DID DAVID WRIGHT Make a Massive Miscalculation When He Signed That Contract Last Season?

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Jimmy:

When he signed on the dotted line a year ago, David Wright sure sounded like he was a  believer in “the plan.” That’s been true until very recently. But just as Sandy Alderson has begun to show cracks in his armor, his little quips and jokes about the payroll suggesting an undertone of increased frustration, David’s most recent comments show an admitted loss of patience.

From Jim Baumbach at Newsday:

“I’m expecting us to field a much better team this year than we have in years past, yes,” Wright said. “There are expectations.”

Noting the need for offensive upgrades, Wright said Sandy Alderson is “probably tired of hearing from me,” what with Wright constantly reaching out to the general manager to offer help in potentially recruiting free agents to Citi Field.

“I think we need help offensively, there’s no question about that,” Wright said.

Mike:

The team needs a cleanup hitter badly. I would think that Wright worries greatly about the hole in the middle of the order.

Jimmy:

It’s fascinating, because David Wright has himself in exactly the same position as most Mets fans. He’s waiting and hoping, too. We’ve talked about the ticking clocks, and how we hope to see them win it all again before we die, but David is really running out of time. They’ve already squandered his prime.

I have to wonder why he tied his future to the New York Mets. He still talks about the 2006 playoffs as the highlight of his career. That’s sad.

Mike:

I’m sure he wants to win. But he also wanted to get paid, and the money was good. And I think he likes it here, New York is a pretty cool place to live when you are young and rich. I like David, but I don’t feel bad for him. It seems like a pretty sweet overall deal to me. If I was young and rich there is no place I rather live and work. Hell, I’m not young or rich and there is no place I’d rather work and live.

Jimmy:

Clearly, this off-season will be telling. Again, I’m giving the Alderson-Wilpon Mets the benefit of doubt. The facts are not all in yet. But early signs suggest this is not the year of “going for it.” I’m anticipating temporary patches covering some holes, but not all of them. In a nice turn of phrase, faithful reader Eric called them “sandbags.” Or, um, “SANDBAGS!!!!!” Regardless of the punctuation, it’s an excellent point.

To use a different metaphor, Chris Young plugs a hole with zinc oxide and eugenal, like getting a temporary filling at the dentist. It’s not built to last. That tooth is going to give you trouble again pretty soon down the line.

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Mike:

Yes, but Wright signed for seven years, not just 2013 and 2014.

Jimmy:

David must really, sincerely believe, right? So I’m asking — and I want you to guess, try to articulate this — what does David Wright believe in? It’s like he had an epiphany while up on the mountain. He saw a vision, a burning bush, and came down with a signed contract in his hand. What did he see up there, Mike?

Mike:

I said it above, I don’t think it was a pure baseball decision. I start there.

I would also figure they told him about all the young pitchers, and David liked hearing that. I think Wright is more genuine than some people might believe, the glass half-full guy that we see, I think that really is David.

Jimmy:

He seems sort of — how to say this? — uncluttered. Not a complicated guy.

Mike:

If you asked Wright right now, he might not be pleased with some of the things he was told, and how they have related to actions. There were some hints of that late in the year. But overall, I think David is a guy who grew up a Mets fan and understands he has a real chance to end his career as a lifetime icon in New York City. That is no small thing, and if he went anywhere else that was not going to be the case. If this never turns around, toward the end of his contract maybe he will get antsy, but for now Wright knows he still has time on his side.

And a big paycheck.

Jimmy:

It will be interesting to watch for cracks in the dam. He’s a good soldier, but if David feels like he’s been lied to, the story might change.

His voice is powerful. If David decided to take it to the media in a powerful way — not just the mild whispers of the last few days — he could really make things uncomfortable for the Alderson-Wilpon Mets.

While there remain a few devout fans who still inexplicably look at Sandy Alderson as the second coming of Frank Cashen, quite a few others feel they’ve been lied to. And like it or not, Sandy has been the spokesperson for those lies (and cashing monster checks all the while). If David starts forcefully saying he’s been misled, the damn will surely burst . . . and some guys in suits will get lost in the flood.

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22 comments

  1. Patrick Boegel says:

    David Wright. How can I best describe him. The guy you would be extremely pleased with if your daughter brought him home while living in 21st century America. However, if we were to say live in 18th century colonial frontiers, or perhaps in the African bush, no he would not be acceptable. Why, because in those circumstances you know your daughter would be in great danger.

