What should David Wright’s extension be worth?

Right now David Wright in mired in a deep slump. In his last two games he is 0-6, and in his last five games he is 4-19. He’s seen his batting average drop from a respectable .415 to an abysmal .390.

Wright has been sensational this year, and he is showing the baseball world really how hard it is to hit .400 for an extended period of time. Wright has been at .400 or close to it for most of May. The lowest Wright’s batting average has been after a game this year was .361 which was on April 27th.

With all of Wright’s hits and his great contract he only has five home runs this season. If you extrapolate that for a whole season, he would hit 26 for the year. They aren’t great power numbers, but if you can hit .340 for a year with 26 home runs, that’s phenomenal. In addition to his great offense, Wright is playing some of the best defense of his career, defense at is on par, or even better, to when he won back-to-back Gold Gloves in 2007-2008.

After this year Wright has a club option on his contract for $16M with a $1M buyout. If he is traded he can void his option. This means next year Wright would be the same as Jason Bay, so maybe for that reason alone the Mets should bump up his pay. Wright’s last contract was signed back in 2007, which if the Mets don’t trade Wright this year, will be  a seven year $71M deal.

By the start of the 2014 season Wright will be 31 years old. He still is under team control for another year, so there is no rush to give him an extension, but if the front office hasn’t started thinking about one they should probably start doing that.

So what type of extension would you give to a 31 year old, captain of the team, who has all these awards and honors? The correct answer is, probably more than what they offered Jose Reyes.

It’s uncertain how much Wright will be looking for, but the six year $100M contract that the Washington Nationals gave Ryan Zimmerman might be the jumping off point. Before this season started the Nationals locked up Zimmerman until at least 2019, paying him $126M until then. There is also an option for the 2020 season for $18M.

The common answer from Mets fans about Wright’s extension is “give him whatever he asks for”. For all that’s he done during his nine seasons here, it’s hard to disagree. Locking Wright up has to be a priority of this team. Trading him really isn’t an option right now, unless you can get a ridiculous amount for him.

Right now I would give Wright a six year $115M extension. It looks like he is going to have a monster year, which will jack-up his asking price a bit, but it’s not out of the Mets price range and they should be willing to give it to him. The deal would lock up Wright through his prime, until he is 36. The only thing the Mets have to worry about is that all these crazy contracts being handed out might get into Wright’s head. But I don’t think he is that type of player.

Collins, Wright dustup: Much ado about nothing

If you are looking for a divisive reason for the Mets to suddenly implode, you are going to have to look elsewhere if you think the latest “disagreement” between Terry Collins and David Wright is going to fester. Frankly, it is much ado about nothing.

We should all know the scenario by now.

In a 7-0 game in the seventh inning between the Mets and the Brewers, Mets’ relief pitcher D.J. Carrasco served up a solo home run to Rickie Weeks. Carrasco would then promptly bean the Brewers’ next batter square in the back. That player just happens to be reigning NL MVP Ryan Braun.

Fearing that the Brewers were going to retaliate, Collins decided to sit Wright down since he didn’t want Wright to be in the middle of harm’s way. Collins claimed that there is an unwritten rule that “if you hit my guy, I’m gonna hit your guy.”

Wright adamantly disapproved the move, saying he wanted to take one for the team and the two of them could be seem arguing in the dugout. Collins stood firm in his decision. The two got over it, with both admirably showing mutual respect for each other.

Time to move on.

In any event, I believe it’s a win-win scenario for the club as both skipper and the face of the franchise showed the spunk that makes them makes them both likeable and most of all gutsy.

You can look at this from both sides and see the reasoning for their respective opinions.

Collins, while at the helm of the club, has been besieged by injuries and for a player in Wright who has been playing incredible so far this year, you can’t fault Collins for looking out for the best interests of the team. Also not lost in the matter was the effect a pitch to the head from Matt Cain a couple of years back did to not only Wright’s game, but his psyche.

Wright, for all his ups and downs with the club, wanted to show his leadership by going out to the batter’s box the next inning come high or hell water. That’s what you want in a leader. You want someone who is willing to lay it on the line and take “one for the team.” This way you get to see the guts Wright has. You get to see that he is willing to go the extra mile to protect the club.

