Tuesday, May 31, 2011
Updated: June 3, 8:09 AM ET
Source: Mets mull moving David Wright
By Adam Rubin
Jose Reyes and David Wright have only worn New York Mets uniforms in their major league careers.
That is highly likely to change next season. Yet it is not a foregone conclusion that Reyes is the one who will be gone. General manager Sandy Alderson instead may choose to deal Wright next offseason, a source familiar with the organization's thinking told ESPNNewYork.com.
"It will be a very ticklish situation because of what David has meant to the team for so long, but that's not a concern of Sandy," the source said. "There will be some capital there to spend on Reyes if they choose to go that direction. Now, he can't obviously get monster money. If Reyes wants monster money, no, the Mets won't keep him."
Alderson has indicated he is likely to approach Reyes' agents before the trading deadline to gauge how much the shortstop may be seeking as a free agent. The GM also will listen to trade offers before July 31.
"But it has to be a great deal" to trade Reyes at the deadline, the source predicted.
The widespread public expectation has been Reyes is all but assured of getting traded at the deadline.
But, the source said, the more likely scenario is for the Mets to complete the season with both Reyes and Wright. Then, if the Mets can re-sign Reyes to a deal of perhaps five years or less -- their hope is an unrealistic three years -- they may be able to come to an agreement next offseason. If not, they could offer Reyes arbitration and collect two draft picks, likely including a first-rounder.
The new collective bargaining agreement may abolish first-round picks as compensation for losing a free agent, but the current agreement -- which expires Dec. 11 -- is expected to still govern free-agent compensation for next year's draft.
"I think they'll go to him and they'll request a home-team discount," the source said. "He's got reasons to stay. The flights between New York and the Dominican are easy. He'd be the man. That's for sure, if that's what he wants."
Reyes also has a home on Long Island and children in school.
However, inking Reyes essentially would force the trading of Wright, according to the source. That's because after adding whatever Reyes commands to the 2012 salaries of Johan Santana ($24 million) and Jason Bay ($16 million), the source predicted the Mets will not have the means to retain Wright at $15 million as well.
A Wright trade would be expected to occur during the offseason, not before the July 31 trade deadline. He is under the Mets' control for two more years, including a $16 million team option for 2013.
One major obstacle, according to a source, would be convincing chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon that parting with Wright would be the prudent thing to do. He is said to have a strong regard for Wright, both on and off the field -- far more so than for Reyes.
Said the source: "If they wanted to move Wright, there's no better time to move him than now, because there still will be teams out there thinking, 'Well, David Wright was sabotaged by the stadium. He's still a good player. He'd be a good fit where he doesn't have to be the guy,' which he's been here for so long. So they can get some return on Wright. Plus the fact that he has two years left on his deal, so you're not talking about long-term financial damage for any team that does pick him up."
Was Fred Wilpon's comment to The New Yorker about Wright being a nice guy and very good player but not a superstar trying to prepare the fan base for the third baseman's departure? Not so, said the source, who called it "diarrhea of the mouth" rather than a calculated maneuver by the 74-year-old Wilpon.
Meanwhile, all of this likely is playing into incoming minority partner David Einhorn's hands. If the Mets go through a rebuilding process or fans otherwise stay away because of the trading of one of the faces of the franchise -- whether it's Wright or Reyes -- that would be a further drag on revenue. And that would make it more difficult for the Wilpons to stave off Einhorn's future option to become majority owner.
Adam Rubin covers the Mets for ESPNNewYork.com.