There is a lot of speculation about the Mets trading David Wright. I don’t think it will happen, but instead of considering dealing Wright, the Mets should be thinking about signing him for life.
When Wright was negotiating his last contract in 2006, he asked for a deal that would take him through the end of his career. Then-GM Omar Minaya told him, “Let’s not get ahead of ourselves” (although it likely took him 10 minutes and 3000 words to say it). But that’s how much Wright wants to be a Met. He grew up in Norfolk rooting for the Mets Triple-A team as well as the big club and it was always his dream to play for the Mets for his entire career. The Mets should make that dream come true.
Let’s face it — even though it looks like the Mets are beginning to operate as a small-market team, they are not. There is nothing wrong with budgeting an eight-figure salary for Wright over the next seven years. They can afford it.
He is signed for the next two seasons, and I really think if the Mets offered him a five-year extension at around $15 million per year with a no-trade clause he would take it. It’s probably less than he could get on the open market, but $15 million is certainly not slave wages, and he can easily make up the difference in endorsements. Most importantly for Wright, apparently, it would allow him to spend his entire career with the Mets.
(By the way, I wouldn’t go further than five years because that would take him through his 35th birthday, which should be the cutoff for long-term contracts. After that I would go year-to-year.)
What is the advantage for the Mets? Well, they lock up an elite player (and yes, I still think David Wright is an elite player) at a reasonable salary. Plus, they send a message to their beleaguered and frustrated fan base that their favorite player will be here for the long-term, especially if they lose Jose Reyes.
I would wait, however, until a couple of months into the 2012 season to make a deal. I would want to make sure David Wright is healthy and is responding as expected to the new Citi Field dimensions. But those those things come to pass, they should lock him up and make him the piece around which the future Mets are built.