In regards to whether he plans to talk with David Wright and RA Dickey about signing contract extensions this winter, Mets GM Sandy Alderson said on SNY the other day:
“I can’t dictate a timeframe. There are two parties involved. In fact, the timeframe has already been dictated by the other side in both cases. Our intent is to work hard and try and keep them. They’ve both been great for us this year. David has been here, and is the “Face of the Franchise.” We would very much like him to stay. I think he wants to stay. I’m sure he wants to know where we’re headed and the things we intend to do to make this a winner. I’m sure we will have that conversation at some point… RA’s situation is a little bit difference in the sense there is more immediacy there. Here’s a guy who is 37 years old and is pitching, and presumably doesn’t have the same horizon as a David Wright might have. At the end of the season, we will talk to R.A. and see what he’s thinking, and try to have him back. He’s been a great story this year, and has been a great asset over the last three years.”
In the event he cannot lock them in to contract extensions, he added, “I wouldn’t go so far it makes them ‘trade bait,’ but I think you have to constantly assess where you are and where they might be, and make the best possible judgment.”
Matthew Cerrone, Lead Writer
I’m less concerned about Dickey, because I feel the Mets have a good amount of leverage in this situation. I believe they can get something done…
In Wright’s case, I keep changing my stance. I think it’s obvious the Mets want him back, and I believe they’re willing to pay whatever is necessary to get it done (whereas they had a specific number in mind for Jose Reyes and would not go beyond it). Alderson has talked a lot over the years about how no team should ever allow three or four guys on long-term deals to occupy the bulk of one payroll, but that doesn’t mean a team can’t ever sign players to long-term, expensive deals. I feel he (and the organization) see Wright as capable of living up to being one of those players in the future, especially knowing Jason Bay and Johan Santana leave after next year, and also when factoring guys like Ike Davis and Matt Harvey, who will eventually be in store for larger contracts of their own.
The question is: Does Wright want to re-sign with the Mets? Is it even about the money, at this point? That is the big question.
I mean, think about it from Wright’s point of view: He has spent the prime years of his career doing endless interviews, shaking hands, signing autographs and doing media appearances every day; he has to deal with us (a very emotional fanbase) and talk with countless reporters (all looking to trump one another with the next hot story) every day; he’s had to experience, live through and answer questions about back-to-back September collapses, a 16 foot wall in left field, a Ponzi scheme, an unprecedented stretch of injuries, four different managers, two GMs and two different rebuilding efforts, all while fighting off batting slumps, a parade of mediocre talent, a decreasing payroll, questions about Ownership and a steady decline in the standings.
Let’s put it another way: He used to spend his winters living in New York. Now he spends them in Virginia, where he was born and raised. I’m sure he’s exhausted, and can you blame him? He earns his money, no question. However, all dollars and years being equal, I can’t help and wonder if he’d prefer to earn it some place less dramatic, more stable, with less media, less pressure and more freedom to just play baseball for a team in a better position to win now. Or, maybe not? Instead, maybe he loves the madness, you and I and the frenzy, and maybe he’s willing to sacrifice peace of mind for some endorsements and the rush of winning in New York, the city that made him a star? I don’t know, but I have to think he’s at least slightly curious about what another team – in a totally different market – might offer. How could he not be, if for no other reason than it would give him additional leverage in his negotiations with the Mets, who – by the way – will be torched by their fans if Wright isn’t retained. I mean, could you imagine how we’ll react if one year from now Wright leaves to sign with – say – the Braves, who will need a third baseman after Chipper Jones retires, in a city that is close to his home in Virginia. Wow, that would be a nightmare – Reyes on the Marlins, Wright on the Braves. Think about that… it actually hurts my brain.
The point is, unless the Mets blow Wright away with an offer this winter, I wonder if he’d prefer to role the dice, play out 2013, hope he stays healthy and then let the real silliness begin one year from now…