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Thoughts on David Wright

Mike SteffanosThursday, April 28, 2011
By Mike Steffanos

Andy McCullough, the Mets beat writer for The Star-Ledger, had an interesting column Tuesday on the possibilities of the Mets trading David Wright. Well worth the read, if you haven't checked it out already.

I'm not a big fan of the notion promoted by some New York media types that advocated change for change's sake -- the "Mets need to change the core" argument. Moreover, I believe that Wright is the best all-around player the Mets have produced in my four decades of watching them. My preference would be for Wright to play his entire career as a New York Met.

On the other hand, I understand full well both sides of what McCullough lays out here:

[Wright] remains a franchise player under club control at a reasonable price through 2013. Which means at some point -- likely not in the immediate future -- general manager Sandy Alderson must make a choice.

To rebuild this franchise, one mired in financial difficulty, Alderson must explore all avenues. From the beginning, Alderson has contended that no players are untouchable.

Thus Wright represents a two-way resource. Alderson could build to contend with Wright as his centerpiece. Or he could flip Wright for an infusion of prospects to boost a lagging farm system.

Players like Jose Reyes, Carlos Beltran and Francisco Rodriguez all could be shopped at the trade deadline. But Wright carries the most value.

The Mets are in the process of making over their farm system. While I believe there is more talent there already than the team is generally given credit for, no one denies that the Mets need to improve both the quantity and quality of their prospects. If someone were to bowl them over with an offer for Wright, they have to consider it. They'd be foolish not to.

McCullough makes a comparison that I've seen in several places already -- Wright's value now compared to Mark Teixeira's when the Rangers traded the first baseman to Atlanta. Teixeira netted Texas Jarrod Saltalamacchia and 4 prospects: SS Elvis Andrus, closer Nefatli Feliz and pitcher Matt Harrison.

If the Mets could find someone as eager to land Wright as John Schuerholz was to obtain Teixeira, they certainly would have to consider making the deal. They're simply not in a position where they can afford not to take advantage of any opportunity to get this franchise pointed in the right direction.

Wright has lost some luster in the eyes of some Mets fans in recent years as his batting average and strikeout totals have passed each other heading in the wrong direction. Although he comes to play every day and plays the game hard, he doesn't have that hard edge of anger that we New York fans love to see. Because of both these factors Wright seems to have come symbolize the frustration we have with the current incarnation of the Metropolitans.

Even among many fans who don't buy into the whole "change the core" thing, Wright's up and down last couple of seasons combined with frustrations over how the club has failed to compete has made what was once unthinkable -- trading the face of the club -- a real consideration. But is it smart?

Wright is under reasonable contract for this season, next year and 2013. He'll be 30 in the final year of his contract, still fairly young. He'll make $14 million this year, $15 million next and $16 million in 2013. For the middle-of-the-order offensive production that Wright supplies, that's a reasonable paycheck these days.

It won't be easy to replace Wright's bat in the lineup when you finish rebuilding and are looking to seriously contend again. The improved play of the Mets this season since Jason Bay has returned has reinforced the importance of a deep lineup with strength in the 3-6 slots.

If the Mets are a real playoff contender in 2013 -- a reasonable goal -- they will need a David Wright or someone with similar production. If they have to buy that commodity on the open market, it will likely cost them more than the $16 million Wright will make. As teams like the Rockies and Brewers lock up their best players long term, what makes it to the market becomes more expensive all of the time. Moreover, we've seen with Jason Bay and Carlos Beltran that there's often an adjustment period for coming to New York.

Even if the Mets bring back a haul of prospects for Wright matching the Teixeira deal, the Mets would be lucky if one of the players obtained gave them production along the lines of what they could expect from Wright. Prospects are never a sure thing -- while Andrus and Feliz panned out for Texas, Saltalamacchia was the gem of the deal when it was made, and he's yet to fulfill that promise with a career .245/.312/.379 batting line in just under 1,000 major league AB.

So while I agree that Wright is a valuable trade asset that can bring back multiple prospects, I think there is an argument to be made for keeping Wright as an important lineup piece of the contender the Mets hope to build. Perhaps negotiate some sort of 3 or 4 year extension to keep him here for what can be expected to be productive years. Build the lineup around David and Ike Davis and then add in the other pieces around them. If you believe the Mets need an edgier personality as a team, this can be accomplished with the players you add to the mix.

Sandy Alderson and the rest of the brain trust have some work to do to improve this farm system. Any opportunity to do this should be explored -- including paying draft picks over slot when called for, aggressive international signings and leveraging current roster assets when appropriate. However, I'm simply not convinced that dealing the best player on the team -- still relatively young and under reasonable contract -- is the best solution to this problem.

If you are just finding this blog again and wondering why I was gone for so long and what the plan is going forward, read this.

About Mike: I was the original writer on this web site, actually its only writer for the first 15 months of existence. Although I am grateful for the excellent contributions of my fellow writers here, I have no plans of stepping back into strictly an editorial role. I started this thing in the first place because I love to write and I love the Mets, and blogging here keeps me somewhat sane. If you haven't had enough already, more bio info can be found here.

Comments (3)

i have to disagree with you Mike.Reyes right now is the better player of the 2.He is much better defensively, better speed, strikes out 50 per cent less than Wright and does not seem to have suffered a down trend in his talents.From what i have seen the last few years with Wright is that he has become a mistake hitter.Good pitchers who get ahead in the count and work him down and away seem to own Wright.Plus he seems to miss or foul off a large number of fastballs down the middle.As you point out there is no way of knowing how any prospects we get in a trade will work out, at 30 years of age there is no way in my opinion the mets will give Wright a 5 year deal for 100 million, which i would estimate his asking price will be.They might both be traded, but Wright would return more in return, so i think the orudent move is to trade Wright

I don't advocate keeping Wright over Reyes, I only can go by the fact that Wright is under contract through 2013 and Reyes isn't. I also suggested that the Mets look to extend Wright's current contract rather than wait to negotiate a new one when this one expires.

This piece wasn't about Reyes at all, but if I were running the Mets I would resign Reyes in a minute if I could keep him to a 4 or 5 year contract. Beyond that, I don't like the risk with a player whose game is so dependent on speed.

Having said that, I would like to see the Mets find a way to keep both.

Glad you are wiling to open this up.

Omar did great basically keeping the core together. But now it's time to turn the page. I don't see wright as mike Schmidt but more tino Martinez. He is a pro. But he also reminds me of Scott to en as an all star who had to leave Philly to make room.

The star is not wright any more it's Ike. At this stage of his career wright is a prime piece of a puzzle for the angels, or ?making a championship run. Personally tho I keep wright. We have time. I have already blogged about a proposed Reyes trade to San fran . If Reyes goes angel leads off, Tejada is at ss batting 8th.

I trade palfrey, send dickey to the pen and I insert Jon Sanchez into the rotation with gee, Beato/cappy nixes and young.

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