Is it safe to say that David Wright‘s contract will go down as the worst in franchise history? The Mets paid him $60 million over the last three years and still owe him $67 million over the next four years.
Hello, Jose. I don’t think his contract will go down as the worst in Mets history. Bad, yes, of course, but not the worst. While he has severely underperformed, mostly due to his spinal stenosis and more recently the herniated disc in his neck, he is still the Mets captain. He supplies superb leadership that, while not worth $20 million a year, helps improve the team.
Joel Sherman of the NY Post writes that the Mets would undo the contract extension if they could go back and do so. Ryan Davis of CheatSheet ranks Wright as #5 on a list of contracts that teams will regret in the 2017 season. As you can see, Mets fans aren’t the only ones concerned about his contract.
In 2013, the first year of the extension, Wright made the All-Star team, hitting .307/.390/.514 with 18 home runs, 58 RBI, and 17 stolen bases in 112 games with a 5.9 WAR. The following season, he stayed mostly healthy, playing in 134 games, but hit only .269/.324/.374 with eight home runs and 63 RBI, still managing a 2.7 WAR.
The next two seasons, 2015 and 2016 can be grouped together, as he only played in 75 games during that span. When healthy he hit .260/.365/.436 with 12 home runs and 31 RBI, but wasn’t a difference maker at all, posting a 0.3 WAR during that span. The time missed in 2016 was due to a herniated disc in his neck that required surgery. David Wright has started swinging a bat and is on track to be as healthy as can be going into 2017.
Another reason this won’t be the worst contract is that it’s not backloaded. Wright is owed $20 million in 2017 and 2018, $15 million in 2019, and $12 million in 2020 when he will be 37 years old.
It is also important to remember that just because the last three years have been subpar for Wright, he is still a very talented and hardworking player. If anyone can overcome spinal stenosis, it’s him. Furthermore, the Mets haven’t exactly been hindered with this contract. They got to the World Series in 2015 and the Wild Card game in 2016, reaching the playoffs in two consecutive seasons.
So, if not Wright, whose contract is the worst in Mets history?
Current National Oliver Perez got a very lucrative albeit ill-conceived contract from Omar Minaya. Lasting only two years of a three-year, $36 million deal, Perez went 3-9 with a 6.81 ERA and 1.985 WHIP.
Frank Francisco certainly did not earn the $12 million paid to him during his two years in Flushing. In only 56 games, he went 2-3 with a 5.36 ERA. He had some redeeming peripherals, such as a 3.79 FIP and 9.8 K/9, however.
I think you knew this one was coming. After an All-Star season with the Red Sox, in which he hit 36 home runs while posting a 5.2 WAR, the Mets signed Jason Bay to a four year $66 million deal. He only made it through three years, slashing .234/.318/.369 with 26 home runs, even posting a -1.1 WAR in 2012.
I don’t think Wright will ever earn all of what he is paid, but he will definitely earn some. We have seen this offseason that teams wanted 35 year-old Curtis Granderson more than 29 year-old Jay Bruce. A big reason for that is the leadership Grandy provides even though he might not be putting up numbers worthy of the $15 million he is owed.
While it is possible Wright’s contract could be worse than Bay’s eventually, I don’t see that happening. If Wright continues to produce even moderately offensively, while being a great leader in the clubhouse, his contract won’t be a total waste.