10:09 am Sep. 27, 2012
If this is goodbye for David Wright and the New York Mets, you have to give the Mets credit: they didn't screw this one up.
Carlos Beltran, the franchise's best center fielder, was greeted with a smattering of applause in his final game with the Mets in July 2011. Jose Reyes was yanked from the game before the fans who went out to see him late last September even realized it.
But when David Wright passed Ed Kranepool as the franchise's all-time hits leader in Wednesday night's 6-0 win over the Pirates Wednesday night, the crowd gave him sustained applause. A video tribute appeared in the fifth inning, not some time after Wright returned in another uniform.
Wright may yet stick around with the Mets for 2013 and beyond; the Mets hold a $16 million option on him for next year.
But with Wright making it clear that he won't negotiate in-season next year, the Mets face the task of either re-signing him this winter, a time when money is still scarce, or facing the possibility of letting Wright play out his option and losing him for nothing after next season.
Ownership needs to come up with the money, and Wright, who has made it clear in word and deed that winning is a priority, needs to believe this Mets team is close.
R.A. Dickey is in a similar situation to Wright contractually (an affordable 2013 team option), and has described his situation as tied to either how seriously the Mets work toward signing Wright, or whether they receive "multiple, big-league pieces back," a pretty unlikely prospect. A team acquiring Wright (or Dickey, for that matter) would presumably be doing so for the present, so any return would almost certainly be about the future.
Of course, an ownership group starved for money may simply decide, as it appeared to do with Reyes, that selling more tickets with Wright in 2013 is more important than getting pieces to help the Mets in the years that follow. Keeping Wright could simply be about the present for the New York Mets, just not on the field.
In the meantime, Wright has simply gone out and done his job, finishing strong after a difficult second half that has mirrored that of the Mets. He's said the right things.
On Wednesday night, Mets fans (the ones who still go to games) got to cheer Wright. Thursday, they'll urge R.A. Dickey on to twenty wins.
What happens after that with both of them is anyone's guess.
Elsewhere in New York sports:
Another day, another Yankee victory, this one 8-2 over the Minnesota Twins. The Yankees lead the Orioles by 1.5 games with seven to play.
The Jets have addressed their secondary depth by moving Joe McKnight to the defense.
The Knicks remain interested in Josh Howard for a bench spot.
Alex Rodriguez is hopeful about returning to the lineup Thursday night.