- Adam Rubin, ESPNNewYork.com
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MIAMI -- New York Mets officials remain optimistic that David Wright will remain with the team long-term and ultimately hope he will succeed Tom Seaver as the organization's unofficial ambassador after the third baseman's playing career ends, a team source told ESPNNewYork.com.
In an exclusive interview on Sunday, Wright maintained he wants his next contract to take him to retirement. The soon-to-be 30-year-old also wants an indication that the Mets have the ability to add payroll via trades and free-agent signings in the near future.
The Mets have a $16 million option on Wright's contract for next season. Wright has made it clear that if an extension is not signed this winter, he plans to test free agency during the 2013-14 offseason.
Still, Mets insiders speak optimistically about Wright being a lifelong Met -- potentially via vesting options that will give him an opportunity for this to be his final contract.
Aside from Wright's production, the Mets recognize that the organization needs a long-term ambassador. Seaver turns 68 next month and cannot serve in that role forever. Team personnel believe there would be no one better to succeed "The Franchise" in that role than Wright, who already holds the franchise records for hits, RBIs and runs.
Chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon joined general manager Sandy Alderson, assistant GM John Ricco and other Mets brass on Monday in South Florida as the group begins to formulate an offseason strategy.
The direction already is becoming clear, though, according to team personnel:
• No one on the roster is safe, with trades a major route to rebuilding the Mets after a fourth straight losing season.
R.A. Dickey's future with the organization is not entirely secure, a team source acknowledged. The Mets have a $5 million option on the knuckleballer for 2013, but he will be seeking a big extension this winter.
Despite knuckleballers often successfully pitching into their 40s, Mets officials appear wary of making a sizable commitment. That could lead Dickey to being traded this offseason if the right deal presented itself, since the Mets would have some starting-pitching depth to absorb his departure.
Trading a 20-game winner (and perhaps the reigning Cy Young winner) would not be a popular move among the fan base and could further erode attendance in 2013.
But while the Mets do take those types of factors into account, a team official maintained baseball decisions will trump marketing concerns this offseason. The roster will turn over, team sources pledge.
Ramirez and Rauch are free agents, and the Mets plan to find different arms for their 2013 bullpen. Torres ($2.7 million in 2012) and right-hander Mike Pelfrey ($5.6875 million) are eligible for arbitration for a final time this offseason, and team sources expect them to be non-tendered in December, making them free agents as well.
Mets officials remain optimistic that David Wright will remain with the team long-term and ultimately hope he will succeed Tom Seaver as the organization's unofficial ambassador after the third baseman's playing career ends.