Saturday, March 04, 2006

Wrong Answer

I don't quite know how to feel about this, so I'm not going to come out with both barrels blazing on this one (It's spring training for me too, you know.) But just when I thought that the Wilpon's had abandoned their small market penny-pinching thinking, comes this. David Wright, only the team leader in RBI's a season ago, was taken advantage of by his lack of leverage and pigeon-holed into a 2006 salary of $374,000. (Wright got a raise of $9,000 on cost of living expenses alone...why isn't that in my contract?)

Management is no doubt thinking that if Wright gets special treatment in this case, then future players at the same point in their career will ask for the same special treatment, and the Mets want to be able to claim that nobody gets special treatment. And that's fair...sort of.

BUT...

If that is the case, and notice I'm trying to be true to my zodiac sign and attempt to see both sides of the issue here, then the Mets should not let this linger too much longer. They can still say they stuck to their guns on the issue, and that might be valuable to them down the road with another player. But when you send a message that you're held to the same standard and measured with the same slide rule as Butch Huskey, Bill Pulsipher and Alex Ochoa, well let's just say that Art Howe made more sense...sort of.

The smart move here is to sit Wright down in July if he starts off on a similar pace to 2005, and get a deal done...even if it's a million...generous for what he's making now yet a mere carrot compared to what he could be making in the future. The Wilpons seem content to stick their heads in the sand and not answer the door when it knocks. But they're going to have to pay for David Wright's services (not to mention the revenue he brings in via ticket and merchandise sales). If not now, then later. And if they wait until later, then some other team or teams are going to have a crack at the player that ESPN called a "franchise player". Paying now gets you that "hometown discount" later on.

13 comments:

Benny Blanco from da Bronx said...

I can't and won't blame the Mets for being the way the are.
What makes Reyes and Wright soo sexxxy right now are thier price tags. They make nothing. THey want to stay that way until 2010 when they HAVE to dish out the big bucks.
I can't blame them. Keep that payroll as low as they can because they can.

COOL BREEZ said...

Benny, i agree for the most part but i say if he plays the same or better for the next 2 years i say in 2008 show him the money. why wait right up till dead line.

ez said...

The Mets actually drafted David Wright with a supplemental pick at the end of the first round. They received as compensation for losing Mike Hampton to free agency.

Wow, so Mike Hampton did do the Mets some good.

Alan Eliot said...

Just a little comment- Wright led the team in RBI, and in most other meaningful offensive stats like OPS and AVG, but the 2005 HR crown went to Cliffie with 34.

His first full season, and he clearly was the best hitter on the Mets- better than an expectation-filled Beltran, better than Floyd during a career year...I really think the only one missing the boat on Wright is Willie. He's planning on hitting Wright 5 and Cliffie 6, which just makes you want to cry...

Metstradamus said...

Al, thanks for setting me straight. I was careless.

Danny Baseball said...

just wondering but who in recent memory would you say gave the mets a hometown discount? i completely understand your point here and i think the mets should give wright more money than they are just to show they appreciate him. but when the time comes, the mets will give him his huge contract and keep him in ny, don't you think? this isn't a pittsburgh/ zack duke, jason bay type situation here.

Metstradamus said...

Danny,

I can't think of anyone ever giving the Mets a hometown discount. Strawberry didn't after 1990 when he left to go play in LA (a move he has since admitted was his worst baseball-related mistake), and that might have been the only situation where it could have happened.

The Mets have more often than not been a franchise that had to overpay to get who they want/need...certainly more in the last few seasons than at any other time in their history. I think it could happen with David Wright IF the Mets come up with a little extra now or in the middle of the season.

I understand the point about the Mets having the hammer on these guys and wanting to keep that hammer, because baseball is a business. But isn't it good business to pay a little more now other than a lot more later? This could all be moot as Wright loves playing in New York and probably wouldn't want to leave, but you never know. While some may see it as an unnecessary cosmetic gesture to bump up Wright's contract now, I see it as good business for down the road. After all, isn't this a guy you want to keep around for a while?

It's bad enough the Mets had to overpay to get Pedro and Beltran, players with no prior history with the Mets. But I hope the Mets, with this hard-line strategy on Wright, don't put themselves in a position down the line to have to overpay just to KEEP someone that was brought up with the organization.

Jonathan said...

The Mets got a hometown discount with none other than with Mike Piazza. It was widely believed that MP would would have gotten more money on the open market if he had filed for FA after the 97 season. Instead he signed the 7yr-88 million dollar deal, because he like the way the organization was going.

Metstradamus said...

Jonathan, true points. I'm not sure I count that only because Piazza signed back with the Mets after only playing part of one season with the Mets organization. His hometown discount would have been if he had signed with the Dodgers before getting traded (as a result of difficult negotiations). I'm thinking more along the lines of players who had spent a significant amount of time with the club...if Piazza had signed somewhere else after '98, it wouldn't have been seen as a betrayal to a "longtime friend" as it was in the case of Strawberry, or even in the case of Mark Messier when he went to Vancouver(although in his case, the Rangers lowballed him and he got blown away by the Canucks' offer so you can't blame him.)

But every situation is a little bit different.

Anonymous said...

Hey Metstradamus,

It's Chi from Mightymets.com, I like your blog, but this David Wright thing doesn't make sense. I don't understand why the Mets would give David Wright more than the structured pay raise that all Major leaguers get prior to their arbitration eligible years.

How would it benefit the Mets? Good feelings? Does that mean Wright will take less money when he actually becomes a free agent? No. He'll still ask for his millions -- which he'll get.

Even Derek Jeter went through this process status quo getting the standard raises until arbitration -- and then after his arbitration years where he got decent pay days, and finally the year before he was to become a full fleged free agent -- the Yanks gave him his big contract. It rarely benefits a team to give their player the big contract until they have to.

The only reason to give Wright a raise is if you could sign him to a long term contract that buys out his arbitration eligible years as well as his free agent years.

Chi
www.mightymets.com

Anonymous said...

Also,

As long as David Wright likes playing for the Mets and playing in New York, the Mets will have many years to sign David Wright to a long term contract. It's hard for a player to pass up their first lucrative long term contract even 1 year prior to their free agency -- if not only because it's their first big pay day and the risk of injury is too great.

The only reason the Mets lost Darryl is because they didn't give him a bonafide offer in the offseason prior to him becoming a free agent. If you have a player that you really want -- don't let them get to free agency. Just look at Billy Wagner -- it is rumored that the Phillies could've kept him for as little as 3 yrs $21 million -- if they had signed him prior to the start of the season last year. And look at them now -- they paid 3 Years $21 million for Tom Gordon. If you disagree lemme know.

chi
www.mightymets.com

Metstradamus said...

In no way do I disagree. I do understand where the Mets are coming from. I'm just throwing out those doomsday scenarios that I like to do. I just don't like to hear that there's ANY disagreement between the new face of the franchise...and the franchise. All I'm trying to do is build bridges.

Anonymous said...

lol

Chi
www.mightymets.com

I should probably get a blogger account so that I don't have to sign in as anonymous every time.