Do Two Wrongs Make A Wright?
It was three weeks ago when we elected a president. After a long, nasty, ugly, expensive and bitter campaign we survived and made it to Election Day. And boom! Just like that more than 57 million Americans, those who voted for Mitt Romney, were pissed off. No matter who would be sworn in in January, literally half this nation would be upset. It was really a no-win situation.
The negotiations between David Wright and Mets management also appears to be a no-win situation, primarily for the “Wilderpon’s”
The outcome is really very simple. We keep him. Or we don’t. Either way, someone may wind up looking bad.
The Wilderpons have reportedly offered Wright 6 years/$100 million. Allegedly, David wants more money over a longer term. As both sides play politics and seem to be more concerned about posturing than what’s good for us fans, we, like the American public, are caught in the middle.
Let’s assume we keep Wright. If management meets his terms, it opens up a whole new series of questions. They obviously DO have the money…when needed. Therefore, why did we not make more of an attempt to keep Reyes? If we have the money for Wright, then wouldn’t we also have to make a serious effort to retain our reigning Cy Young winner? Why have we been missing from the Free Agent market for the last several winters?
By locking up Wright and handing over $125-$150 million, as Ken Rosenthal reports, would not the Wilderpon’s have egg on their face? For years they’ve been selling us the line about rebuilding, never missing a chance to remind us they are victims of Bernie Madoff. But then, by signing Wright to such a lucrative deal, they would, in a way, be going back on their original claim of crying poverty. We have no money. We have no money. We have no money. Oh, look—we have money.
If David does ends up walking, then what is the point of all of this? Is this a repeat of how we were lied to last winter? Jose Reyes 2.0. The Wilderpon’s are more concerned about the PERCEPTION of building a winner than actually doing it. If management is attempting to quell a restless fan base by trying to come off looking like the good guys, then isn’t that a slap in the face to all of us?
And what about #5 himself?
David Wright will be 31 on Opening Day. A 7 year extension would carry him through his few remaining productive years and into the twilight of his career. If the Mets sign him for 7, we know that only for 4, maybe 5 at the most, will he be productive.
Also, keep in mind David’s genetic make-up. In spite of the impressive numbers he has put up and in spite of him becoming the best offensive hitter in team history, he’s been unable to shake off a persistent thorn: Leadership.
Over the years fans and the media have wanted/begged/pleaded/hoped David would become the team leader. Yes, he is the face of the franchise. And yes, he is always willing to talk to the media after a tough loss while his teammates head for the team bus. However, the one constant criticism of Wright has been that he is not a ‘team leader.’ Founded or unfounded, not all players have that in them. And that’s not a knock on anyone. Keith Hernandez was a leader. Cleon Jones was not. But both are beloved. Both have a World Series ring.
However, if the Mets do meet his terms, 7/$150, he will indirectly be putting himself in the crosshairs to become that team leader. With that kind of salary fans don’t just want good stats: they expect leadership.
On the flip side, ask yourself this: If you were David Wright would YOU want to stay here? Like most of us who grew up dreaming of playing in the majors, I’m sure David did also. But as he grew and a major league career seemed inevitable, I’m sure his goal was to win a World Series, not to make as much money as possible.
Money, and yes stats, are not everything to a professional ballplayer. They are wired differently than most of us, ingrained with a competitive spirit to win. I’m sure Ted Williams would have gladly given up 30 points on his career batting average for just ONE ring.
And why should David stick around? Players claim all the time they want to play for one team their entire career. Then they turn around and sign somewhere else, partially for the money but also for the chance to “play for a winner.”
If by some ‘miracle’ Sandy Alderson’s ‘blue light special’ approach comes to fruition and the Mets become competitive, it will take several years at least. And in several years, David’s best seasons will be behind him. Does he want to sit back and spend his most productive years surrounded by players learning the game? Playing for a team that is…ahem…rebuilding?
And if David decides he does want to stick around, at what cost? How much will lack of protection affect his numbers? How much will he be pitched around being the only legitimate threat on a weak lineup? How much will his RBI’s drop if there is no one on base for him? And with this very real possibility, the doubled edged sword of decreasing stats and an increasing salary, will the face of this franchise become its whipping boy? Mets fans also had high hopes for Bobby Bonilla and Mo Vaughn and they came to signify everything wrong with the Mets.
If the Wilderpon’s reach deep to retain Wright, they need to follow through and build a winner now.
I do hope we resign him—at any cost. I also hope we re-sign Dickey. And go after Josh Hamilton as well. Sure, I know I’m living in a fantasy world, but I want to win NOW. I know the Wilderpon’s tell us to wait and be patient. To them I say I’ve been waiting 26 years. I think I’ve been patient long enough.
If we do manage to retain Wright, I will be happy. Ecstatic? No. Even by keeping Wright, we’re really not improving; we’re simply avoiding getting worse. And sadly, that is what we Mets fans have been reduced to. We used to be thrilled to sign a big name. Now, thanks to management’s diminishing expectations, we are thrilled to keep the players we have.
Ohhh, how the mighty have fallen.
About the Author: Rob Silverman
It was 1973 when my dad introduced this 7 year old kid to Baseball and the Mets. It's been a love and passion that has lasted for 40 years, much longer than my first marriage. Since I was little, there've been 2 things I've always dreamed of: 1) Being a successful author and 2) playing right field for the Mets after Rusty Staub retired. Although 4 decades have passed and based on the current condition of the Mets, I have not given up on either dream
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