Immediately after the conclusion of the Mets‘ 2012 season, GM Sandy Alderson publicly acknowledged in an interview with SNY’s Kevin Burkhardt that retaining his core players was a primary goal going into this current offseason. When the word “core” is bought about with this Mets’ team, fans can instantly understand that David Wright and the reigning Cy Young winner, R.A. Dickey are two key guys who fit that bill. However, Dickey’s case is a unique situation. Here you have a 38-year-old year old who throws the unpredictable knuckleball as his primary pitch. Though to his credit, he seems to have the best control of that mysterious I have ever seen by a knuckleballer, as he allowed only 54 walks in 233 2/3 innings pitched. Alderson understands that with Dickey’s value being at an all-time high, he potentially has a very valuable trade asset that can’t rise anymore in value than what it already is at this moment. In Wright’s case, he’s the face of the organization, who is currently in his prime — 29-years-old — potentially one year away from hitting the open market. What does this situation reveal to the Mets’ front office? This offseason is extremely crucial in unfolding the direction in which the Mets’ organization is heading.
Shortly after the season ended, reports surfaced that the Mets could have deals worked out for Wright by the conclusion of the World Series. We are currently a week away from the Winter Meetings, with no deal signed for Dickey or Wright. As Alderson suggested that he needed clarity with these two extensions, it has been noted that the Mets “presumably” offered Dickey a two-year extension and are thinking along the lines of a six-year extension worth as much as $110 million. It has been reported this morning that the Mets’ front office has offered Wright a six-year, $100 million dollar contract extension. However, it is also noted that Wright is expected to reject the deal because he is looking for a seventh year.
This offer comes a day after the Rays agreed to terms with their star third baseman, Evan Longoria, on an identical contract offer the Mets offered Wright. However, it should be noted that these deals are below market value for players of such high caliber talent. It is oblivious that both players could easily make more money in the open market. It has been reported that Wright is searching for a deal more in the range of $125-130 million. Wright is a home-grown product and is a very likable guy around Major League Baseball. He’s a hard worker and does all the right things in the public eye that makes an athlete a role model and is a highly marketable guy. Given that his performance and marquee value are relatively high and New York is an extremely big market, should the Mets just give him what he wants? That can be debated.
As I sit here writing this article, I find myself constantly changing my views on whether the Mets should give Wright what he wants and just move on. On one hand I think, the Mets have multiple holes to fill before becoming a contender, so paying a player that type of money right now isn’t the smartest thing to do. On the other hand, I think he has done everything the organization could ever ask him to do and he loves playing in New York, so maybe he does deserve such a big contract. What it all comes down to Fred Wilpon’s willingness to spend on his players. Sandy Alderson understands the risks associated with signing a player to a long-term deal and he has been known to avoid those type of deals whenever possible. However, he has stated that in some instances their are exceptions. I tend to think Wright is one of those exceptions. I also think Alderson feels the same way. If not I don’t think the Mets would have offered a $100 million dollar contract. This is still a very lucrative deal, but it can be argued that Wright is worth more to a big market team like New York. The problem lies that despite being a big market, the organization is still dealing with some financial woes associated to the problems from a few years ago. Although things from a financial aspect are looking better, Sandy Alderson was bought in to make sound business decisions. Therefore, the question become is signing both Dickey and Wright to long-term contracts a smart business move?
After the news broke of the Rays extension with their star third baseman, Longoria publicly mentioned his willingness to be a life-long Tampa Bay Ray. It’s obvious this is true, as Longoria took significantly less money to stay with Tampa. Wright has also stated he wants to finish his career with the New York Mets. It can also be argued that given the Mets financial woes, this recent contract offer to Wright can be seen as a way for the Mets to show Wright they do want to bring him back — given Alderson’s view on long-terms deals — to be a part of the long-term solution. Now it is up to Wright. Is he willing to take less to be a part of the long-term solution for the Mets, or does he want to get the best deal possible while trying to play for contender now? Whatever the case may be, it may be best for the Mets’ front office to make a clear cut decision now with Dickey or Wright when it comes to keeping them or exploring trades, given their are plenty of other pieces needed to make the Mets a relevant team. Then again, it could be that us fans are just growing impatient with getting answers. But can the front office really blame us for feeling this way?