Forever A Met: David Wright And The Quest For Franchise King Status
Monday, December.10, 2012
Stephon Johnson (Guest Baseball Writer and Mets Correspondent): Follow @stephonjohnson8
Met fans have gotten used to having their greatest players come either from other franchises or move on to other franchises. When combing through the 50-year history of the Mets, you realize that every great player this franchise has had didn’t spend their entire career in Flushing. Tom Seaver, Jerry Koosman, Cleon Jones, Darryl Strawberry, Dwight Gooden, Gary Carter, Keith Hernandez, David Cone, Mike Piazza, Al Leiter and Jose Reyes were all either products of other franchises or homegrown talent that was eventually let go.
Met fans can now say that they have a player who’ll more than likely remain with the franchise for his entire career.
Last week, David Wright signed a contract extension with the Mets through the year 2020. According to the Associated Press, the 8 Year Deal is worth $138 Million Dollars (the richest contract in franchise history surpassing pitcher Johan Santana’s deal by half a Million Dollars). Over the course of his Nine-Year career, the Six-Time All-Star’s posted a .301 Avg, 204 HRs and 818 RBI, with 790 Runs Scored and 166 Stolen Bases . Only Strawberry (252) and Piazza (220) have hit more HRs in a Mets uniform.
“I’ve never pictured myself in a different uniform,” said Wright at a news conference in Nashville during the Winter Meetings last week. “It wouldn’t be as meaningful, I think, if I were to win somewhere else.”
Assuming that no debilitating injuries cut Wright’s career short, the Mets now have a veteran anchor to stabilize the team. Now the question is: will it work?
Amongst franchise leaders, Wright is first in runs scored, walks (616), RBI (818), Total Bases (2398) and Hits (1426). He’s fourth in On-Base Percentage (.381), tied for third in Slugging Percentage (.506), third in OPS and third in Games Played (1,262). Not to mention that he’s earned two Silver Sluggers, two Gold Gloves and has finished in top ten in the Most Valuable Player voting four times. According to FanGraphs, Wright’s projected to finish the 2013 season with just over 20 HRs, between 90 and 100 RBI, an OPS near .880 and an On-Base Percentage around .390.
FanGraphs also projects that at the end of his deal, the 29-year-old should achieve close to 25 WAR (Wins Above Replacement Value) with the wins valued at around $156 Million, which is $18 Million more than the actual contract. Wright only had to accumulate close to 21 WAR over the next eight years for the Mets to break even on his deal.
Intangibly, Wright’s decision to stay in New York could prove to be the beginning of the Mets’ slow ascent from the depths of Fred Wilpon’s investments. But the Mets aren’t out of the financial hole yet and one wonders what plan did they sell Wright in order to keep him at Citi Field? While Mets General Manager Sandy Alderson has told anyone within ear shot that not much will change personnel wise in 2013, the team’s banking on 2014 to be their turnaround year. After 2013, Santana’s contract will be off the books and the majority of the $21 million that’s owed to Jason Bay would’ve been paid. Couple that with young pitching phenom’s Matt Harvey and Zack Wheeler, Jonathan Niese remaining a rotation mainstay (for now), the possible re-signing of R.A. Dickey, Ruben Tejada and Ike Davis continue to improve, the money for possible free agents would have to be spent on outfield talent and a Catcher. Despite 2013 being a “lost” year in franchises eyes, how the Mets perform could be the biggest selling point for a free agent when gauging how close the franchise is to contending for a playoff spot.
And speaking of which, it’s with great sadness for Wright and for Mets’ fans that the regular season collapses of 2007 and 2008 have denied him the ability to test his postseason mettle. In his one postseason experience, as a still budding star, Wright batted .216 with one home run, 6 RBIs, a .310 On-Base Percentage and a .378 Slugging Percentage.
But many Mets fans have a special ability to remain unsatisfied. The anger with not re-signing Reyes in lieu of trading him for young talent during the 2011 campaign was understandable. But the anger expressed by some over not trading Wright, but then demanding that the Mets pay pitcher R.A. Dickey whatever he wants, is confusing. Maybe the fan base, so used to having things they hold dear snatched from them, decided to undergo a preemptive strike and push Wright away before they got hurt. Now that Wright’s here to stay, Met fans might be singing another tune. While the mascot with the big-baseball head will forever be a staple, Wright is eight years away from becoming the true Mr. Met.
“Honestly. It wouldn’t mean as much to me winning somewhere else as it would obviously winning here,” said Wright at the news conference in Nashville. If he manages to lead the Mets to their first championship since 1986 over the course of his deal, it’ll be worth it.
*** The views and opinions expressed in this report are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of mlbreports.com ***
A big thank-you goes out to Stephon Johnson for preparing today’s featured article. Stephon is a staff writer for the New York Amsterdam News where he’s covered news, politics, education, union issues, sports and art & entertainment since 2007. He’s covered the New York Yankees, local College Basketball and the New York City Marathon. His work has earned him awards from the New York Association of Black Journalists and the Ippies (which awards New York’s independent, community and ethnic media). His work has appeared in various publications and websites like Beyond Race Magazine and Baeble Music.com. A native of The Bronx, he now resides in Astoria, Queens. Feel free to follow Stephon on Twitter and talk the game of baseball Follow @stephonjohnson8
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Posted on December 10, 2012, in The Rest: Everything Baseball and tagged @stephonjohnson8 on twitter, al leiter, citi field, darryl strawberry, david cone, david wright, Dwight Gooden, Flushing Meadows, fred wilpon, gary carter, harvey, ike davis, jason bay, jerry koosman, johan santana, jonathan niese, jose reyes, keith hernandez, mets ownership group, mike piazza, national league, new york mets, NL east, r.a. dickey, ruben tejada, sandy alderson, Shea Stadium, stephon johnson, tom seaver, zach wheeler. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.