Was Signing Wright To Historic Contract Really A Smart Move?


With the recent news of the Mets and David Wright agreeing to terms on a 8-year, $138 million contract extension — after Wright’s 2013 option was restructured, which is the biggest contract in franchise history  —  Sandy Alderson can now have some clarity with regards to finding answers in an offseason filled with multiple objectives. With the Winter Meetings only days away, the Mets’ front office can now turn their attention to deciding what to do with R.A. Dickey and finding a few more productive players to to fill the significant void in the Mets’ outfield.  Many fans can now have some closure with knowing David Wright is set to be here for the next eight years, which hopefully means he will be a major piece of the puzzle in helping New York fight back into contention and respectability. However, is signing Wright to a long-term deal best for the Mets’ franchise? I don’t believe so for a few different reasons.

June 9, 2012; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Mets third baseman David Wright (5) smiles during batting practice before the game against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Debby Wong-US PRESSWIRE

Before I begin listing my reasons, let me just say this, I am a fan of David Wright. Throughout his career, he has done everything you would want from a franchise player. His character and leadership in the clubhouse is among the best in the Major Leagues. With that being said, let me begin listing the reasons why I would have elected to trade David Wright.

  • This current Mets team is not close to contending: There is no denying Wright had a bounce-back year — despite struggling the second-half of the season — after  an injury-plagued 2011 campaign. Despite Wright’s 2012 WAR of 6.7 — which was tied for first among the entire third basemen class in 2012 with Adrian Beltre — the Mets only managed to win 74 games. While I expect Wright, who turns 30 in December, to maintain his high production for the next couple of years, I question how quickly the Mets can contend for a playoff berth. With holes in every outfield position, a lack of power and speed in the starting lineup, a lot of creative planning needs to be executed by the Mets’ front office in order to turn the objective of being a true contender into reality.
  • Wright’s new deal is currently “heavily” backloaded: Although the exact terms of the deals have yet to be publicly announced, it has been reported that the current deal is extensively backloaded, meaning Wright will make a smaller annual salary in the first few years of his deal at the expense of making a significantly higher annual salary in the final years of his deal. While this can be seen as a positive in the short-term it can also be a massive negative in the long-term. While Wright’s production can be projected to remain relatively high in the next few years to come, you can also expect a steady decrease in production as he gets older. Therefore, while his production is expected to drop in the later years, his salary increases excessively, which, as we seen in previous years, can cripple a team’s payroll flexibility. Now to be fair, we can only hope that as time goes on, the Mets’ financials will only improve and after all, this is suppose to be a big market franchise.
  • Trading Wright would have netted the Mets a favorable package of players: If Sandy Alderson would have elected to trade David Wright, he would have certainly obtained attractive offers from other clubs. It’s rare for teams to have the opportunity to acquire   a young, highly talented player such as Wright. Not saying this would have been easy to do, because it would be a hard pill for us fans to swallow, but it could have helped us get younger, more affordable players to fill the multiple voids this franchise currently is faced with. With $48 million dollars expected to come off the payroll after the 2013 season, with just three contracts expiring — Santana, Bay and Francisco — the Mets would have had an excessive amount of payroll flexibility to go in a new direction with obtaining a new core of significant talent. Mix that with the likes of Harvey, Wheeler, Davis and the considerable package the Mets would have gotten in return for Wright— a plethora of younger, productive, and more affordable talent — New York would be on pace to contend in the future.

At the end of the day, it isn’t always about spending the most money possible, but rather how you allocate that money. That is a big part of making sound business decisions. Needless to say, what’s done is done and the matter of the fact is Wright got his wish in being part of the long-term solution in Flushing, NY.

Despite writing this post, the fan in me is happy to see Wright stay in a Mets’ uniform, I just hope this deal turns out beneficial for both parties involved for the duration of Wright’s contract, which runs through 2020.

Update: Mets beat writer, Anthony DiComo posted on Twitter that Terry Collins hinted that he will ask David Wright to be the official team captain.