I say this with the utmost understanding that this isn’t going to be a very popular piece of writing, but it’s something I really believe. The time has come for the Mets to trade David Wright, and I have a couple of reasons why I feel this way.
First, it’s my belief that based on finances, with Wright owed $15 million in 2012 and with a team option for $16 million in 2013, that the Mets cannot afford both Wright and Jose Reyes. And with Wright approaching free agency in the two years, it can be expected that he’d be looking at a yearly salary of at least what he is making now, somewhere around $14-16 million. If given a choice of only one of these guys, how many of you would rather have Wright? Also, if the expectation is that the team won’t resign Wright after 2013 for upwards of $16 million anyway, why not trade him this offseason and use the money to resign a game-changer like Reyes?
Number two, can we all agree on the fact that Reyes is an irreplaceable superstar? Sure, he has been bitten by the injury bug this season and somewhat throughout his career, but as Reyes goes, so go the Mets. Nobody has ever said that about Wright. Fans and experts alike agree that losing Reyes would be catastrophic, but the team can and has survived without Wright. The Mets have played without Wright before, and finding an above-average third baseman is much easier to do than finding a game-changing, ticket-selling shortstop. How many people do you know go to a Mets game to see Wright? And how many go for the chance to watch Reyes fly around the bases and slide headfirst into third with another triple? Exactly. The Mets can be successful in the near future without Wright, but the same cannot be said of a Mets team without Reyes.
Secondly, I don’t need to hear about Wright being the the “face of the franchise” and those types of cliches. That may be true, but being the face of an underperforming, big market franchise isn’t something special. He has had a great Mets career, but relative to the rest of the league, he has been a very good player, not a great one. Sure, Wright has made some all-star teams and won a couple of Gold Gloves, but how many times in his career can you say he put the team on his back and carried it for long stretches?
This isn’t a knock on Wright, but I just don’t believe that he is the alpha player that you can count on to lead you to a championship, and that’s ultimately the goal (or at least it should be). He is better suited as a complement to a superstar player, a guy not asked to be the “man” all the time. That’s just being negative, it’s just not who is.
The third reason, and maybe the biggest reason of all, is that the Mets aren’t going to be a contender in the near future. For a team that hasn’t been to the postseason since 2006, they are more than just a couple of players away from contending with the Phillies and Braves and the Giants and the Brewers, so if you are going to keep losing with Wright, what’s the difference in losing without him?
The Mets, whether the fans want to hear it or not, need to totally rebuild, something that doesn’t usually happen with teams in New York. The problem here, though, is that there is no quick fix. The upcoming free-agent market is underwhelming, save for Prince Fielder and Albert Pujols, and the team is planning on a reduction of payroll anyway. So there isn’t a way to add landscape-altering players that way. Also, the Mets front office is unwilling—the right move, by the way— to part with young talent in any trades, so the team has to build from within. That being said, the Mets farm system, despite recent moves, is still no better than middle-of-the-pack, but trading Wright could go a long way to adding more depth on the farm.
There is a need at multiple positions around the diamond, and trading Wright could lessen that need, because certainly you could get a couple of B or B+ prospects for him, couldn’t you? Making a trade like this could make the task of restocking the farm system much, much easier, thus helping the Mets get back to being contenders much, much sooner.
Lastly, maybe it’s just time to move on. The Mets have tried to win with Wright as one of the team’s cornerstones, and aside from 2006, it hasn’t happened. He has been in New York since 2004, and the team has won the NL East once and been to the postseason just once. Again, this isn’t all on him, but if he is the superstar most fans present him to be, one playoff appearance in eight years isn’t enough.
Wright has had a wonderful career as a New York Met. He’ll go down as one of the best players in franchise history, and he’s among the team’s leaders in many offensive categories. But in the category that matters most, wins, titles and championships, he has come up short.
While the majority of fans think it’d be the wrong move, I feel like at this point, in the dog days of another lost Mets season, the time is now to trade Wright. It’s the right move and in the best interest of the long-term success of the Mets.
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