By Ed Coleman
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Not so fast there, people. David Wright has himself a pretty nice deal on paper or in print, doesn’t he. Or does he? Well, it depends who you talk to, and right now the only people talking are the Mets, making sure they get their point across after taking heat from fans concerning their inaction during what seemed like long and somewhat dormant negotiations for both Wright and R.A. Dickey.
Wright had three wishes that he desired as he approached this off-season looking at a contract extension that could possibly take him to the end of his career. First, as he stated many times during the season, he wanted to remain a Met-for-life like the Ripkens, Jeters, etc. that have preceded him, be a one-uniform guy. Secondly, it was his desire that the negotiation process remain confidential, free from outside pressures that constantly seem to derail talks, especially here in New York.
Hard to do? Yes. But that’s already been broken, because one side talked and it wasn’t Wright’s. And finally, Wright wanted to know what the plan was, the team’s commitment to winning, if he was going to sign up long-term for it. Wright wants to finish what he started with this team and bring a championship to the organization during his time.
There have been a lot of comparisons drawn to Evan Longoria’s recent contract extension, but how valid they are can certainly be debated. Longoria is 27 and coming off an injury-shortened season in which he hit 17 HR and had 55 RBI in 74 games. He also plays for a team that has had 3 consecutive 90-win seasons. Longoria has also played in more than 133 games just twice in his 5-year career. Wright will be 30 on December 20, has been an island in a depleted Met lineup for several seasons now, and has averaged 149 games per during his 8 seasons thus far.
The MLB Players Union has valued Longoria’s new contract at 10 years and $131 million - the present day value reduced from $136.6 million due to deferred money. And therein lies the sticking point with Wright’s contract. There are significant deferrals in Wright’s deal, as well as back-loaded money towards the end of the contract. If money’s back-loaded, it’s within the confines of the deal, just toward the back end. If it’s deferred, it’s outside or after the context of the deal. So what rubs the Wright camp the wrong way is to say that the deal is worth $140 million – that’s inaccurate, and not even close in present day value. And it’s why Wright wanted to keep these dealings confidential.
If indeed Johan Santana’s franchise-record $137.5 million contract is a benchmark that the Wright camp is shooting for, it won’t be topped when you factor in the considerable deferred money. Is Wright happy with the way this was handled? No. Is he angry? No. Somewhat disillusioned? Yes. Do I think a deal will eventually get done? Yes, probably within a week’s time. But it might have been already done if people had kept their lips sealed.
There’s a good possibility that R.A. Dickey’s deal could be consummated during the upcoming Winter Meetings. Both Dickey and his agent Bo McKinnis reside in Nashville, where the get-together is being held.
The Mets will non-tender Mike Pelfrey, Andres Torres and Manny Acosta when the deadline arrives shortly.
And with Ryan Madson now inked as the Angels closer, it could free up 25-year old RHP Jordan Walden. Not in love with him, but he’s cheap ($500,000 last season), throws hard, went 3-2 with a 3.46 ERA (his highest in 3 seasons) in 45 games, had a 2.5:1 strikeout-to-walk ratio and compiled 32 saves for Anaheim in 2011. Someone to keep an eye on.
Do you expect Wright to sign on the dotted line sooner rather than later? Be heard in the comments below!