It is with these characteristics that Collins and Wright both exhibit that make this story not much of a story, but more of a revelation of just how much Collins and Wright are competitors. There is not much more to this story than that.

Mets’ fans should be more concerned with bullpen meltdowns than dugout disagreements.

Follow me on Twitter @Stacdemon

David Wright and the quest to hit .400

Saturday afternoon David Wright went 4-6 with a homer and three RBIs to propel the Mets to a 9-3 win over the Marlins. In his last four games Wright has gone 11-21 (.524) to raise his average 28 points. After 112 ABs, Wright sits with a .402 average. Without actually doing the research, I am going to proclaim this as the latest point in the season any qualified Mets hitter has ever had a .400 AVG.

Prior to the start of the season, we all hoped that the new dimensions of Citi Field would help Wright get back close to the offensive levels he displayed between 2005-2008, when he averaged a .311/.394/.534 line over 2,765 PA. Nowhere in our wildest dreams did we imagine that Wright might turn in a career year, instead. Now we can (almost) legitimately wonder:

Can Wright hit .400 for the entire season?

Batting average used to be the primary statistic to rate hitters. While it no longer holds the same place in the hearts and minds of baseball fans, there is still something magical about a .300 AVG while a .400 AVG remains the sports’ Holy Grail. If George Brett (.390) couldn’t make .400 in 1980 and Rod Carew (.388) fell short in 1977, what chance does any mere mortal batter have?

An important thing to realize is that the length of the season is what makes a .400 AVG a near impossibility. Yesterday, 65 batters hit .400 or better for the day. Expand that time frame to the season to date and only two players (Wright and Josh Hamilton) clear the .400 mark.

The closest anyone has come to hitting .400 in a season was Tony Gwynn, when he batted .394 in 1994. As you probably know, 1994 was a strike-shortened year, in which Gwynn had just 475 PA. It’s anybody’s guess how he would have finished the season in 1994 if there were no strike. But it’s unlikely that he would have raised his average six points over his final 200 or so PA.

Ted Williams is the last player to hit .400 over an entire season, when he batted .406 in 1941, his third year in the majors. Let’s take a look and see how Williams was able to accomplish the feat. There were four categories where Williams excelled that season. He had a:

24.3 BB%
4.5 K%
.378 BABIP
37 HR

The fewer ABs you have, the greater chance that you have to hit .400 over any length of time. Williams had 456 ABs in 1941. Compare that to the 616 that Carew had in 1977. Williams had so few ABs because he drew so many walks, a league-leading 147 in 1941.

Another key to hitting .400 is to limit strikeouts, as it’s impossible to get a hit when you strike out. Williams always had a great batting eye and his 4.5 K% in 1941 was a career-best. He fanned just 27 times that season. Additionally, he hit 37 HR in 1941, also a league-leading total.

Strikeouts and home runs are so important because they are not included in BABIP. We know that most batters will have a BABIP under .350 – only 12 out of 145 qualified hitters posted a mark .350 or greater last year, with Adrian Gonzalez’ .380 being the top mark in the majors. In fact, only four players have posted a BABIP over .400 since 1942.

If you are going to hit over .400 you need to excel in the two areas – home runs and strikeouts – not included in BABIP. In 1980, Brett was able to post an average 22 points above his BABIP due to his low strikeout (22)-high HR (24) mix. Meanwhile, Carew failed in 1977 because while he posted a .408 BABIP, he had just 14 HR compared to 55 Ks.

So, how is Wright doing so far in these four important categories?

15.0 BB%
13.5 K%
.451 BABIP
4 HR

Carew’s .408 BABIP in 1977 is the single highest mark since 1942, so it’s safe to say that Wright will not finish the year with a .451 mark. But we should also recall that Wright had a .394 BABIP in 2009, the 13th-best mark since 1942. So he is certainly capable of posting an extra-high mark in the category.

Wright’s BB and K numbers are currently career-best marks – numbers he will have to improve upon going forward if he is to have any shot at hitting .400 for the year. And he will also have to pick up the HR pace, something he should have a decent chance of doing. Wright is on pace for 20 HR this year, a mark he has topped five times in his career.

