Putting A Price On David Wright’s Future

A year removed from the departure of fan favorite, Jose Reyes, the Mets find themselves with yet another set of complicated personnel decisions.  With the futures of David Wright and RA Dickey on the line this winter, the Mets must weigh all options.  Of the two, the most lengthy and certainly most expensive will be the retention of David Wright for what could be the remainder of his career.  As a result, this particular set of negotiations appears to have appropriated taken precedence early on this offseason.

With news that the Mets are set to offer Wright a deal worth an estimated $100M that will keep him in Flushing through the 2020 season, it appears the Mets are in fact ready to deal for their all-star third baseman.  Unfortunately though, such numbers only begin a set of complicated negotiations that hinge as much on the talent around him, as it does the terms of the deal itself.  Yes, it appears by all accounts that $100M will not be nearly enough to ensure that Wright stays put, but where do the negotiations go from here?

Trying to quantify what Wright brings to the table is a pretty easy task.  During the 2012 season, which was admittedly better than those that immediately preceded it, David Wright ranked fourth amongst major league third baseman in batting.  He posted top ten power numbers at the position and although he posted ten errors on the year, Wright ranked third amongst his peers defensively at the hot corner.  So while he may not be the best all-around third baseman in baseball, he is certainly amongst the best.  As a result, Wright would find himself as a hot commodity on the open market.  Such a situation, at least according to ESPN’s Adam Rubin, could find Wright in line for an eight year deal worth between $160M and $180M.  So exactly how much is this going to cost the Mets?

An initial offer of $100M is a decent starting point.  Its enough to indicate the Mets are serious while at the same time not too little to be considered a low ball.  As I mentioned above, Wright is amongst the best at his position and will need to be compensated as such.  Rubin hypothesizes that at a minimum Wright’s deal will have to exceed the six year extension that will ultimately net Nats’ third baseman Ryan Zimmerman $126M over eight years.

Often compared to one another due to their days playing together as youngsters, Zimmerman appears to be an appropriate comparison to Wright.  Both hit for average (with Wright’s career numbers slightly better) and decent power (with Zimmerman’s career numbers slightly better).  That said, the fact that Wright is two years older should certainly factor in as well.  So where does this leave us?

As a result of Wright’s age, I think he’ll find himself saddled with a seven year extension worth and estimated $130M.  I chose that number for a couple reasons.  The seven year deal will carry Wright through the winter of his 38th birthday and into the onset of his retirement.  The price tag, which again I figure to be about $130M, does two things.  First and foremost, when combined with the $16M Wright is set to earn next season, it put him in line to earn $146M over the next eight years, thus easily dwarfing the deal of Ryan Zimmerman.  Secondly, and maybe most important from a nostalgic stand point, a seven year deal worth $130M will make David Wright the highest paid position player in Mets history.

Such an extension, while certainly not without risk, isn’t so over the top at an average of $18.57M annually that it decimates the team’s ability to add talent around Wright.  This should be paramount for Wright in his pursuit to win a championship.  Also, in making Wright the highest paid position player in team history, it solidifies him as a sure team hall of famer and appropriately rewards not only his contributions to date, but equally important, his loyalty going forward.

Follow me on Twitter at @RobPatterson83.