Now wasn't that special when Fred Wilpon tossed all those bouquets full of happy talk at David Wright this week?
He's now "a great young man," that David Wright, said the owner. And in case that .409 batting average didn't tip you off, he's also "playing like a superstar." And goshdarnit, if Fred Wilpon had another daughter, it sounded like he'd propose to his third baseman on the spot.
Anthony Gruppuso/US PresswireEntering Saturday, David Wright's .409 batting average leads the majors.
But the big question, naturally, is whether the Mets are going to keep this wonderful young eligible-bachelor superstar of theirs in Queens for the rest of his career. And Fred Wilpon's answer to that was a jovial: "Of course we really want him."
Well, that sure sounds upbeat -- until you take a step back and think this through from David Wright's perspective.
There's no way of knowing, obviously, how any sort of negotiations will turn out. But one thing we do know is the question that people on the outside keep asking. And it goes like this:
Why on earth would this guy possibly sign an extension with the Mets this summer or even this offseason?
Think about it from his end. He hasn't played a postseason game in six years. The Mets have cut their payroll by nearly $50 million over the last two years. Their farm system was ranked No. 22 in baseball by Keith Law and 24th by Baseball America. And then there's the business-is-business angle.
If Wright hits the free-agent market after 2013, at age 31, the only other third basemen out there will be Michael Young (at age 37), Martin Prado (just a year younger than Wright) and Mark Reynolds. Puts him in a pretty good bargaining position. Wouldn't you say?
"It's pretty simple," said one longtime baseball insider. "There are almost no [star-caliber] third basemen in the game. And there will be none in the marketplace."
So the bottom line is this: Other clubs would be shocked if the Mets can get Wright signed before he reaches free agency. Which means they'll have almost no choice but to actively explore trading him this winter.
Unless Fred Wilpon can find another daughter to marry him first, that is.