Deface Of A Franchise

Books, Free Agents, Games, Management, Media, Paul Lebowitz's 2011 Baseball Guide, Players

David Wright is the Mets most valuable asset on and off the field.

He’s their recognizable star; an upstanding citizen; still a top tier player at a hard-to-fill position; signed long-term to a reasonable contract; a stand-up player and leader in the clubhouse while others have shied from the responsibility.

That’s why the Mets should trade him.

Let’s take a look at the reasons why.

“Da core” is broken.

Don’t think for a second this is akin to Mike Francesa’s tired and self-serving attempt at attention-grabbing after the 2008 season in which he insisted the Mets had to “break up ‘da core”.

There is no longer a core to break up.

The remnants of the title-contending Mets from 2006-2008 are either gone, aging or preparing for departure. Omar Minaya and Willie Randolph were fired; Oliver Perez and Luis Castillo have been released; Carlos Beltran and Jose Reyes are free agents at the end of the year and will either be traded or allowed to leave; Johan Santana is a forgotten man as he rehabs from shoulder surgery; Carlos Delgado, Jose Valentin, Billy Wagner and Duaner Sanchez are gone and long since forgotten.

Since the injuries to teammates mounted in 2009, there’s been a sense of lone man on an island surrounding Wright. As the Mets have collapsed on and off the field, Wright has endured; asserted his desire to stay; played hard and through aches and pains; withstood the unfair vitriol from frustrated fans as the sole remaining target for their abuse—and he’s behaved classily and professionally.

There’s no longer a core of anything. This season is degenerating rapidly into a disaster and the Mets most marketable asset is Wright.

They could extract a bounty for him.

With their current weaknesses, financial situation and season spiraling as it is, they could bring in a large haul for Wright.

He’s signed to a reasonable contract through 2013 that pays him $14 million this season; $15 million next season; and a $16 million option for 2013 with a $1 million buyout. He does not have a no-trade clause.

He plays a premium, hard-to-fill position and a change-of-scenery to a more friendly home ballpark and surrounded by better players in a more positive atmosphere would return him to MVP contending status.

Given these factors, a starting point in any trade talk would have to include a blue-chip pitching prospect; a blue-chip infielder who can hit and run; an innings-eating, relatively young starting pitcher; and another young bat with an attribute—speed or power.

Everyone and everything should be on the table.

No team should be excluded from soliciting an offer for Wright and that includes the Phillies, Braves, Marlins and Yankees.

All have prospects to deal; all could put Wright somewhere; all could fit him into their salary structure at least for the short-term.

How would the Phillies—who are going to need a bat—look with Wright at third base bashing in Citizens Bank Park and Placido Polanco moving to second? If and when Chase Utley comes back, they could shift he or Wright to the outfield.

The Yankees and Braves also could send him to the outfield; the Marlins are desperate for a third baseman and if they’re in contention, would they include Matt Dominguez to get Wright? They’ve got the nerve to do it.

The Dodgers, Angels, Athletics (who were suggested as a possible destination for Wright on Bleacher Report a couple of days ago), Cardinals, Diamondbacks, Padres—all are locations that could use Wright and have the goods to get him.

It’s best for both sides.

The new Mets baseball operations crew, led by Sandy Alderson, made their name in objective analysis and an absence of fear. The current club circumstances won’t be affected by dealing Wright. Fans aren’t coming to the ballpark; they’re going to lose 90 games with or without Wright; they have multiple needs and financial issues hindering their flexibility; he—as opposed to Beltran, Reyes and Francisco Rodriguez—isn’t carting a load of baggage or impending free agency to dilute the return in a trade.

In making a smart, aggressive deal, they could be ready to start anew by opening day 2012 with the Wilpon financial morass (hopefully) settled; a load of money off the books; and a stable of young players with fresh legs, unsullied by the residue of past failures.

Wright is 28-years-old and the frustration of losing and drama is wearing on his once-sunny disposition.