At his current rate, Wright will finish with 20 HR and 88 Ks. Let’s say he improves in both categories and finishes with 30 HR and 75 Ks. Let’s also assume that he finishes with 550 ABs. Wright would need 220 hits to finish the year with a .400 AVG and he would need a .427 BABIP. Let’s say he goes absolutely crazy and finishes with 35 HR and 65 Ks. In 550 ABs he would need to post a .422 BABIP to reach a .400 AVG.

We can see that there is virtually no way that Wright can bat .400 in a season in which he has 550 ABs. It simply requires a batter to strike out as little as possible. While Wright can post the BABIP necessary to put him in the discussion for a .400 AVG, his K rate shoots down whatever hopes he might have. His only chance is to top Carew’s record for BABIP while also adding considerably to his BB rate, in order to limit his ABs. Fewer at-bats is the only way to realistically limit his strikeouts. But as he already is posting a career-high BB%, how realistic is it, really?

The bottom line is to enjoy Wright’s .400 AVG now because there’s no chance to see it in late September. His career high in AVG is the .325 mark he posted in 2007. Updated ZiPS projects Wright to finish with a .311 AVG in 2012. So, forget .400 – let’s see if Wright can reach .330, instead. In our 550 AB, 20 HR, 88 K pace, Wright will need a .367 BABIP to clear .330 for the year.

Mets Quotes of the Week: David Wright edition

“That kind of business I leave to Seth and Sam (Levinson, his agents). They can handle it. But I’m going to steer clear. I’m trying to play baseball. Worrying about my contract is too much. It’s hard to prepare for Barry Zito as it is. It’s damn near impossible if I’m thinking about business.”’

David Wright as reported by Jon Heyman, CBSSports.com

“I looked at David [Wright] when he came last winter and the first thing I said is, ‘What are you doing?’ He said, ‘I don’t know.’ Here’s a big league guy saying ‘I don’t know.’ That tells you how far he had gotten away from things.”

-Nick Boothe as reported by Mike Puma, NY Post

“Whether he realizes it or not, Wright, who has said consistently he doesn’t want to leave New York, is starting to put pressure on Mets ownership to get negotiations going  to ensure that he does indeed stay… the Mets can’t afford to allow even the perception of him following Reyes out the door.”

-Bill Madden, NY Daily News

“You can’t please everybody. You can’t sign every autograph. You can’t talk to everybody. You can’t do that or you’d never have time to be yourself. But [David Wright] does it unbelievably well. He handles a huge load, and I’m sure that can be stressful and take away from the time when he wants to relax and just think about what he needs to do. All us young guys listen to what he says.”

Ike Davis as reported Jerry Crasnick, ESPNNewYork.com

“Right now he reminds me of what I saw in Jeff Bagwell in 1994 when he was the MVP. There was not an at-bat he gave away. David is on one of those streaks right now.”

Terry Collins as reported by David Lennon, Newsday.com

“I hope [Jose Reyes] loses focus in the game and starts thinking about that [tribute]. Everyone knows what Jose has meant to this organization. It’ll be a little strange seeing him in a different uniform.”

-David Wright as reported by Mike Kerwick, The Record

“No one should be itching to see Wright go. He’s meant a great deal to this franchise and it would be nice to see one Mets icon actually go from his first day to the last day with the team.”

-Josh Alper, NBC New York

“I love it. Maybe we don’t have the talent or experience or household names that other teams have. But give me guys that work the way these guys work and play the way we try to play the game, and I’ll sign up for that.”

-David Wright as reported by Jerry Crasnick, ESPNNewYork.com

 

It’s time to reward David Wright with a contract extension

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.

Follow me on Twitter @Stacdemon

David Wright’s hot start fueled by low strikeout rate

I challenge anyone to look at David Wright’s numbers this year and not be giddy. A .571/.615/.857 line for a guy who had just 17 Spring Training at-bats is pretty impressive. Then you add in the fact that Wright is 5-9 since re-joining the lineup with a fractured pinkie and it becomes almost surreal. After seemingly watching an understudy play the role of Wright the past three years, it is wonderful to have the real deal back in the Mets’ lineup.

