10 Reasons the New York Mets Need to Extend David Wright This Offseason
It would ease the nerves of every Mets fan if GM Sandy Alderson would just announce a contract extension and worry about improving the rest of the team which could certainly use a great deal of upgrading.
It would be a disastrous financial decision if the franchise fails to lock up David Wright long-term, and here are 10 reasons why.
10. He Should Be Part of the Solution
The Mets have not won a World Series with David Wright on the roster; in fact, they have only been to the playoffs one time.
Normally, that would mean his presence is not necessarily needed in order for the Mets to improve. With the way the Mets have been constructed around him, however, this is not the case.
He is one of five players on this year's team with an OPS+ of higher than league-average.
The other four are either part-time or one-dimensional players. This means he is their most well-rounded player.
Does it make sense to subtract that player from the equation? No, he should be retained based on the ineptness of the rest of the offense.
In 2004, he was supposed to represent hope for the embattled franchise. Here we are eight seasons later—still without a pennant—and the Mets have reverted to their form of Wright's rookie season.
9. He Has Caused Zero Distractions in His Career
In this era of sports—not just baseball—which has featured scandals ranging from steroid allegations, marriage infidelity, child molestation and animal cruelty, David Wright has been free of all controversies even in the spotlight of New York.
For an established star, that is astoundingly rare.
It seems logical to stay out of trouble if you are being paid millions to play a game and be a role model for the youth of the nation, but it has proven to be elusive for most.
David Wright is the type of person that an organization should not hesitate to sign long term.
It is fair to compare Wright to another third basemen in the NL East, Chipper Jones, who had an interesting comment regarding the situation.
He told reporters at Citi Field, "I can honestly say why the Atlanta Braves and I have had such a good marriage is because the Braves have never allowed me to go to free agency. They've never allowed me to get close to free agency."
The Mets showed their commitment to Wright during the 2006 season when they signed him to a six-year contract worth $55 million.
They need to prevent him from reaching free agency once again.
8. His Absence Would Further Set Back the Goal of Being a Contending Team
Mets fans have been pretty patient with the current rebuilding phase, which has been ongoing since Sandy Alderson took over for Omar Minaya.
Next year is supposed to be the final year of the process, by most admissions.
That is not set in stone, obviously, the game of baseball does not follow plans like that. It is feasible at the current time, however, if the young pitching prospects develop at a quick pace, and a couple of their position prospects become viable major league players.
In the event that the Mets lose David Wright to free agency, their plan to contend in 2014 will be put on hold indefinitely, or until they find a player of his caliber to fill the middle of the order.
The sun has just begun to creep out from the dark clouds, but it can disappear for a much longer time if the franchise turns its back on their best offensive player since Mike Piazza.
7. There Are No Other Free Agents Worthy of a Long-Term Contract
The biggest offensive players on the free agent market after this season will be Josh Hamilton, B.J. Upton and Ichiro Suzuki.
While they are all upgrades over the current crop of Mets' outfielders, they all have their warts.
Ichiro will be 39 at the end of the season and is not worthy of a long-term contract given his age and steep decline.
Virtually everyone of his offensive statistics has dropped off significantly in recent years and he does not possess the speed that enabled him to eclipse 30 stolen bases from '01-'08.
Upton has long been one of the most frustrating players to watch in the game. He possesses a tantalizing skill set but has failed to put it to fruition aside from the 2008 postseason.
Hamilton is one of the best players on the planet. He has all-world power and is a plus defender with Rick Ankiel-type of arm strength.
Some players hit their prime in their 30s, but given Hamilton's history of drug and alcohol abuse, he is a much bigger threat to break down at an early age than most players.
Granted, even one or two great years from him would be great production, but it would not be wise to sign him to a six- or seven-year deal which will cripple the team financially even more.
David Wright is a much safer bet to complete his contract healthy and productive.
6. He Has Earned the Right to Determine His Fate
David Wright has been through a lot with the Mets' organization.
He debuted during the gloomy days of the Art Howe era while he was a budding 21-year-old star. Within one year, he was one of the biggest forces on an up-and-coming team threatening to sneak in as the wild card winners.
By 2006—during his age-23 season—Wright was already a top-10 finisher in the NL MVP voting.
During the team's epic collapses of 2007 and 2008, Wright received a great deal of criticism despite his incredible play for not being more of a vocal leader during their demise.
