wright’s contract hamstringing the team, especially at the end of it when his production will most likely have declined significantly. It’s team-friendly in those aspects, and very much falls in line with something that Wright would do.
So how did Wright fair in the first year of that new contract? In a word: fantastic. In 112 games he had a triple slash of .307/.390/.514, 18 home runs, 58 RBI, 17 stolen bases, an OPS+ of 156, and was the starting third baseman for the National League All-Star team.
Of course, one of the key numbers there is that he only played 112 games. Wright suffered a hamstring tear that appeared to be several days in the works. In late July it was clear that something was wrong, but both Wright and the Mets played it down, suggesting that he wouldn’t be playing if there was truly something wrong. Well, it turned out that there was, but that is a discussion for another day. Mets fans will be checking up on the latest bets on their team at sites like http://www.bwin.com/ that’s for sure!
Still, in just 112 games Wright accumulated 6.0 fWAR. That performance was estimated to be worth $29.8 million, well above his $11 million 2013 salary. Had he not gotten hurt, it could very well have been an MVP caliber season. Obviously we can’t expect that type of performance every year, especially as he ages, but so far so good. Keep in mind that Wright really hasn’t had any kind of protection in the lineup over the last several seasons. It’s on the front office to finally surround him with more productive hitters so he no longer has to do it alone.