From the beginning of the year, the topic of an extension for David Wright has been thrown around by members of the New York Mets organization. In May, Jeff Wilpon said that he wants to see Wright sign an extension with the Mets, but that he was also not feeling a sense of urgency to get the deal done because of the fact that Wright has a $16 million team option for 2013 (h/t Adam Rubin of ESPN).
While the Mets may think that they have time to wait, that is not the right move to make. They let Jose Reyes hit free agency and they lost him to the Miami Marlins. There is no way that they can allow the same thing to happen with David Wright.
Losing one immense talent in Reyes was painful, but losing a second in Wright just a few years later would be devastating.
Wright has been the best third baseman in baseball this year according to FanGraphs WAR. His 6.5 WAR total is significantly ahead of Miguel Cabrera's 5.9 WAR this season. Since 2007, Wright only trails Cabrera in WAR for third basemen (h/t FanGraphs). The numbers that Wright has put up are those of a franchise cornerstone and a player that the Mets should be looking to build around.
Wright himself has even hinted at this by saying, "You want to be able to win, and I’ve only experienced a little bit of that here. In a perfect world, we get this thing turned around and going in the right direction and ultimately I get to experience the bad, the ugly and the good here, which includes winning" (h/t Josh Alper of NBC New York).
Should Wright decide that he can't be a winner with the Mets, there will be many teams waiting in the wings to sign him.
A number of teams will have the available funds to sign Wright if he becomes a free agent in 2014. If the Los Angeles Dodgers, who have shown that they have no qualms about spending large sums of cash, keep Hanley Ramirez at shortstop, then they could make a run at Wright.
The Los Angeles Angels could also try to fit Wright into their lineup along with Mike Trout and Albert Pujols. In a worst-case scenario, the rival Atlanta Braves or Philadelphia Phillies could make a run at Wright. With Chipper Jones retiring and Juan Francisco playing third base in 2013, Wright could become the next superstar third baseman in Atlanta beginning on Opening Day 2014.
That is what makes it so important for the Mets to lock up Wright this winter. If they miss out on their opportunity, then he may be as good as gone.
To ensure that Wright plays for at least the next six years in a Mets uniform, the time to act is now. It seems clear that Wright is having extension talks and the Mets should jump at the opportunity.
Wright has talked about how much he has enjoyed his time in New York and the amount of respect that he has for the franchise (h/t Jon Heyman of CBS Sports).
Even more telling than this could be something that Wright causally mentioned about his favorite player growing up. He said that his favorite ballplayer was Cal Ripken Jr., the star shortstop and third baseman for the Baltimore Orioles. One of the reasons that Wright liked Ripken so much was because "I like that he stayed" (h/t Jon Heyman of CBS Sports).
This quote shows just how important loyalty is to Wright. He has been loyal to the Mets since they drafted him, and as long as they repay the favor, there is no reason why Wright won't be penciled in the lineup at third base for the Mets for years to come.