Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal initially reported that the Mets offered Wright a six-year, $100 million extension. Though that contract is on par with the deals that fellow third basemen Ryan Zimmerman and Evan Longoria received, the general belief was that Wright would turn such an offer down.
Rumors soon circulated that the Mets made a better offer to their third baseman, one which included a seventh year. CBS Sports' Jon Heyman eventually reported that the Mets have offered an eight-year contract to Wright that could be worth up to $140 million.
It's difficult to imagine Wright wouldn't take that contract if it's actually been presented to him. An eight-year deal paying $20 million per season is a superstar type of package. To the Mets, Wright is their cornerstone player, and he obviously believes he should be paid accordingly.
What's curious is that Wright told MLB Trade Rumors that all of these reports are inaccurate. Unfortunately, he didn't say which parts of the stories were inaccurate. Is it the money? The length of the contract? Does Wright simply dislike that the process is being made public? Should he really have expected otherwise?
Of course, Wright may also just want to test the free-agent market and see what other sorts of offers might be available. He'll likely never have such an opportunity again, so why not take it?
It doesn't mean that he doesn't want to play for the Mets. Anyone in any profession is surely willing to listen to an offer of better pay. But it's on the Mets to present a contract that makes him willing to pass on the open market.
However, there's also the question of whether or not Wright wants to finish his major league career with the Mets.
Does he believe the team and general manager Sandy Alderson have a plan that will return the Mets back to playoff contention? Though Wright's contract would indicate the team is willing to spend money again, does that effort end with him, or will the Mets do what's necessary to bring in talent and fill in key holes on the roster?
That brings us to R.A. Dickey. If the Mets devote $20 million per season to Wright, will there be enough payroll to also give their NL Cy Young Award winner a contract extension?
The answer is presumably yes, because the Mets have been negotiating with Dickey since the beginning of November. The New York Daily News' Andy Martino reported that the team offered a two-year extension. But the two sides obviously haven't agreed on the money part of the contract yet.
According to ESPN's Buster Olney, Dickey is seeking more than $10 million per season. Martino followed that up by reporting the knuckleballer would sign for less than the two-year, $29 million contract that Jake Peavy agreed to with the Chicago White Sox.
There's a lot of room between more than $10 million and less than $15 million per season, however. Clearly, Dickey hasn't heard the number he's looking for yet. But he did tell ESPN New York's Adam Rubin that he expected a contract to have been worked out by now.
With MLB's winter meeting scheduled for next week (Dec. 3-6), that could increase the urgency to get something done. Dickey has also set a deadline of Opening Day for agreeing to a contract extension, saying he won't negotiate during the season (but don't most players say that?).
Yet now the Mets, Wright and Dickey find themselves in a strange chicken-or-egg sort of situation with these contract negotiations. Which comes first? Getting Wright locked up appears to be the priority for the team, as it should be. But is Wright waiting to see how the Mets handle Dickey's situation?
Are the Mets going to make a commitment to their 20-game winner, their best starting pitcher, which presumably demonstrates an intention to be competitive? Or might they decide to trade Dickey, in which case it becomes clearer that the Mets have a rebuilding project in mind?
Is Dickey waiting to see how the Mets handle Wright's situation? If Wright doesn't want to sign an extension with the Mets, what does that say about his perception of the team and organization? Does that tell Dickey he's better off signing elsewhere?
The Mets certainly appear serious about signing Wright to a long-term contract extension. But how will the team follow that up? Is the plan to build around Wright? Is Dickey a part of that plan? Or is the primary concern avoiding the embarrassment of losing the franchise player?
Not signing both players to new contracts would send a troubling message. Is this team in a position where it can't afford to sign its best hitter and its best pitcher?
If so, how can it possibly expect to contend with the Washington Nationals, Atlanta Braves and Philadelphia Phillies in the NL East? Under those circumstances, how much of a gap really exists between the Mets and Miami Marlins?
That could be what Wright and Dickey are currently thinking about, while their respective agents trade contract figures with the Mets.
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