11:31 am Aug. 14, 2012
The Mets will face a decision soon about David Wright's future. And so will David Wright.
The terms of a forthcoming discussion between them were set forth by Wright in an interview with the New York Post, and they provide an interesting challenge to general manager Sandy Alderson in his attempt to keep the last remaining franchise player the Mets have.
Wright described money as not "the deciding factor," which is a fine sentiment. But if the Mets fail to make an offer, as they did with Jose Reyes, Wright isn't going to play for free. In that sense, money could end up being the deciding factor, whether he wants it to be or not.
But let's suppose that the Mets come up with a competitive financial offer to keep Wright. What might Wright be looking for beyond that?
“You want to be able to win, and I’ve only experienced a little bit of that here,” Wright said. “In a perfect world, we get this thing turned around and going in the right direction and ultimately I get to experience the bad, the ugly and the good here, which includes winning ... We’ve taken a baby step in the right direction and I still think there’s a long way to go before you can say that we’ve kind of turned that corner where I think that we will."
So Wright, accurately, doesn't view 2012 as much of a progression toward the Mets becoming a winning team. And he has said that he will not negotiate a contract extension in-season next year. So the Mets will have a few months, between October 2012 and March 2013, to convince Wright that they are moving toward winning.
How exactly will they do that? There are several possibilities.
They could finish strong in 2012, at least strong enough to suggest that they're trending up. This is mostly beyond management's control at this point; it might have been useful to try to figure out who the left fielder will be after Jason Bay, or how to improve a bullpen that cost the Mets countless games this year.
The Mets can also bring in additional talent this offseason. They'd need to do that to make a credible case for their prospects in 2013 and 2014.
But the Mets can't afford big free agents this winter, and there aren't a ton of them who are great fits, either.
Essentially, the Mets will be making a case for themselves this winter based on the collection of talent they have right now in the low minors, along with pitching prospects Matt Harvey and Zack Wheeler. Wright will also presumably need to be convinced that ownership can spend money, and that the current absence of spending is part of a plan, rather than a financial necessity.
Wright, who has had an exemplary attitude for as long as he's been in a Mets uniform, is giving notice. He wants to know that management is serious about keeping and won't have them trashing his reputation on his way out the door, like they did to a certain shortstop who gets booed every time he returns to Citi Field, when they turn out not to be.