Of course, cynics will point to his .556 BABIP as a reason to rein in expectations for Wright this season. But I think it is important to note how much his first six games have already changed expectations for Wright this year. In the offseason, friend of the site Dan Szymborski had Wright projected for a .269/.351/.447 slash line with his ZiPS projection system. ZiPS updates during the season and now Wright is projected to hit .290/.373/.478 or an increase of 53 points in OPS.

Another potential reality check for Wright and his backers is that he got off to a quick start last year, too. After six games in 2011, Wright had a .364/.417/.545 line and his final numbers were nowhere near that good. However, it would be negligent not to mention Wright played significant time last year with a stress fracture in his back and how that altered his final numbers.

Once activated from the DL last year, Wright was very productive for his first 46 games (.311/.386/.503) and putrid for his final 17 (.167/247/.273). The end result was a .254/.345/.427 line for 2011 that left many wondering if Wright was done as an elite player.

One undeniable symptom of how Wright went from being on a Hall of Fame path to his results the past three seasons is his strikeout rate. Perhaps as a result of moving from Shea Stadium to Citi Field, Wright saw a significant increase in his strikeouts the past three years. Here are his K% rates the last six years, a number derived by dividing his strikeouts by his plate appearances:

2006 – 17.1
2007 – 16.2
2008 – 16.0
2009 – 22.7
2010 – 24.0
2011 – 21.7

If we go back and analyze Wright’s numbers from when he returned from the DL, here are his K% numbers for his hot stretch and his poor finish:

First 46 – 16.3%
Final 17 – 28.8%

When Wright first returned from the disabled list last year, his K% was right in line with what it was from 2006-08 and his overall results reflect that. His .889 OPS in that streak was not as good as his 2006-08 numbers, but they don’t stand in stark contrast to them like his overall numbers from 2009-11 do. Wright achieved these results while playing in Citi Field with its original dimensions. So, in my opinion, it is not entirely fair to blame all of Wright’s drop-off the past three years on the new park.

Regardless, it’s clear that Wright cannot handle a K% around 22 percent and be an elite player. So, how is he doing in that regard here in 2012? Wright has been to the plate 26 times and fanned only twice, for a 7.7 K%. Contrast that to his hot streak to open 2011, where in the same number of games he fanned eight times in 28 PA for a 28.6 K%.

Wright’s improved strikeout numbers actually started in Grapefruit League action. In Florida he came to the plate 20 times and did not whiff once.

As we saw from the final 17 games of 2011, it is too soon to declare Wright over his strikeout issues. But with what we have seen in limited action in both Spring Training and the regular season this year is extremely encouraging. It is the primary reason why Mets fans should feel better about Wright’s performance through six games in 2012 than a similar hot streak last season.

Wright injury could open door for Valdespin

After storming out of the gate 4-0, the Mets built a lot of goodwill among its fanbase that maybe some good news was in store for the faithful this summer.

However, after two straight losses on top of David Wright suffering from a fractured pinkie, a lot of people are ready to push the panic button. Wright fractured the right pinky finger when he dove back into first base on a pick-off attempt in Monday’s game against the Nationals. A trip to the disabled list almost seems inevitable.

If a trip to the DL is in store for Wright, how will the Mets respond? The Mets have gone into an offensive funk of late and are getting very little out of their big boppers in Ike Davis, Lucas Duda (save for a two HR Day on Saturday) and the continuously frustrating Jason Bay. The Mets showed patience at the plate in their first series with the Braves and used it to their advantage, but lately they have been caught staring at a lot of hittable pitches-something Terry Collins says has to change.

What is so disconcerting was the fact that Wright was carrying the Mets’ offense, and now that he could be out, it could pose problems for a team in search of answers at the plate. Wright was off to a blistering start, notching seven hits in 12 at-bats to go along with one home run and four RBI’s.

The timing (as if there is any good timing) of this injury is awful and while Wright will try to swing through it and play in pain, a DL stint could be in the cards if he is not up to speed by the time the Mets travel to Philadelphia for a series with the Phillies this Friday.

