It appears all over but the autograph.
David Wright reportedly agreed to a contract that makes him the highest paid Met ever and keep him with the franchise through at least 2020.
Wright said he wants to retire a Met and this will do it. The Mets already picked up a $16 million option for next season and will add seven more years at $122 million. He’ll be 38 when the contract ends. After that, depending on how he feels, he could play until he’s 40 then ride off into the sunset as a club ambassador like Tom Seaver.
Will the Mets overpay for Wright? Definitely, if based on his production the past four years, but he’s valuable to the Mets on levels that transcend what he does on the field.
The Mets’ credibility with their dwindling fan base is at a low following a NLCS Game 7 loss in 2006 and subsequent late-season collapses the next two years; that they are on their third manager and second GM since 2008; the Madoff scandal that lead to $50 million slashed from the payroll; that no contract offer was made to Jose Reyes last winter; and they made no effort to improve themselves despite a 46-40 record at the break.
With four straight losing seasons, what’s the incentive to buy a ticket or watch on TV?
It would have been next to nothing had Wright been traded or left as a free agent next season.
Wright is the current face of the franchise and might arguably be the Mets’ best position player in their 50-year history. Last season he became their all-time leader in hits, runs, walks and RBI and made his sixth All-Star Game.
When he’s done Wright will be in the position he always wanted, which was to spend his career with the same organization like Cal Ripken and Chipper Jones.
Of the top five players named on the Hall of Fame ballot – Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Sammy Sosa, Mike Piazza and Craig Biggio – only one, Biggio, played his entire career with the same team. (Biggio’s teammate also played his major league career with the Astros, but was drafted by Boston.)
I wrote yesterday that signing Wright means nothing if the Mets don’t add around him and I stand by that sentiment. Keeping Wright lends an appearance of stability, that if the Mets are willing to spend, it should attract future free agents.
Getting Wright done now enables the Mets to concentrate on R.A. Dickey, whose $5 million option for 2013 was picked up. Dickey said signing Wright would play a big part in his desire to return. Dickey also said he will not negotiate during the season.
Perhaps more importantly, it should signal to the younger players – Jon Niese, Matt Harvey and Ike Davis – that they intend not to have a revolving door every winter and being a career Met has value.
We shall see.