He’s tired and you can see it.

Knowing how things are clearly getting worse before they get better and that his compatriot Reyes—who was meant to be the other half of the dual-cornerstones for years of contention—is heading out the door, makes this an obvious call for everyone.

Perception and reality make the time right.

Wright isn’t the type to ask for a trade, but then neither was Roy Halladay.

Halladay stayed in Toronto as long as he could stand it, but finally asked out. It was one of those rare deals that worked for both sides. The Phillies got a star pitcher still in his prime at a financial discount; the Blue Jays acquired an ace starting pitcher and future Cy Young Award candidate in Kyle Drabek.

The Mets aren’t contenders for anything this year aside from a high pick in the 2012 draft—they look terrible; they are terrible. Clinging to the past and hoping that Wright can lead the next wave of young players into viable contention—something that won’t happen until 2013—is a mad shortsightedness in the interests of current perception and is exactly what they’ve tried to get away from with the hiring of Alderson.

Keeping Wright is the equivalent of refurbishing a dilapidated house by holding onto a valuable painting hanging on a crumbling wall.

It’s pointless when the same painting can be dealt or sold for great value.

Rather than patch a defaced and collapsing property, they need to reach the root of the problem. The Mets have to rebuild the foundation entirely.

There’s nothing left for Wright with the Mets.

It’s diminishing returns if they keep him.

They need to start over.

And the best way to do that is to trade David Wright.



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3 thoughts on “Deface Of A Franchise

  1. He’d be a perfect fit for the Braves long term as Chipper retires, but the only open position they have in the outfield is CF. Could Wright play RF and shift Heyward to CF? It may be possible, but I don’t see management doing anything that radical. Also, the Braves aren’t trading Teheran for Wright as part of any package. They’d look at maybe Minor/Beachy and Delgado, and a B level position player, maybe. If that wouldn’t get it done, I don’t think they’d do it, and they may not be willing to offer even that. They need to have Teheran be a long term 1-2 starter at league minimum and arb salary levels for several years if their future plans are going to work. They’re not going to give away the amount of talent you’re talking about for the “right” to pay David Wright a slightly club friendly contract.

    I’d love to see the Braves make a run at Wright if he hits the free agency market, but they’d actually be in a better position to do that if they don’t trade their prospects, who then hit the rotation right as they’re letting Jair Jurrjens walk. Then with the money they’d be saving over paying free agent starters, they can afford the position players they need.

    Think of it this way, if they trade the prospects you’re talking about, they’re essentially trading away a guy who on the free market could get 15 million (teheran) and some other pitcher who could fetch 10 million (beachy, delgado, minor). Combined the two would make under 1 million. That means they’re basically spending 24 million for the “right” to get to pay david wright 16 million. Basically David Wright turns into a 40 million dollar 3rd baseman that they would then have to sign to an extension that would probably be at market rate.

    Save the prospects, let Wright hit free agency, if he signs an extension before then, well, such is life. We’ve already seen the damage done by the Teixiera deal as it helped morph the Rangers into a title contender, despite the fact that they have the only manager who is worse strategically than Fredi Gonzalez. It’d be really nice to have Elvis Andrus at SS. Can you imagine a bullpen of Neftali Perez, Craig Kimbrel and Jonny Venters? Matt Harrison would be even more pitching depth.

    I just don’t believe a team should ever trade truly impact prospects for anybody that has a relatively close to market rate contract. If we were talking about Evan Longoria’s contract, maybe. But not David Wright’s.

  2. Thinking about it, here’s about what I would offer: Jair Jurrjens, Brandon Beachy or Randall Delgado and Brandon Hicks. I know most Mets fans would laugh at that offer, but that is as much as I’d offer and I’d be ambivalent as to whether or not the Mets turned it down. If Chipper went down in a catastrophic injury, I **might** be willing to offer both Beachy and Delgado along with Jair Jurrjens and Hicks.

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