So, if Wright does go on the DL, where do Collins and the Mets look for answers?

The most likely scenario being kicked around is to have the defensively-challenged Daniel Murphy abandon his second base experiment and play third considering that third base is his most natural position on the diamond. If that were to happen, the Mets could go with Ronny Cedeno at second base or perhaps call up the likes of Jordany Valdespin to man second.

The potential audition of Valdespin at second base is intriguing. After impressing the Mets’ brass by hitting .310 in 42 at-bats this spring, Valdespin was given a long look as a possibility to make the team. However, since the Mets signed Cedeno to back up the middle infield spots, Mets’ officials thought Valdespin would be best suited to get at-bats in the minors on an everyday basis. So, since there is a chance for Valdespin to get routine playing time at second if Wright goes on the DL and if Murphy plays third, this might be an ideal time to see what the kid has. We all know Cedeno has his limitations and he is mostly on the squad because of his defense. With the way the Mets have been hitting, it could use the services of Valdespin, who certainly would be an offensive improvement over Cedeno.

Valdespin is currently not tearing it up in Buffalo though.

Through seven games in Buffalo, Valdespin is batting .226 with a .273 OBP. Those are hardly numbers that scream promotion.

First things first though. Let’s all take a collective breath and look at the season in a vacuum. A 4-2 start with great pitching performances from both the staff and the bullpen is more than any of us could have asked for. Let’s not jump off the ledge and make the news of Wright being injured bury our confidence. Besides, Collins hinted that he thinks Wright may be tough enough to battle through this and play on Friday. We’ll see about that, but it’s encouraging to see the skipper have faith in Wright and believe this will not be a major, catastrophic injury. It may ultimately depend on how much pain Wright can tolerate. If anything, it seems like a minimal stint on the DL (if that is the case) could be in store for Wright.

Maybe that’s wishful thinking taking into account the Mets injury history-but Wright’s injury or not-let’s not let this ruin what has been a great start to a season.

Follow me on Twitter @Stacdemon

Mets Card of the Week: 2012 David Wright

1963 TOPPS HERITAGE STICK-ONS DAVID WRIGHT

Topps released its annual Heritage set a few weeks back. The 2012 edition covers the 1963 set, which is best known for including the Pete Rose rookie card.

The Rose rookie is perhaps one of the top 10 most noteworthy cards in collecting history, and definitely one of the top 10 fugliest…

Overall though, the 1963 Topps set is a nice one, full of bold primary colors on the fronts and classic line-drawn cartoons on the backs.

Topps has done a fine job of reproducing the 1963 experience with this Heritage set, even going so far as to include new versions of the Peel-Offs stickers that were inserted in the original wax packs. (In a bit of semantic fiddling, these Heritage versions are called Stick-Ons.)

The 1963 Peel-Offs set of 46 contained two Mets (Richie Ashburn and Al Jackson)– the Stick-Ons set is the same size, but limits the Mets count to one player: the David Wright pictured here.

The new Stick-Ons are pretty faithful to the originals, with some small concessions to the present age. Let’s play spot the differences:

 The Stick-Ons include a registered trademark symbol following the team name on the card fronts; the Peel-Offs did not.

 The backs of the Stick-Ons include a card number, detailed copyright and licensing text, and a single instance of instructions: “1. Peel off back. 2. Place All-Stars on books, walls, bikes, anything!” (Somewhat charmingly, the printing of these instructions mimics that of the Peel-Offs, right down to the stray ink lines and the crude player drawings, one of which looks like a rough caricature of Don Mossi, if such a thing is possible.) The backs of the Peel-Offs contained nothing but the instructions, repeated multiple times as space and trimming allowed.

 The Peel-Offs were split down the middle on the reverse, allowing Kennedy-era kids to peel away the two separate pieces of backing to expose the sticker surface; the Stick-Ons peel away from the corners. (I just verified this with a Justin Upton Stick-On, which is now affixed to the cover of a copy of last week’s New York Times Magazine. The sacrifices I make for you people…)

Next week: a closer look at the regular 2012 Heritage set

Breaking news: David Wright to retire

The Mets won’t have David Wright to kick around anymore. Wright, citing continuing problems with both his back and his oblique, has decided to leave the Mets, retire from baseball and head into politics.

