What Should The Years Limit Be For David Wright?

I like David Wright and want the Mets to sign him to an extension.

However, the question is: For how long?

The other day I wrote the Mets should get going and sign him and R.A. Dickey. What I should have said is they should put their best offer on the table, and if nothing else, be creative. My thoughts were the longer this drags on – especially after saying they wanted to get something done quickly – the more their price rises, as does the chances of losing them.

WRIGHT: How much? How long?

Contracts over five years are in vogue for superstars, Derek Jeter, Albert Pujols, Prince Fielder and Alex Rodriguez all received them based on past and future performance. However, most of these teams have, or will, regret the decision. The Yankees certainly do with Rodriguez. Pujols likely gave his best to the Cardinals.

These deals are precarious, as evidenced by the contract Johan Santana signed with the Mets. Then again, the Mets regretted four with Jason Bay. Injuries are always a risk, but seldom do players produce as they did in the seasons leading up to the payday.

The Mets didn’t want to give a long-term deal to Jose Reyes because they feared him breaking down physically. The Mets had plenty of signs about Reyes’ durability, and are now getting the same indicators with Wright.

From 2005-2008, when the Mets played in Shea Stadium – and for the most part he was surrounded in the line-up with sluggers Carlos Beltran and Carlos Delgado – Wright was an offensive force, never hitting below .300 and never having an on-base percentage less than .388. He never hit fewer than 26 homers, drive in less than 100 runs, or have a .912 OPS.

Those numbers would have been worthy of a $100-million plus deal.

Wright was a blossoming All-Star and the hope was him having a Chipper Jones-like career and eventually go into the Hall of Fame as a single-team player. Jones did it with the Braves and is waiting on the Hall, as is Jeter with the Yankees. Pujols should be a Hall of Famer, but not as a single-team player. With Rodriguez, PED’s might keep him out.

I’m not so sure about Wright, on either count, these days.

The Mets signed Wright to a six year deal in 2006 (with a 2013 option they picked up ) and for the most part received their money’s worth. The speculated numbers are now over $100 million for at least six years (more than double his current contract).

However, his production over the past four years isn’t worthy of such a deal. If he gets one, it will be for past performance and marketability in addition to what the Mets hope he’ll give them during his prime. Wright isn’t just another player to the Mets in that he brings a lot to the table off the field, which also has a value.

Last year, Wright had a terrible second half and settled for .306, 21 homers, 93 RBI, a .391 on-base percentage and .883 OPS. It was a good, but not great season. It was not a season up to his standards or goals. The Mets, their fan base, and Wright himself, all expect more.

Owner Fred Wilpon let it slip Wright wasn’t a superstar, and wasn’t wrong.

But, alarmingly so, 2012 was also the best he’s done the past four seasons. Whether it be succumbing to the pressure of trying to carry the Mets; injuries (the Matt Cain beaning had to have taken something out of him); the difficulty of getting acclimated to Citi Field; or simply underperforming or perhaps hitting his career peak, Wright has not produced like a superstar.

He has not produced like a player expecting a $100-million package. Wright’s season highs the past four years are 91 runs (2012), 178 hits (2012), 29 homers and 103 RBI (2010), a .307 average (2009), a .391 on-base percentage (2012), an .883 OPS (2012, making it four straight years under .900.

As much as I like Wright, the question the Mets must answer is whether he hit his ceiling as a player. It is not a pleasant question, but it is pertinent. The Mets must decide if his trade value is at a high or if they have the ability to surround him with other parts. They must also crunch some numbers to determine whether to front load or back load the contract.

How many years should Wright get? I’m thinking five as the base with a string of option years. If they have seven as a base, they could find themselves under more financial stress down the road.


5 thoughts on “What Should The Years Limit Be For David Wright?

  1. I think 5 years is fair. As you repeat over and over the long term deals are not good. Give him 5 years at a good rate. You can tack on option years if you want.

    Besides the Mets will be begging for money to pay him regardless of what they offer.

      • Over the years you comment on how long term deals are usually regretted by the signing club. You say this over and over again. You said it with the Santana signing and others..

  2. All long term deals carry some risk. But I think signing a position player, one who has already played in your city/on your team, and one who has been relatively healthy in his career is less risky than most.

    And Wright is easily worth 100 mil. Look at the guys that get 100 mil…Crawford got 140, Reyes got over 100 mil, Werth got over 100 mil….Wright is better than those guys. No he hasn’t been quite as consistently great over the last 4 years as he was from 2005-2008, but if he had been producing like 2005-2008 every year over the last 4 years…he’d be getting closer to 200 mil.

    And you are being a bit unfair in judging his 2012 season. Yes the second half was disappointing but still his overall year was great. Counting stats are team dependent and Citi is still a pretty tough park to hit in. OPS is a better stat, but even that can be influenced by a number of factors…Citi is harder to hit in than most stadiums and offense as a whole is down in baseball….so an .880 OPS in 2012 is pretty much the equivalent to what a .900 OPS was a few years ago. Wright’s .883 OPS was 13th in the majors. And his OPS+ which adjusts for park related factors and how hitters throughout the league are fairing overall was 143…the second best of his career, and 11th best in all of baseball (just a point out of the 9th spot). And when you use WAR which factors in positional value and defense, he ranked tied for 4th in all of baseball. His 2012 was a great year.

    Now maybe he’ll slip from that a bit…but even still he’s likely to be worth 100 mil easily. Over the course of the last 4 years he’s still put up a 130 OPS+…that is very good…especially for a 3b

    • nym: Thanks for your response. I was trying to point out that his numbers had been on a decline. Your comments on the OPS were interesting. Perhaps my expectations of Wright were too high. No, he didn’t have his best year, but you’re right, it was a good year nonetheless. And, I should have accounted for WAR. Again, thanks for your response.-JD