Mets: What are proper expectations for David Wright in 2017?

By Kevin Baez

David Wright should be ready by Spring Training, but what type of production should the Mets expect from the veteran?

David Wright is a beloved member of the Mets organization, and that is for good reason.

Wright has been a role model to many fans on and off the field throughout the course of his career. He’s had a prestigious career, as he currently holds the Mets all-time record in many offensive categories.

But after suffering a series of injuries, one must question what can we truly expect from Wright moving forward?

In 2012, Mets ownership rewarded Wright with a eight-year, $138 million dollar extension, giving Wright the opportunity to be a life-long Met. However, a combination of severe injuries have left many to questioned if Wright could be a productive player moving forward. And if so, for how much longer?

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Prior to signing his extension, Wright was coming off a productive season. Wright played in 157 games, which was his most since 2010, while having a batting average of .302 along with 21 homers and 93 RBIs.

Directly after signing his extension, the injuries started to pile up.

In 2013, Wright suffered a strained hamstring mid-season which lead him to miss several weeks. Wright struggled the following year, hitting just eight homers in 134 games played. In early September, the Mets shut Wright down for the remainder of the year after an MRI revealed persistent inflammation in his rotator cuff.

The nightmare for Wright became a growing reality from that point forward.

In 2015, Wright missed the majority of the season after feeling lower back pain while rehabbing a hamstring strain. Upon further review, doctors had diagnosed Wright with spinal stenosis, which is a narrowing of the spinal column. Wright returned to the Mets late in the season, but managed to hit just .185 in the postseason.

After playing just 10 games in 2016, in which he struggled at the plate, hitting a mere .216, Wright was shutdown for the entire season after undergoing neck surgery to repair a herniated disk.

With 2017 around the corner, it’s being reported the Mets expect Wright to be ready by the start of Spring Training.

David Wright’s remaining salary

Wright currently has four years and $67 million remaining on his contract.

Because of the severity of the injuries Wright has encountered, I no longer see Wright as an everyday third baseman. Expectations of Wright should be lowered, despite Mets GM Sandy Alderson’s recent comment of viewing Wright as the team’s primary third baseman. At this point in Wright’s career, I view him as a bench player.

Some people within the organization believe it may be best to assume Wright doesn’t produce for the Mets this season. “This sounds awful, I would assume that you get nothing from Wright,” Mets broadcaster and former pitcher Ron Darling stated during an interview with WFAN’s Mike Francesa last month. “I’m assuming that you get nothing from David, only because the mercurial nature of having that kind of back injury.”

Wright’s mobility will be limited due to the neck and back issues. I personally don’t see how his body could hold up during the course a full season, while still being able to produce.

I personally wish nothing but the best for Wright, as I do hope he’ll be able to contribute this season. But I have to agree with Darling. I hope I am wrong, but I just can’t see Wright being productive anymore.

If Wright can’t perform this season, he should retire. The severity of Wright’s injury makes me think of Prince Fielder. Fielder, a once prominent power-hitter, was forced to retire last season at the age of 32 after undergoing two neck surgeries.

Next: Mets Season in Review: Jose Reyes

There is no denying Wright’s place in Mets history. But if Wright wishes to save his legacy, retirement should be considered if Wright is unable to perform this season. The sad truth is Wright hasn’t been able to live up to his current contract.