“It’s a tremendously sad day for me,” Wright said in his farewell press conference. “But the reality is that I can no longer play at a level to bring the Mets championships. And let’s face it, this year’s team needs me to be better than I ever was. Last year’s .254 AVG won’t even get us out of the cellar.”

Manager Terry Collins put on a brave face despite the bad news. “Wright has been a consummate professional during his career with the Mets and we thank him for his years of service. He’s a role model for all of the young players in the organization. Sure, he quit on the team right before the start of the season but he showed up early to Spring Training and that’s the type of player I want on my team, regardless if they’re retired or not.”

Reaction in the clubhouse was mixed.

“I’m going to miss David but I would be lying if I said I wasn’t thrilled to see him go,” Daniel Murphy said. “Now I don’t have to risk life and limb to get into the starting lineup.” Collins announced that Murphy would take over for Wright at third base, with Jordany Valdespin the team’s new second baseman.

Lucas Duda seemed especially hard hit by the news. “Wright was the best teammate you could ever have,” a teary-eyed Duda said. “When I came up in 2010, he carried my bags. When I asked him why, he said ever since Cliff Floyd make him carry bags as a rookie, he found out he really liked hauling luggage. He even came on the road trips last year when he had a broken back and carried my bags. I’ll miss that guy.”

Fred Wilpon immediately huddled with Sandy Alderson to discuss the ramifications of Wright’s departure.

“I don’t have to pay him, right?” Wilpon was overheard saying again and again. “He retired so I don’t have to pay him!” As Wilpon got more and more excited, Alderson could be heard imploring his boss to keep his voice down, at least while Wright and members of the media were in the room. After successfully ushering Wilpon out of the room, Alderson informed the media he would let his thoughts on the move be known later and that they should follow his Twitter feed for updates.

As shocking as the retirement news, the real bombshell came when Wright announced his desire to go into politics. While many players offered great sound bites and some even offered political thoughts, Wright never said anything political, or interesting, in his eight years with the club.

Republican leaders were excited about a high-profile professional athlete turning to politics, thinking he could help turn New York, traditionally a blue-state, red.

“He could be our Bill Bradley,” RNC Chair Renice Priebus said, invoking the memory of the former Democratic Senator from New Jersey. When it was pointed out to Priebus that Bradley won two championships with the Knicks after being a Rhodes Scholar from Princeton and that Wright never won a championship and never went to college, the Chairman seemed defensive.

“You didn’t expect me to compare him to Jim Bunning, did you? We didn’t mind Bunning being crazy but he committed an unforgivable sin in the eyes of Republicans – he didn’t have enough money to finance a campaign in 2010. How can you be a Republican senator and not have money? That makes no sense to us.

“Wright’s made over $39 million playing baseball and who knows how much more from endorsements. As a fabulously wealthy white male, he has an obligation to help other fabulously wealthy white males. We welcome him to politics with open arms.”

For his part, Wright declined to identify which political party he associated with or what jobs he hoped to land in the future.

“Right now I just want to relax,” Wright said. “Maybe I’ll go out to the park and catch a few games.”

*****

If you liked this piece, please check out our story from 4/1/2010

Has David Wright passed Strawberry for best position player?

Who is the best position player in Mets history? The immediate answer is Darryl Strawberry although a quick look at the record book shows that Jose Reyes and David Wright also deserve consideration for that honor. Let’s look at their overall lines and then break the players down by categories.

Rk Player R Age G PA AB H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO HBP SB BA OBP SLG OPS
1 Jose Reyes 735 20-28 1050 4840 4453 1300 222 99 81 423 333 509 7 370 .292 .341 .441 .782
2 David Wright 699 21-28 1106 4782 4161 1248 281 17 183 725 535 897 33 151 .300 .380 .508 .887
3 Darryl Strawberry 662 21-28 1109 4549 3903 1025 187 30 252 733 580 960 26 191 .263 .359 .520 .878
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 1/17/2012.

