It was a good day. We scored a run in the bottom of the 8th to defeat Montreal 5-4, reached .500 and now trailed the first place Phillies by just 3. Orber Moreno picked up the W in relief and Braden Looper collected his 20th save. Batting 7th that day was a rookie 3bman named David Wright. He went 0-for-4.
Since July 21, 2004, David has moved up in the batting order and 0-fers have given way to some great numbers.
In 6 years David Wright has already assumed his position amongst the elite hitters in our history. Through August 3rd David is 5th all-time in Runs (609), 4th in HR’s (157), 3rd in SLG and OBP (517 and 387 respectively). His 308 career BA is 2nd in team history. He has 1101 hits and may move up to 2nd by the end of this season. At just 27 years old, 3000 hits is not out of the question. He has already become our team leader in doubles with 250. And by next summer, David will be our all-time leader in RBI’s.
When you think of the Yankees you think Jeter. When you think of the Cardinals you think Pujols. And when you think of the Mets you think David Wright.
As the Mets steamrolled over the NLE in 06, David signed a contract extension. “I have wanted to be a lifelong Met,” he said, “And this is the first step in that direction.” But he also said, “To know I’m going to be a Met for the next 6 or 7 years is special.” 6 or 7 years, David? Not any more?
We hate to admit it but Baseball is a business. But it’s a business of winning. Players sign long term contracts worth tens, sometimes hundreds of millions of dollars. In addition to the financial reward, they also seek something money cant buy: A World Series ring. Even our own players such as Beltran and Santana came to NY not only due to the contract, but to play for a winner. At that time, the Mets were heading in the right direction.
However things have changed. Since Beltran and Johan were brought in–and since David signed his extension–we seem to be heading in the wrong direction. A devastating Game 7 loss, two historical late-season collapses, an abysmal 2009 and a 2010 season where we are at 500.
This is all hypothetical, of course. No one knows what the rest of this season will bring, much less 2011 or 2012. And of course, no one has any idea what David’s mindset is–or will be.
But unless we change direction and start winning, it’s difficult to imagine anyone wanting to stay here long term. This past winter Giants catcher Bengie Molina accepted less money to stay away, knowing full well that Buster Posey would soon be taking his job. Molina’s refusal to play for the Mets may just be the first sign of things to come.
Before we realize it the 2012 season will be here and we will be talking about locking up Wright with a long-term deal. But if the Mets continue down this woeful path it’s hard to picture David wanting to remain a Met.
He will be 30 years old Opening Day 2013. If this club continues to flounder, if we are continuing to struggle with dissension, if we are still second guessing managers, general managers and ownership, if we are falling out of pennant races in July, why would David want to spend what remains of his most productive years on a team such as this?
Maybe by 2013, David will grow tired of being pressured to assume a ‘leadership’ role he is clearly not comfortable with. Maybe by 2013, he will grow tired of post-game interviews where reporters run to him for the latest in a long line of excuses. Maybe, just maybe, unless things change, he wont want to grow old in a Mets uniform and be the cornerstone of a team that is rebuilding around him.
For several seasons, we have questioned when Wright will ‘take charge’ and assume the leadership role? But he probably never will. Some athletes have that ability. Some do not. But that doesn’t matter. Leadership is not a pre-requisite for a Hall of Fame career
The clock is ticking. With each game we come closer to the end of his contract. And come closer to his possible departure. David Wright vacating New York and leaving this organization would have just as negative an impact as the discarding of Tom Seaver. It was over three decades ago when our beloved Seaver grew tired of the direction–or lack thereof–this team was taking.
To Mets ownership, I plead with you. Do something. Do something now. Give us a winner. Don’t let history repeat itself. Lets not bid farewell to another ‘Franchise’ player.