    Wright’s legacy is likely the Mattingly syndrome. Great player, becomes good player, becomes player who never got over the finish line.

  2. RAFF says:

    Wright saw the opportunity to be Dipped In Bronze. To be the Mets version of Jeter, Ted Williams. Immortality.

    • Patrick Boegel says:

      More likely comparisons:

      Mets version of Don Mattingly
      Mets version of Will Clark
      Mets version of Daffy Duck

      • RAFF says:

        Depends on what he accomplishes, Patrick. My point is that in order to BE THAT GUY> You p need: 1) to be home-grown 2) To Stay for Life & 3)To put up the numbers. So, without taking the contract- he could never have the opportunity elsewhere.

        • Patrick Boegel says:

          For better or worse, whatever his warts and background

          David Ortiz, not home grown, probably will end his career in a uniform other than Boston…will own the Red Sox mantle.

          Reggie Jackson was more successful and won more with the Oakland A’s, but his time with the Yankees defines his baseball immortality.

          There are other cases. Basically I respect that Wright is a guy who grew up rooting for this franchise and wanted to see it land someplace special. But I think he could have just as easily found reverence in say Baltimore.

  3. tom says:

    My solution is 1) sign at least one big FA offensive player, almost regardless of cost (and I say that remembering full well the Bay Disaster, opening this Thanksgiving at theaters nationwide). 2) Fill in something else via trade, to fix offense. 3) To save $$ near term, don’t sign starters, but call both Syndergaard and Montero up by May 1 – both are ready – don’t buy the baloney that they need until mid-year…that is the budget talking (to retain one more cheap year, as they did with Wheeler)…and by doing the above set yourself up to REALLY COMPETE IN 2014 – AND TO WIN WHEN THE PITCHING DELUGE REALLY HITS IN 2015. If they wait to fill holes until 2015, we’ll hear then that there are too many holes to fill.

    • I start the season with both Montero and Syndergaard, screw the May 1 concept, it’s pointless. The A’s used an all-rookie staff in 2012. The Rays trade their guys before the real payday. We’re a small market team, let’s embrace it.

      I don’t see the big FA player to sign, and accept that we don’t have the money at this point. Sucks, but, oh well. I would trade for Braun if I could get him, short of surrendering Syndergaard.

      The guy I’ve always wanted to trade was Gee, but I’d flip Niese if it would bring in a meaningful bat. They need a bat in the worst way.

      Lastly, Jason Bay ran into a wall, then he ran into a wall again. The guy got hurt and it didn’t work out in a pretty extreme way. It’s sad. But I think it was a decent signing at the team — they absolutely needed another RH bat in the lineup, and no one could predict those head injuries. At the time of that signing, the Mets were not a small-market team, so it made sense. Now that we are a small-market team, the club has to operate as one, an entire re-think. But in the end, a team needs difference-makers. And a team needs revenue. If you can get a great player, yes, go for it. Less than great, under these conditions, doesn’t do it for me.

  4. kranepool says:

    To bad Wright didn’t grow up in the Midwest dreaming of wearing a Birds on a Bat uniform because he’d make a great Cardinal

  5. Eric says:

    I don’t see bringing in a retread pitcher at 10 million so that I can save a year of Arbitration…?

  6. Eric says:

    If I skip the Retread Pitcher at 10 million, and I fire the Troika at 8 MIllion….I can Sign Choo

  7. Dave says:

    I don’t think Wright can claim “fraud in the inducement” as a basis for complaint about his contract extension. He must like being a NY Met…even on a mediocre or worse team. He must also like the idea of being the face of the franchise…that has value separate and apart from post season opportunities. From Wright’s point of view, the worst that can happen (assuming he stays healthy) is he will finish his career as a Met, and be remembered as a great player who never won the WS, but played for only one team. Ryne Sandberg, Todd Helton and Tony Gwynn are comparables that come to mind. If the Mets do turn things around and win a WS with Wright, he becomes a NY sports immortal. Either way, Wright is in a good spot.

    • Don’t agree. Wright came away raving about “the plan,” he was sold on the idea of the Mets rising again. The details remain unclear. His comments recently show that he expects upgrades, that he was led to believe that there would be upgrades. I believe he was sincere in that understanding. If he feels betrayed by the organization, if he hungers for a winner, he could start making noises about a trade. It’s happened before. Obviously, we are a long way from that, but I do contend that he bought into a vision for the future of this team. It was the carrot that was dangled. I don’t believe he expected to slog through a number of 70-win seasons without any help in the lineup.