Regardless, he was playing at an MVP level and he would have won in '07 if not for the failures of the rest of the team.
Since then, Wright has been forced to play in an unfavorable home ballpark, recover from a concussion, broken back and provide the lone offensive threat for a team in the doldrums.
Wright has accrued enough equity in this city that he should decide where he ultimately wants to play.
He recently told reporters that "there is not a single complaint I have," in regards to his feelings about the Mets franchise.
Now, the feeling must be mutual in order for him to remain a Met.
Does Fred Wilpon feel the same about him?
5. He Will Be a Terrific Mentor for Nimmo and Cecchini
While the Mets do not have a bevy of minor league bats on the verge of the big leagues, they did draft Brandon Nimmo and Gavin Cecchini in the 2011 and '12 MLB Drafts, respectively.
They will be part of the solution for the New York Mets if everything goes as planned.
It would be ideal if Wright is still on the team when they are adapting to playing in Citi Field, so he can share his knowledge with the youngsters.
Wright was once the kid on a veteran team, and Cliff Floyd was the type of veteran that was constantly helping him to reach his comfort zone in New York.
I wrote a piece recently, analyzing who could potentially be the "next" David Wright of the Mets' franchise in terms of production and popularity.
Nimmo and Cecchini ranked as No. 1 and 2 on the list based upon their tremendous skill sets and outgoing personalities.
Will it work out that way? That's anybody's guess at this point, but Wright's presence could only benefit them.
4. He Can Eclipse Virtually Every Franchise Offensive Record
Even at 29 years old, David Wright already owns the franchise records for runs scored, total bases, doubles, runs batted in, walks, extra base hits and times on bases.
All of the counting statistics (ones that cannot decline by performance) are within his grasps aside from triples.
It would be a significant achievement for any single player to hold all of a franchise's offensive records.
Wright has averaged 21 home runs per 162 game season which puts him two or three seasons away from the franchise record of 252, held by Darryl Strawberry.
Although he would never admit it, I think Wright would take a great deal of pride in owning that record.
3. The Team Cannot Afford to Lose His Production
If the Mets possessed the type of offensive team that the St. Louis Cardinals', perhaps they would be in position to allow their franchise player to walk away and not have it affect them.
That is not the case for a team that ranks 10th in the NL in runs scored and 13th in home runs. By taking away Wright's 17 home runs, that figure would put their total on the verge of humiliating.
His logical replacement, Daniel Murphy, has six home runs. That is not the type of production needed from a corner infielder.
If they intended on looking outside the organization for help, it would make zero sense considering Wright outproduces any of the external options.
If the team is intending on promoting their Sterling Minor League Player of the Year, Wilmer Flores, they must teach him the intricacies of third base considering he only switched from short stop this season.
Wright is the team's best hitter, subtracting his offense would be a death sentence.
2. He Is the Face of the Franchise
David Wright is to the Mets what Chipper Jones is to the Atlanta Braves and Derek Jeter is to the New York Yankees.
Yes, baseball is a business, but different rules need to apply for a player that has donned the colors of the franchise for his entire career, put up tremendous numbers, kept a clean reputation and brought in millions in revenue.
The New York Knicks made this mistake on a lesser degree with Jeremy Lin.
It's one thing to make a financial decision, but when it comes to a star player, the value is not just measured in runs batted in or win totals, it's a matter of retaining a semblance of order and not losing your entire fan base.
1. Failure to Re-Sign Him Would Be the Final Nail in the Coffin for the Wilpons
There's not many owners in sports who have upset their fan base more so than the Wilpons. They have basically rotated between spending money on useless players or passed up opportunities to sign valuable players.
They have not exactly endeared them selves to the fan base since the Madoff scandal. Nobody knows exactly how much money they lost, and they have given several negative signals as well.
While most Mets fan can agree the loss of Jose Reyes hasn't been catastrophic, the way ownership handled the situation was infuriating.
If they lose Wright and Reyes in consecutive seasons, it would be the same as the Clevelenad Indians trading CC Sabathia and Cliff Lee in consecutive seasons.
The Indians at least received a bundle of prospects in exchange for the Cy Young winners, while the Mets received a mere compensation round pick for the loss of Reyes.
If you think Fred Wilpon is disliked now, wait until the public reacts when he announces they are setting parameters for a David Wright extension.
Oliver Perez would probably have a higher approval rating then Fred at that point. That is not a day I want to witness.