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Atlanta Braves: Is David Wright a Future Option at Third Base?

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Atlanta Braves: Is David Wright a Future Option at Third Base?
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It's not easy to replace a legend. That is what the Atlanta Braves will be attempting to accomplish at third base this winter with the retirement of Chipper Jones. 

Of course Atlanta could fill the role internally by moving Martin Prado from left field to the hot corner.

Prado, 28, committed one error in 25 games at third base for Atlanta in 2012. He is the logical replacement based on organizational factors. Atlanta wouldn't be giving up any top prospects or paying big money to man the position at least right now. 

That's not the only option.

David Wright's name has been brought up numerous times over the past few months in regards to his future with the Mets.

The 29-year-old held his own with a .306 average, 21 home runs and 93 RBI in 156 games in 2012. His contract is set to expire this off-season, but the organization will likely exercise the $16 million option to bring him back for 2013.

If the Mets choose to let their franchise player hit free-agency, he will command nearly $150 million on the open market over six years. The Braves do not have a reputation of signing players to big price tags, but landing Wright would be the ultimate move to replacing Chipper.  

New York finished 46-40 in the first half of the season, but the team's lack of depth proved to be their weakness as they fell off the wagons post All-Star break to a lowly 28-48 mark for a 74-win season.

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The Mets could entertain trade offers this winter assuming they pick up the option, but a trade at this point is highly unlikely.

The Braves would have to part with some of their top prospects in order for the Mets to even consider a trade. Names like pitchers Julio Teheran, Randall Delgado, Sean Gilmartin and position players Edward Salcedo and Joey Terdoslavich could all be targets for the Mets in negotiations.

Atlanta would have to get assurances from Wright's camp that they will be able to sign him long-term before any trade is finalized.

Many fans remember that the Braves acquired first baseman Mark Teixeira from the Texas Rangers at the trade deadline in 2007. It was a smart deal at the time because they were in contention and needed another big bat in the lineup. The risk of the trade was Teixeira's contract, which expired after the 2008 season. 

Trading for Teixeira completely backfired on Atlanta as all four players Atlanta sent to Texas are in the major leagues.

Atlanta was not in the playoff picture in 2008 and shipped him to the Angels for Casey Kotchman and minor league pitcher Stephen Marek.

Surely general manager Frank Wren will not make the same mistake again and acquire a big name player without a contract extension in place.

The thought of trading Wright inside the division has to be frightening for the Mets, but wouldn't it be better for them than seeing him potentially walk? They would at least get top tier prospects and possibly a major league player back in return. 

What the Mets need is depth, especially with their pitching staff. Johan Santana is a two-time Cy Young award winner, but recently he's had problems staying healthy. R.A. Dickey, who won 20 games for the Mets in 2012, is 37 years old. 

Matt Harvey, Zach Wheeler and Jenrry Mejia are all young pitchers who can fit into their rotation, but they could use a jolt in their minor league system. 

Wright is a franchise player, but the likelihood of the Mets being in contention next season with the Washington Nationals and Braves is slim. Also the Philadelphia Phillies should bounce back with a healthy Chase Utley, Ryan Howard and Roy Halladay. It may impact his decision on staying with the organization. 

It would take a lot for New York to part with their fan favorite, but they should consider moving him if the price is right.  

 

Follow me on Twitter @Andrew_Vig

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