Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Is You Is or Is You Ain't My Davey?

The David Wright contract extension.  That's what on the minds of all Mets fans today, especially with conflicting reports that Wright has been offered a long-term extension.

Over at ESPNNewYork, Adam Rubin's sources claim that the Mets have offered Wright a seven-year extension that would allow him to remain a Met until 2020.  But MLBTR is reporting that no such deal has been offered.  In fact, Wright himself was quoted on the site, saying:

"I have said from Day 1 that I want to play my entire career with the New York Mets.  I remain hopeful that goal can be achieved.  However, I am disappointed by the reports that I have read today which are inaccurate."

Wright's "now you see the extension, now you don't" news comes a day after the Tampa Bay Rays gave homegrown third baseman Evan Longoria a six-year extension worth $100 million.  Earlier this year, the Nationals signed the man in their hot corner to a similar deal, keeping Ryan Zimmerman in Washington through 2019, with a team option for 2020.

Both six-year, $100 million extensions were signed after each player was coming off an injury.  Zimmerman's deal this spring came after he played only 101 games in 2011 and posted the worst power numbers of his career (12 HR, 49 RBI).  Similarly, Evan Longoria signed his extension after missing 88 games for Tampa Bay in 2012.  Both Zimmerman and Longoria were 27 years old at the time their new contracts were signed.

David Wright will turn 30 in three weeks.  He was not injured in 2012 and posted fine numbers (.306, 41 doubles, 21 HR, 93 RBI).  However, his production fell off during the second half, as it has over the past few seasons in which he was fully healthy.

Zimmerman and Longoria are just entering their prime.  Wright will soon be leaving his.  If the Mets do offer Wright a seven-year extension, which would not begin until the 2014 campaign, that would keep him in New York through 2020, his age 37 season.  Will he be worth the amount of money the Mets would be paying him that year?

Carlos Beltran was given a seven-year deal by the Mets at age 27.  He played well until he was 31, then started to miss large chunks of time with injuries.  Before Beltran, there was Mike Piazza, who also signed a seven-year deal to remain a Met after the 1998 season.  Piazza had his last .300 season in 2001 at age 32 (the third year of his seven-year deal) and his final 30-homer season at age 33 (his fourth year).

If the Mets are truly going to give Wright a seven-year deal, they have to make sure they don't backload it with a high salary that will make it difficult to bring in other players once Wright starts to slow down, whether it be through injuries (like Beltran) or age and a demanding position (like Piazza).

Is Wright going to remain a Met for life?  Conflicting reports are confusing the issue.  But one thing the Mets should not be confused about is letting Zimmerman and Longoria's deals affect what they're going to do with Wright.  Both players are younger than Wright and should get more money because of it.  But Wright's best season may already be behind him.  It's up to the Mets to notice that before they talk dollars and cents with their third baseman.

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