Average
Wright – 2nd
Reyes – T 5th
Strawberry – Not in top 10

OBP
Wright – 4th
Strawberry – 10th
Reyes – Not in top 10

SLG
Strawberry – 2nd
Wright – 3rd
Reyes – Not in top 10

Games
Strawberry – 7th
Wright – 8th
Reyes – 10th

PA
Reyes – 3rd
Wright – 4th
Strawberry 7th

Runs
Reyes – 1st
Wright – 2nd
Strawberry – 3rd

Hits
Reyes – 2nd
Wright – 3rd
Strawberry – 9th

Total Bases
Wright – 1st
Strawberry – 3rd
Reyes – 4th

Doubles
Wright – 1st
Reyes – 3rd
Strawberry – 8th

Triples
Reyes – 1st
Strawberry – 6th
Wright – Not in top 10

Home Runs
Strawberry – 1st
Wright – 4th
Reyes – Not in top 10

RBIs
Strawberry – 1st
Wright – 2nd
Reyes – Not in top 10

Walks
Strawberry – 1st
Wright – 4th
Reyes – Not in top 10

Stolen Bases
Reyes – 1st
Strawberry – 4th
Wright – 6th

Adjusted OPS+
Strawberry – 1st
Wright – 4th
Reyes – Not in top 10

Runs Created
Wright – 1st (825)
Strawberry – 2nd (759)
Reyes – 3rd (706)

WAR
Strawberry – 1st (37.7)
Wright – 2nd (32.6)
Reyes – 4th (29.3)

The above category leaders in franchise history
Reyes (3) – Runs, triples, stolen bases
Strawberry (5) – Home runs, RBIs, walks, adjusted OPS+, WAR
Wright (3) – Total bases, doubles, runs created

If Wright plays a full season with the Mets in 2012, he has a good shot to become the Mets’ leader in runs, hits, RBIs and walks. And a return to his 05-’08 offensive level could put him above Strawberry in WAR. Strawberry will still have a claim to greatest offensive player, since he did it in fewer PA than Wright, but by the end of this season, Wright will hold more lifetime offensive records than any player in franchise history.

Just what if David Wright and Jason Bay rebound in 2012?

With alterations already under way to reconfigure the fences at Citi Field, the Mets are undergoing a facelift with the hopes that it could jump-start a flailing offense.

At the crux of the fence alterations is what it could mean to both David Wright and Jason Bay. Wright and Bay have seen their home run production arguably corrupted by the intimidating confines of Citi Field. That is one major reason management gave the O.K. to alter the fences for the 2012 season.

Some would argue that if Bay and Wright get back to what they did prior to having to hit at Citi Field than the Mets might just have a decent squad. Maybe those people have a point.

Prior to playing the majority of their games at Citi Field, Wright’s three-year average home run rate was 29.6 home runs a year, whereas Bay’s was 29.3 home runs a year. While both have battled injuries in the last two years, which of course plays a major factor, the two have combined to hit 61 home runs while playing together at Citi Field.

Now, the field dimensions aren’t exclusively to blame for Bay and Wright’s troubles. That would be a naive approach to look at things. A lot of other factors have gone into their respective swoons.

For Wright, it could be the beaning he took to the head from Matt Cain as the reason for his slide. For Bay, a concussion in 2010 and the high demands of playing in the New York market could explain some of his difficulties.

Nevertheless, with the fences under renovation, so might the careers of Bay and Wright.

If they can provide close to 30-home-run power than the Mets may just have enough offense to be taken seriously next year. Next year they’ll likely have Daniel Murphy and Ike Davis back and perhaps a return to form for Angel Pagan makes this team formidable. It could be wishful thinking. Mets’ fans have been burned before on waiting for stars to come back healthy and rejuvenated.

It’s a lot to hope for, but clearly the effect of hitting in Citi Field has been emotionally draining on Bay and Wright. The dimensions had to psychologically impact both. Why else take such drastic measures that are now being implemented? You could see the frustration on their face when they would wallop the ball only for it to be caught deep or hit high of the walls.

This could be a band aid approach to a much bigger problem, but if the new alterations can resuscitate the careers of Bay and Wright then this could lead to the team being more competitive. In turn, if the team could produce more offense as a result it could lead to more wins and that could mean more tickets sold etc. In this scenario everybody wins.

