Over the past few years, the New York Mets have done a poor job of cementing a solid core group of players. The tandem of David Wright and Ike Davis could be a very good starting point for the Mets as the team attempts to rebuild while staying relevant in a city that hates to rebuild.
A core is vital to a team's success. The Yankees rode their "Core Four" (Jeter, Rivera, Pettitte and Posada) to multiple World Series titles. While the Mets' may not be able to realistically set their sights that high yet, they will need both Davis and Wright if they are to experience any level of success in the coming years.
David Wright has one year remaining on his contract and Ike Davis is up for arbitration this offseason. It is very important that the Mets work towards locking both players up to long-term deals or they will end up taking a step backwards.
David Wright and Ike Davis are the best players on the team right now. For that reason alone, the front office should work to keep the duo in Queens.
Wright and Davis finished first and second respectively on the team in runs scored, RBI, total bases and walks. They finished second and third in SLG. Ike Davis led the team in HR, and David Wright was second behind him.
Wright is expected to be at the top in those categories for his team. His unbelievable start assured that he would finish near the top on the Mets squad.
The fact that Davis finished as high as he did is more surprising. Before the All Star break, Davis looked so bad that there was talk of sending him down to the minors to figure things out. He, as any player would, said that the minors wouldn't help.
Despite the remaining skepticism, Davis was eventually able to get his swing right at the major league level, further confirming that he is a big league player.
Wright and Davis also help the Mets in the field. The pair make up the corners of the team's infield, and it is very important that those areas be solid.
Ike Davis finished 2012 with a .994 fielding percentage at first base, while David Wright finished with a .974 fielding percentage at third.
For a team that has had its fair share of troubles in the field and at the plate, it is important that the franchise locks up the two players that actually have positive impacts.
If the Mets do not re-sign David Wright in the offseason, there is a good chance that they will end up trading him away in 2013 or letting him walk after the season. They will likely find it difficult to compete with what other teams will offer the All Star third baseman.
In that situation, Ike Davis will instantly be expected to step up as a leader of the team. The fact of the matter is, however, that he's not ready to fill that role. His early season struggles proved that point.
While Davis was in the midst of his slow start, he often looked like a different player than what fans had come to expect. His body language was disheartening and he didn't appear deserving of a spot on the roster.
As I mentioned earlier, his turnaround showed his guts, but before that occurred, he showed that he wasn't ready to lead this team. He will be soon, but, until then, the Mets need to keep Wright around.
Wright has been with this team through good and bad times. He is a seasoned veteran leader. He has seen the Mets make it to Game 7 of the NLCS and he has seen his team blow a huge division lead in the last month of the season.
You need a player with that kind of experience, someone who's been there and done that. Wright is a guy who's pretty much seen it all with the Mets. Thus, when something goes right or wrong on the field, the young players on the team look to him to see how they should respond.
Ike Davis is surely capable of filling that role one day. Until he's ready, however, is there a better role model to learn from than David Wright?
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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