NEW YORK (AP) — David Wright understands why the New York Mets are open to listening to trade offers.
After the Mets finished their third straight losing season, general manager Sandy Alderson said he couldn’t be certain any player would be back next year but he expected Wright would remain with the Mets.
“If he feels like this move could benefit the team in the long run, you at least have to listen. So I see both sides of it,” Wright said Wednesday as the Mets announced plans to mark their 50th anniversary next year.
A five-time All-Star third baseman who has spent his entire professional career with the Mets, Wright hit a career-low .254 with 14 homers and 61 RBIs this year. He was sidelined from mid-May to July 22 because of a stress fracture in his lower back.
Wright has a “gut feeling” he will be back, but said it’s because he’s optimistic.
“If the Mets feel like they can get what they want in return and it would help the organization moving forward, then, obviously, they would have to listen,” Wright said.
In an interview with the New Yorker published in May, owner Fred Wilpon said of Wright: “A really good kid. A very good player. Not a superstar.”
Wright, who turns 29 next month, is owed $15 million this year in the final season of a six-year deal that guaranteed him $53.5 million. The contract includes a $16 million club option for 2013 with a $1 million buyout, but not a no-trade provision.
“Could it happen? Of course,” Wright said. “Am I thinking that it’s going to happen? I guess, no.”
Wright has not spoken with Alderson since the end of the season. He has been paying attention to shortstop Jose Reyes, who became a free agent after a dozen years in the Mets’ organization.
“Hopefully the organization values him the way I value him. I think he’s one of the premier players in baseball,” Wright said. “What he brings to the team is more than just what you see on the field. Obviously, he’s become almost like a brother to me over the years. It seems like we’ve been together forever, so it would be weird seeing him in a different uniform, but at the end of the day, he’s earned that right to test the market.”
With the Mets ownership having been sued by the trustee seeking to recover money for the victims of the Bernard Madoff Ponzi scheme, the team is planning to reduce payroll for 2012.
“There have been issues we are addressing but we are excited about the 50th anniversary,” Mets executive vice president David Howard said. “The Mets fan and the Mets franchise is known for resiliency and loyalty and dedication, and those are the things we look forward to celebrating this season. So there are better days ahead for this team and this franchise.”
Carlos Beltran and Francisco Rodriguez were traded during the 2011 season and now Reyes seems set to leave. Wright understands all the salary that came off the payroll may not be reallocated.
“You can’t just go out there and start handing out these big, long crazy contracts because that’s kind of what got us into a little bit of trouble,'” he said, while also making it clear he longs for success with the Mets. “You want to be remembered as a winner, and right now, that’s not the case because we haven’t won anything.”
Wright, Ike Davis and Lucas Duda modeled the Mets’ uniforms for next year, which have a special anniversary patch and slight changes, such as the elimination of the black drop shadow. The black caps have been dropped, and the pinstripe uniform will become the one that’s primarily used at home.
The Mets are reinstituting banner day and will have bobblehead giveaways honoring Tom Seaver and other past players. Six people who have been season-ticket holders since 1962 were presented jerseys with the number “50,” which won’t be used this season.
Wright said not to read too much into his presence at the event.
“They asked me to do this before the season ended. I wouldn’t weigh that too heavily,” he said.
Notes: Wright had not yet looked at the construction under way to bring in and lower Citi Field outfield fences. “I’ll mosey on out there at some point,” he said. “Now you’ve got to go out there and produce and show them that that was the best move.” He didn’t think the change in dimensions was aimed at increasing his production to get more value in a trade. “That’s going through a heck of a process. That’s a crazy conspiracy theory, I guess, if that’s the case. I don’t think I’m all that important.”
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