David Wright And The Mets Both Limping Into Off-Season Showdown


You know the saying – A picture tells a thousand words.  What if Sunday’s game against the Milwaukee Brewers was just a snapshot in time?  What could we decipher?  Additionally, would your interpretation of that picture be an accurate account of the reality that took place at the moment the shutter snapped?  Lets see.

Here’s your picture – click – Mets lose 3-0 to the Brewers.  Here is what I see:

With two hits in four at-bats against the Mets this past Sunday, Milwaukee’s Ryan Braun amassed eight total bases, scored twice, and had two runs batted in.

Sept 2, 2012; Miami, FL, USA; New York Mets third baseman David Wright (5) looks on from the dugout during a game against the Miami Marlins at Marlins Park. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-US PRESSWIRE

As a team, the Mets totalled twenty seven at-bats against Milwaukee.  And like Ryan Braun, they too managed two hits; one by Josh Thole, and another by Andres Torres.  For the game however, the Mets were only credited with four total bases, as they also drew two walks.

Sunday, the Mets three and four hitters; David Wright and Ike Davis; failed to record a hit in eight at-bats.   Meanwhile Milwaukee’s three and four hitters; Ryan Braun and Aramis Ramirez; scored all three Brewers runs on the strength of three solo home runs.  Two came off the bat of Braun.  For the season, David Wright and Ike Davis have combined to hit forty-four home runs.  Ryan Braun has forty.

For their respective teams, David Wright and Ryan Braun were the only .300 hitters in the line-up Sunday.  With minimal peeks and valleys in his season to speak of, Ryan Braun’s season average has consistently hovered near his present .312 mark.  Not incidentally, .312 is also Ryan Braun’s career average.

In David Wright’s case, since sporting a .411 batting average on May 17th, his average (.310) has now officially dropped over one hundred points this season.  David climbed to as high as .415 on May 21st if you really feel like grovelling.  To be fair, David Wright is still hitting nine points better than his career average.  No one expects anyone to hit .400 anymore.  But one hundred points is a precipitous fall none the less.

While that was me having a little fun with numbers, the figures are hardly amusing.  They are actually very insightful.  September 16th just happened to be that time someone like me snapped a picture of a vulnerable David Wright.  It happens to all of us.  We all have one photo in which we look horrible, and want the image torn up or deleted.  Truth be told though, more and more, another bad season by the Mets is serving to alter the perception, or even somewhat tarnish David Wright’s career.  That last statement is harder to reconcile considering he is about to eclipse Ed Kranepool’s all-time hits record as a member of the Mets.

Here is the bigger picture however.  David Wright told the Mets he wouldn’t negotiate a new contract during the season.  Both parties stuck to that.  Sixteen games now remain before the 2012 regular season expires.  Supposedly shortly thereafter, the negotiations begin.

With the way the season has deteriorated, I wonder where the Mets now think David Wright fits, and where David Wright thinks he fits in the grand scheme of things?  There are recent and well known parameters to work with.  When you add Ryan Braun’s current contract to the extension he signed back in April, the Milwaukee Brewers are committed to their MVP outfielder for $145.5 million dollars through the 2020 season.  That’s roughly $18 million-plus per year.

Back in February, David Wright’s contemporary; Ryan Zimmerman; signed a six year $100 million dollar extension that runs through the 2019 season, with a 2020 option.  The re-worked average annual value is reported to be roughly $16.7 million per season.  It is the highest contract for a third baseman behind Alex Rodriguez’ pact with the Yankees.

Ryan Zimmerman battled injuries earlier in the season.  Limited to 129 games so far, he still managed to post twenty two home runs and eighty four runs batted in.  If there is a flaw in his game, it is that compared to Wright he is hitting at a pedestrian .282 mark.  With twelve more games played however, David Wright comes in below Zimmerman with seventeen home runs, and with three less runs batted in this season.  Ryan Zimmerman already has his money though.  And just in case you were wondering, Ryan Braun has 103 runs batted in this season.

Ryan Braun’s and Ryan Zimmerman’s contract extensions are the two most significant examples facing the Mets of organizations committing long term to their franchise players.  Comparatively, David Wright is already making $15 million dollars this season.  At just under $2 million off Zimmerman’s rate, where do the Mets and David Wright go from here?

Before I’m through, here’s three more sets of numbers for you.  Zimmerman is twenty seven and will turn twenty eight later this month.  Braun is twenty eight years old and will turn twenty nine in November.  Lastly, David Wright is now twenty nine years old and will turn thirty in December.

A better question may be, where should the Mets go from here?