Mets COO Jeff Wilpon: No Rush To Lock Up David Wright
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NEW YORK (WFAN/AP) — What happened to that “aggressive push” to retain David Wright?
The star third baseman’s salary is $15.25 million this season and the Mets hold a $16 million option for 2013, which gets voided if he is traded. After that, he can become a free agent.
New York general manager Sandy Alderson said Tuesday night that the team planned to speak with Wright’s agents this season about a new deal, though the GM explained that does not necessarily mean an offer is imminent.
“He’s under contract this year, we have an option for next year, there’s no gun to anybody’s head,” Mets chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon said Wednesday. “So let it just play out and at the right time Sandy and I will discuss it and it will move on.”
Earlier this month, the Wall Street Journal reported Mets brass were “quietly preparing” to offer Wright a long-term contract extension. An “aggressive push” could come “at some point later this year—perhaps as soon as this summer,” the Journal reported.
Wilpon was asked about Wright after a news conference to announce a $20,000 charity donation from pitcher Johan Santana and the Mets that will help Tuesday’s Children launch a new project designed to assist Spanish-speaking people affected by the Sept. 11 attacks.
The 29-year-old Wright is off to a terrific start for the surprising Mets, batting .365 with five homers and 30 RBIs after Wednesday night’s loss to Philadelphia. He’s tied with Joey Votto for the major league lead with a .463 on-base percentage and was ranked among the NL leaders in several other categories.
The Mets slashed nearly $50 million off their payroll last offseason — one of the biggest one-year drops in baseball history — and let All-Star shortstop Jose Reyes leave as a free agent to sign a $106 million, six-year deal with the division-rival Marlins. Many fans wonder whether Wright, the face of the franchise for years, will be the next big name out the door.
“David’s very special. He’s very special to me personally, to the fan base, to the organization as a whole, the community,” Wilpon said. “Just give it time, let it play out and we’ll hopefully have a good conclusion.”
The club’s economic outlook has changed since Reyes left. There was good news in March when ownership settled a lawsuit by the trustee seeking money for victims of the Bernard Madoff Ponzi scheme for up to $162 million. The agreement finally provided some financial certainty going forward, and Wilpon acknowledged that should make it easier to address big decisions such as the one involving Wright.
“It’s nice to have the cloud lifted and gone,” Wilpon said.
As for the team’s surprising start? Wilpon said despite the not-so-flattering preseason coverage, their early success wasn’t “unexpected” in the Mets’ front office.
“Certainly, we’re happy,” he said. “It’s not unexpected that we thought we’d be in it. I know nobody else thought we’d be in it, but listening to Sandy and the baseball guys, they thought we would have a competitive team. And that’s what they’re showing.”
Mets fans, think the time is Wright to lock up No. 5? Sound off in the comments below…
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