There’s a good chance that they Mets do not need to see another homegrown super star leave in free agency this year like they did last winter with Jose Reyes. That’s because Brian Costa of the Wall Street Journal is reporting that the Mets front office is preparing to offer David Wright a contract extension soon. In this case, soon may come before the regular season ends.
Wright currently has one $16 million club option left for 2013, which the Mets will certainly pick up if their third baseman even comes close to producing what he is on pace for this season. After that, though, Wright’s future with the team is uncertain.
That would change if the Mets choose to lock him in to an extension. However, with Wright playing at an MVP level right now, it would behoove the front office to hold off on an offer until he cools down at least a little bit. The early speculation is that the Wright offer could resemble the extension fellow third baseman Ryan Zimmerman signed with Washington this winter. Zimmerman’s deal doesn’t kick in until 2014 (when Zimmerman will by 29 years old) and goes for six years and $100 million. Then there’s an $18 million club option for a seventh year.
Wright will be 31 years old at the start of the 2014 season, so it’s possible the Mets could get away with only five years with a club option for a sixth. However, Wright has proven to be more productive at the plate than Zimmerman, and if he can keep playing like he has so far this season, it’s hard to imagine him signing for less than five years and $100 million.
There’s always the chance that Wright gives the Mets a break because they were his favorite team growing up and he claims to “bleed orange and blue.” The intangible value of setting every batting record in the Mets record book and having his number immortalized alongside Stengal, Hodges and Seaver gives the Mets something that no other team can offer Wright. Both of these things would be a near certainty if Wright signs an extension, and the value in those things is the main reason why Wright’s camp won’t push the Mets to the brink in negotiations.
Even if Wright does get aggressive in negotiations, the Mets will likely have to cave because they need to offer their fan base some hope. If Wright leaves, the fans would become even more enraged than when Reyes left, and attendance might decline even more. With Wright on board, there is at least hope for the future, as well as a marketable face of the franchise that the Yankees have had for so long in Derek Jeter.
It’s not that the Mets can’t build a successful franchise without Wright, but perception can be more important than reality when it comes to attracting fans and building ticket revenue. Wright wants to stay in New York and the Mets need Wright. There’s no reason why a deal shouldn’t happen by the end of the calendar year.