Sure, that’s an oversimplification of things. But for a team in need of a much needed injection of buzz and enthusiasm, the Mets shouldn’t rule anything out that could help the team in the long run.

If the Mets could also somehow get Jose Reyes to come back on board while getting Bay and Wright going, then suddenly the outlook for the Mets is not so bleak.

It’s a lot to hope for, but at this point the risk is worth the reward here

Which teams would be right for Wright?

When you think of the New York Mets these days, two names come to mind: Jose Reyes and David Wright. Now there is a chance that both of them won’t be on the team come 2012. With the Mets pursuit of Reyes looking bleaker and bleaker, the talks of trading Wright will heat up.

If the Mets lose Reyes they can’t control who they get back for him. They would get two early picks, a great thing for this front office of drafting experts. With Wright, they can control it and would probably ask for four things – pitching, pitching, pitching, and pitching.

So if they are going to trade Wright it has to be to a team that has payroll room, players they are willing to give up and will be able to compete next season.

Colorado Rockies – The Rockies make a lot of sense for Wright, but if they’re not willing to part with Dexter Fowler, a deal might be hard to work out. I’m sure Wright would love to play in that ballpark, especially with the line-up that would be around him. Pitching prospects Tyler Matzek (LH), Drew Pomeranz (LH), and Alex White (RH) would also be names talked about in a trade for Wright. If the Rockies offer Fowler and two of these pitchers the Mets would have to think hard about pulling the trigger on that trade.

Los Angeles Angels – With Mike Trout and Mark Trumbo replacing the older faces on the Angels, they might be looking to add a player in the prime of his career to lift this team over the top. They have some money to spend and they want to take their division back from the Rangers, who have won the division two years in a row. Players the Mets would be interested in would be Peter Bourjos (CF), Erick Aybar (SS), Tyler Chatwood (RH), and Jordan Walden (RH).

Arizona Diamondbacks – They’ve already showed interest in Wright this off-season and with him, it would put them over the top in terms of best teams in the West. Josh Collmenter (RH) might be the only major league ready player the Mets would be interested in, so they would have to build a deal around prospects. Jarrod Parker (RH), Tyler Skaggs (LH), Matt Daivdson (3B), and Chris Owings (SS) would be players the Mets would ask for.

Toronto Blue Jays – With the Yankees getting older, and the Red Sox falling apart, the Jays might think it’s their time to raise. Adding Wright would be a big move, showing that they are finally ready to make a playoff run in the toughest division in baseball. The Jays certainly have the farm system to pull off a trade for Wright. Kyle Drabek (RH) would have to be in the deal and his value took a big hit this season after getting rocked in Triple-A (7.44 ERA, 75 IP, 41 BB), so the Mets could ask for him along with other top prospects. Brett Lawrie (3B), Deck McGuire (RH), Carlos Perez (C), Aaron Sanchez (RH), are names the Mets would look at. If the Jays offered Drabek, Lawrie, and McGuire I’d pull the trigger on that deal immediately.

Philadelphia Phillies – First off, it’s never going to happen. I repeat: IT’S NEVER GOING TO HAPPEN. But, if the Phillies weren’t in the Mets division, and if we didn’t hate them, the Phillies are a perfect team for Wright. The Phillies are looking to win right now, and this juggernaut of a pitching staff is only going to be around for a couple more years. Wright would love to hit in that park with that line-up, who wouldn’t. Plus the Phillies have young players the Mets would want to have. Vance Worley (RH), Domonic Brown (OF), and Antonio Bastardo (LH). If the Phillies offered that it would be tough for the Mets to pass up.

If the Mets bring back Reyes there is no way they would trade Wright. But if they don’t they should think hard about trading him and completely rebuilding. I don’t think they will trade him this off-season because he is under contract for the next two years, but if they right deal comes along the Mets will send him packing.

I’m curious to see how Wright will do with the new dimensions at Citi Field. He might return to his monstrous numbers of old, which would greatly raise his value and they could get even more for him if they decide to trade him next off-season.