Okay, so the New York Mets aren't going to sign Josh Hamilton this winter. The point is that if the Mets don't show that they are serious about improving, they will always find it impossible to reel in the big free agents. Keeping Wright and Davis in town would show that they are committed to winning.
If they let either one go, it would indicate that the Mets are a franchise content with the abyss. Nobody is safe. Come the trading deadline, anyone will be fair game. If New York lets their best player or rising star go, why would an incoming free agent feel any more secure about his position on the team.
In an ESPN article, GM Sandy Alderson said that re-signing David Wright would be a priority this offseason. He also said that the Mets were not looking to make any significant additions this year because they have too much money tied up elsewhere (see: K-Rod, Jason Bay).
Eventually, the Mets will be in a position to go out and make moves via the free agent market. If Wright or Davis is gone, however, how will the Mets be able to convince new athletes that they can win in New York?
Big name free agents often leave their old teams in search of a winner. They usually have the opportunity to score a big contract where they are, but they have determined that winning is more important. If the Mets don't give the impression that they are trying to win, the big names will avoid coming despite big money being offered.
Wright and Davis are also important for the Mets' popularity now, not among free agents, but among the fans.
The two homegrown players are fan favorites. After a season in which Citi Field averaged only 67 percent attendance, the Mets must realize that if either of those players leave New York, that number will be sure to drop.
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