  8. Eraff says:

    IF he ever expresses his anger and disappointment Publicly (and I hope it does not need to come to that), he will become IMMORTAL

  9. Eraff says:

    BTW— he apparently/reportedly Grew up a METS FAN….. if so, this could become entirely personal on his part…all the better

  10. RAFF says:

    Wright listened to their story wearing rose-colored glasses. Maybe he is now wishing he put on his green accountant’s visor and demanded to have a peek at the books.

  11. RAFF says:

    Jimmy- I’m with you on the idea that we need to “embrace” the fact that the Mets are going to operate as a small market team. They need to fast-forward the movement of the young pitchers to the major league staff- for that matter, they need to move young position players forward, too. The Ray’s & A’s “models” you cite are a perfect examples. I am a little unclear on your statement to the effect -that getting “less than a great player” – A DIFFERENCE MAKER – doesn’t doit for you. If we’re moving into a full embrace of operating as a small market team- doesn’t the model(s) you cited indicate that we will continue to shuffle in Just Another Guy “types”— Guys who are just average major league players? Young, Young, Byrd, etc?

    • Actually, I think I said it:

      >> But in the end, a team needs difference-makers. And a team needs revenue. If you can get a great player, yes, go for it. Less than great, under these conditions, doesn’t do it for me. < <

      Even a mid-market team needs star power, because this remains a business and also, I think, because great players make a difference. If you are mid-market, you can’t do a lot of mid-level purchasing (unlike the Red Sox, who have numerous players at top and middle-tiers). I think for the Mets, right now, it’s better to have a lot of cheap guys and a select few who make (and earn) big bucks. I’d pass on Cruz, but I’d pay for Braun or Tulowitzki, for example. And if I got either of those guys, I wouldn’t need to take risks on Chris Young or Marlon Byrd.

      Still trying to win here. To repeat: I’d pay for “great,” but I’d be less inclined to pay half that for “good.” For “good,” I’d want to go close to major league minimum. The Cardinals had 16 guys under .525 million, and 3 guys over $12 million, and 6 between $1.5 and $6.00. The shape of that looks pretty good to me. Their $102 payroll could be trimmed to $90 by losing a couple of $5 million guys. Painful, but has to be done.

      • RAFF says:

        Hey, all – I’m really thankful for opportunity to think and talk baseball with you every day. Thanks for the guys who Prime The Pump, every morning- Jimmy and Mike. And thanks for the guys who stick-around to talk, to challenge each other, and to enjoy this conversation about the World’s Greatest Sport. To all of you> Happy Thanksgiving!

  12. Dave says:

    Wright seems like an earnest, straight shooter type of guy, but a healthy dose of skepticism is essential when dealing with the current owners/GM. Leaving the young pitching aside, a quick look at the roster makes it clear that this team needs massive upgrades in talent. The best Wright can hope for (at least in the short term) is good pitch-no hit mediocrity a la the Mets circa 1972-74. Anything beyond that is “magical thinking” belied by evidence and reason.

    Baseball is a business, and it’s hard to take anyone at their word, particularly anyone from the Mets organization. It’s sort of like listening to the quarterly earnings statements from the spokesman for a struggling publicly traded stock. The spokesman spins another disappointing quarter with a litany of explanations, promises, expectations, hopes, and a PLAN for growth going forward. When you can’t point to results, you must have a plan. The Mets are like a badly underperforming stock.

    Wright is not an investor, he’s an employee, with a guaranteed contract that pays him $20 million a year to bat 3rd and (maybe) hit .300 with 25 HR and 90 RBIs. Yes, he cares about results. All else being equal, he wants to play for a winner and get paid. Everyone does. That said, I don’t feel sorry for him…he is where he wants to be.

    To Jim’s initial point, what exactly did David Wright see from the owners/gm’s actions in thelast three years that led him to believe the owners would pay for excellence, or that they were committed to winning now? Since 2009, the franchise has been a fiscal mess, and giving Wright an extension was about all the owners were able or willing to do to keep the dogs at bay. Talk is cheap, and promises are easy to make. The only rational answer is that Wright signed his extension despite the owners, not because of them or their promises.

  13. Dave says:

    I second Raff’s comment above. Thanks to the pump primers for setting up this forum!

  14. Dave says:

    I feel really bad for David.

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