Entering July, the New York Mets were in contention for a playoff spot, with plans of continuing their magical season on into the dog days of summer.
That feel-good story has quickly come and gone, as the Mets have had a miserable month going 7-17, including two six-game losing streaks. At 50-53, the Mets are 12 games back in the National League East and eight-and-a-half back in the Wild Card.
Management has quickly changed the course of action and will seemingly be mute at the trade deadline. So what should be the focus of this club's attention moving forward?
David Wright's contract is a good place to start.
Wright is in the final year of a six-year, $55-million deal, with the team holding an option in 2013 for $16 million. But while in the midst of an MVP-type season, the timing is ripe to strike a new deal.
Wright is batting .330 with 16 home runs and 71 RBI and has an overall WAR (wins above replacement) of 5.3, which is third-best in baseball. (h/t Baseball-Reference.com)
Wright, who has long expressed his desire to stay with the Mets for his career, has a lot of things going in his favor besides his tremendous season, which can be used as leverage to complete a deal.
One is that the team has expressed a desire to retain his services and are confident a deal can be made. In the aftermath of the Madoff scandal, the club's finances seem to have found some stability, which is good news for Wright.
Another is that by letting star shortstop Jose Reyes go last offseason, the onus is on New York to not let another homegrown product leave. It would be a PR nightmare for the Mets if they allow Wright to dangle another year without a long-term contract or let him walk like they did with Reyes.
While there has not been tension between the two sides about a new deal, the thought of that continuing is naive.
Wright is a fan favorite and has been the face of the franchise for quite some time. He has embraced the leadership role this season and has been dedicated in helping the Mets in the rebuilding process.
The current slide does nothing to hurt Wright's chances of getting a new deal. He is still a quality piece to build a franchise around and with the current state of the third base position currently in the league, it is practically impossible for the Mets to improve from Wright.
So what is a possible deal that works for both sides? A good benchmark to look at is Washington Nationals third base star Ryan Zimmerman. He signed a six-year, $100-million extension before the season.
Wright and Zimmerman have always been compared to each while in the majors and their history together dates back to high school. A similar deal for Wright makes sense because he has been just as good, if not better than Zimmerman.
Does David Wright deserve that kind of money? It does not seem to be over-the-top, especially for a star playing in New York. It is completely up to the Mets if they want to keep Wright and only time will tell what approach they take.
The recent slide the Mets have been on halts their 2012 hopes and dreams, but it should allow them to look forward to moving on into the seasons ahead.
Hopefully the Mets realize David Wright was a catalyst to their magical first half. He should be the centerpiece moving forward.
The New York Mets cannot add another dismal story to the ones they created in the past several years. With all the bad publicity and negativity they have received, they need something positive. They need a star, a face, a beloved figure.
The Mets need to keep their third baseman because the price is just Wright.