Wednesday, May 30, 2012
Jeff Wilpon not urgent for deal
By Adam Rubin
NEW YORK -- Chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon on Wednesday reiterated general manager Sandy Alderson's comments Tuesday night expressing hope third baseman David Wright ultimately will sign a long-term extension to remain with the New York Mets.
But Wilpon also noted there is not an urgency to act right now because Wright is under the Mets' control through the 2013 season with a $16 million team option for next year.
"As Sandy said I think last night, he's under contract this year. We have an option for next year," Wilpon said Wednesday afternoon. "There's no gun to anybody's head. So let it just play out. And at the right time Sandy and I will discuss it and it'll move on."
Wilpon, speaking after a ceremony to acknowledge left-hander Johan Santana's donation to the 9/11 charity Tuesday's Children, added: "David is very special. He's very special to me personally, to the fan base, to the organization as a whole, the community. He does plenty of these (charity) events as well to give back. So he is very special."
Alderson said Tuesday that he plans to engage Wright's agents at some point during this season.
"I don't want to (imply) that we will make an offer; we won't make an offer," Alderson said. "We expect to talk to his agent this season certainly."
Wilpon acknowledged that the organization has more financial stability now as a result of a settlement in the clawback lawsuit against the family stemming from investments with Bernard Madoff.
Originally a $1 billion lawsuit, the family, its businesses and charities eventually settled for $162 million. But they can deduct their losses from certain Madoff investments, meaning their ultimate responsibility in the settlement will be a fraction of the $162 million figure.
The clarity should allow the Mets more flexibility to commit dollars to Wright, Wilpon acknowledged.
"It's nice to have the cloud lifted and gone and (father) Fred and (uncle) Saul (Katz) be exonerated," Wilpon said. "So I guess the answer is yes."
What about a long-term deal for Wright -- maybe seven, eight, nine or 10 years?
"Anything on that would be guessing right now," Wilpon said. "Just give it time, let it play out, and we'll hopefully have a good conclusion."
Wilpon also expressed content with the team's play. Projected to finish last in the NL East, the Mets entered Wednesday night's game against the Philadelphia Phillies with a 28-22 record and tied for second place.
"Certainly we're happy," Wilpon said. "It's not unexpected that we thought we'd be in it. I know nobody else thought we'd be in it. Listening to Sandy and the baseball guys, they thought we would have a competitive team. That's what they're showing -- a lot of different guys contributing. Our farm system was better than anybody thought.
"You look at our record in the minor leagues right now, we have the best record in all of baseball for our minor league system. ... We're on our fourth shortstop (on the major league team) now. Everybody said we didn't have depth. I think that's decent depth. Guys coming up and performing is great to see."