Mets Need To Find David Wright A Place To DH
During Spring Training, we saw that David Wright is still able to go out there and hit. Ultimately, it wasn’t his ability at the plate that caused the Mets to shut him down. It was his inability to throw a baseball.
There was a dark period where we thought it would never happen for him again. Recently, there was a glimmer of hope with him playing consecutive games at third base for St. Lucie. That hope faded away with Wright shutting down his rehab stint due to shoulder pain. Once again, there is doubt Wright can ever play in the field again.
What is difficult here is there still may be baseball left in Wright. If nothing else, Wright has two years and $27 million to motivate him to return. But it’s more than money. Seeing Wright over the past 12 years, we see a determined player with a lot of pride. We also see a player who just loves playing baseball.
Now, there is a reasonable belief Wright can still hit. Since 2015, Wright played in 75 games, he hit .260/.365/.436 with 15 doubles, 12 homers, and 31 RBI. During that stretch, he had a 119 OPS+ and a 125 wRC+. If the Mets were an American League team, Wright could be a viable option at DH. Looking at the current league leaders, if Wright could still replicate his 125 wRC+, he would rank third in that category among DHs. Whether or not his shoulder will permit him to do even that remains to be seen. What we do know is that he can’t do that with the Mets unless the team wants to give him the 1985 Rusty Staub treatment, which is something no team will do in the modern game.
Realistically speaking, if there is going to be more baseball in Wright’s career, it’s not going to be with the Mets. If Wright is going to have a second act in his career, it is going to happen as a DH.
We’ve seen with the Red Sox, they were more than happy to go with a hobbled David Ortiz as their DH. The Angels have done the same with Albert Pujols. While Wright doesn’t have their power, he still has the ability to hit. Unlike them, he still has the ability to run. Long story short, he still has ability.
Now, there aren’t going to be teams lining up to take Wright. No one wants an injured 34 year old owed $27 million. However, teams may be willing to take a flyer if the Mets eat some or all of his contract. As we know the issue here is that is something the Mets are loathe to do.
But they need to do it. Wright’s mere presence puts the team in a holding pattern. It’s led them to go with Eric Campbell as a backup in 2016, and it led to Jose Reyes being the Opening Day third baseman in 2017. The Mets simply cannot repeat this mistake. They need to fully address the position this offseason if they want any hopes of returning to the postseason. The team can’t do that as long as Wright is on the roster. As long as he is here, he is going to play in some capacity.
That is a hindrance to both him at the Mets. The team needs a real answer at third, and he needs a real opportunity to play.
For Wright, that is in the American League. There, anything is possible for him. He could play a full season. It’s possible he make the All Star team. There may be another postseason in his future. Maybe, he wins a World Series. If nothing else, Wright has his best chance to extend his career.
Overall, there is no doubt the Mets and Mets fans love Wright. In the 55 year history of the Mets, there is perhaps no player that loved being a Mets player more than Wright. If they truly loved each other, they need to do what is best for one another. They need to move on. Once that happens, they will both be better off for it.