Couldn’t help noticing this on MetsBlog on Sunday. How may of you, off the top of your heads, knew that their career trajectories were almost exact in every way? Jones with a tad more home run power, Wright with a tad more speed, but otherwise a complete match.
It was ironic that on the night the Atlanta Braves chose to honor Chipper Jones for his incredible career with the only team he’s ever known, there too was David Wright taking it all in.
The New York Times pointed out the obvious:
Even as the Braves presented a visibly moved Jones with a pool table, his clubhouse locker and a Hawaiian vacation, speculation about his replacement reached the visiting dugout. With Jones’s $13 million coming off the books, and with a strong group of prospects in the minors, the Braves could be in a position to make a large offer to David Wright. Wright’s presence in a Mets uniform past this season is not guaranteed. The club holds a $16 million option on him for the 2013 season. They will almost certainly exercise it, unless Wright makes it known that he either will not re-sign with the team, or asks for such a prohibitive salary that the cash-poor club cannot keep him.
Will David Wright one day have his own ceremony at Citi Field as a lifelong Met?
Or will he simply move on like every other Mets homegrown star over the 51 year history of this franchise?
If history is any indication, and if you throw in Sandy Alderson’s aversion to any long-term deals which he seemingly mocks as every $100+ million deal goes down in baseball, there’s a good possibility that Wright’s 3-run homer in R.A. Dickey’s 20th win was his last highlight in a Mets uniform at Citi Field.
Last week, not one, but two high-ranking team executives foretold that there would be no deals beyond one year signed this offseason. “Not even a two-year deal”.
Money or no money, a $100+ million dollar deal is not in Alderson’s DNA.
He’s never agreed to any such deal in over a quarter century of calling the shots for either the A’s, Padres or Mets. It’s never happened. It has nothing to do with being broke, it’s just his philosophy That’s why he made disparaging remarks or rolled his eyes when asked to comment about the Crawford, Braun, Tulowitzki and Zimmerman deals. That wasn’t Fred speaking, it was Sandy.
When he first took over as GM of the A’s, at a time when the A’s were big spenders, Alderson’s earliest move was trading 25-year old superstar Rickey Henderson to the New York Yankees for Stan Javier, Erik Plunk and Jose Rijo because he was starting to get too expensive and was on the verge of free agency. The Yankees signed him to a five-year extension after the trade and Henderson started five straight All Star Games on his way to clinching his Hall of Fame career. Rijo posted a 4.75 ERA in three seasons with the A’s, Plunk 4.34 in four season, Javier .670 OPS in seven seasons.
The same pattern repeated itself when homegrown stars he drafted like Mark McGwire, Walt Weiss and Jose Canseco all became eligible for huge paydays. In fact, trading hometown hero and fan favorite Mark McGwire was the last trade Alderson would make before stepping down as General Manager after the 1997 season. Canseco had already been traded and Weiss was allowed to leave for free agency. The Oakland A’s much ballyhooed trio of successive Rookie of the Years were all officially gone.
If you can trade a 25-year old stud like Henderson in his walk year for three scrubs, you think there will be any hesitation in trading a 30-year old Wright who will command five times more than what Rickey wanted?
Is Wright anymore important to the Mets than Mark McGwire was to the A’s who had a .931 OPS in 12 seasons in Oakland and was discarded like a used rag and traded to the St. Louis Cardinals for Eric Ludwick, T.J. Mathews and Blake Stein?
Get used to it my friends, unless Sandy Alderson does something completely out of character and goes against everything in his gut, Wright will not be back.
I take no joy in saying that.