Not since David Wright's May slump have there been any serious rumblings about the Mets trading their star third baseman, but the question has recently been posed: Would Wright match up well with the Boston Red Sox, and would a trade be possible this winter?
The question itself is not without merit given Boston third baseman Adrian Beltre's impending free agency, Wright's burgeoning salary and declining production, and the Mets' aging roster of annual under achievers.
Surely some Mets fans will consider the question itself just another demonstration of the Red Sox Nation's arrogance, for how could anyone possibly think the Mets would or should part with the face of their franchise?
Just as surely, many the Red Sox Faithful will leap at the prospect like lobsters from a boiling pot, for who wouldn't want to acquire David Wright?
Let's examine the facts and see how desirable and possible a Wright-to-Boston deal might be.
Wright turns 28 this December and remains under contract through 2012 with a club option for 2013, so Wright will still be a relatively young 30-year-old player when he hits free agency.
Through 2010, Wright has been paid $23.5 million on his seven-year, $68.5 million deal, so this heavily back-loaded contract is about to come home to roost. At season's end, Wright will still be owed $45 million, including that 2013 option.
That said, Wright's production has been down significantly since the beginning of 2009.
In 2009, Wright hit .307 with only 10 homers and a career-worst 837 OPS. In 2010, Wright has improved offensively, hitting .290 with 23 homers and an 864 OPS. Still, Wright's overall production on both offense and defense is dramatically lower than what it once was.
During his first four full seasons, from 2005 to 2008, Wright produced an average of $26.7 million in sabermetric value. In 2009 and 2010, Wright has respectively produced only $15.3 million and $15.6 million.
This sharp drop is due in large part to Wright's declining defensive production. A Gold-Glove winner in 2007 and 2008, Wright has played below-average defense over the past two years. In fact, Wright's range has decreased to such an extent that he is now a below-average defender for his career.
None of this is to suggest that David Wright is a has-been star. Perhaps, Wright's bat and glove have only temporarily slacked off. Certainly, maintaining MVP-caliber production year after year is no easy task.
Yet these numbers should cast doubt on the sagacity of any team, not just the Red Sox, trading for David Wright.
Given Boston general manager Theo Epstein's alacrity for sabermetrics and run prevention, Wright would seem a poor match with Boston.
Wright's declining defense speaks for itself, and should his sabermetric value hold steady around $15 million annually, Wright would only just be worth the remaining money on his contract.
As an alternative to resigning Beltre, Wright would probably cost the same in yearly salary and produce less.
What's more, retaining Beltre can be achieved with the mere stroke of the pen, but acquiring the face of the Mets would surely require prized prospects and major-league-ready talent in addition to an equivalent financial commitment.
At the end of the day, Boston wouldn't and shouldn't be interested in trading for Wright, but New York should definitely be thinking about shipping him elsewhere.
For breaking Red Sox news updates, follow Peter on Twitter at BoSoxUpdate.