Musings

David Wright Returns Today

At the moment, we have no idea just how much he is going to play prior to Saturday, but the Mets are anticipated to make an important roster move just by activating David Wright off the 60 day disabled list.  With Wright activated, Mets fans now have the chance to make the all too short good-bye to Wright.  Today is an emotional day for everyone involved, and it should prove to be the first day of what will be an emotional week culminating in Wright taking the field for the final time on Saturday.

Instead of being like Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, or David Ortiz going city to city collecting gifts, he is going to just be here to collect the adoration and love from Mets fans.

Hopefully, fans will flood to the ballpark and to their television sets to just cheer on Wright to let him know just how much he has meant to fans over these past 14 years.  For those of us who will be watching, we will all watch on with anticipation of Wright getting a surprise pinch hitting appearance at some point during the game.

No matter what happens, the rest of the season is all about Wright.  It’s about him getting to play in front of the fans, but more importantly to him, it is about him playing in front of his daughters.  It’s about him ending his career on the field instead of in a trainer’s room.  The Mets organization may not get many things right, but they got this one right.

Today, David Wright is once again an active player on the Mets roster.  Today, we get our Captain back.

Mets Blew A Chance

With the Mets winning 8-6 yesterday in what was an odd and messy game between two also rans, the Mets took the season series against the Nationals for the first time since 2015.

This only underscores just how vulnerable the Nationals were this year.

There was an opportunity for the Mets to take this division. The Mets record against the rest of the NL East further proves this out:

  • Atlanta 4-12
  • Philadelphia 11-8
  • Miami 10-6

Even with their struggles against the Braves, the Mets are two games over .500 in the division. Seeing how well the Mets performed in their own division, you have to question what went wrong.

We all know the answer. It was that 5-21 June.

During that month, the Mets tried to play Jay Bruce despite him being too injured to play. Same for Asdrubal Cabrera. Neither played well.

Devin Mesoraco and Jose Reyes played more than younger counterparts, and they underperformed.

All of this offset a Jose Bautista return to form making him a surprise contributor. Still, that Bautista contributing highlights a key problem.

The Mets answer is always to go older, older and more injury prone. We see the Mets have a healthy foster, they can compete, but when are they ever healthy?

They’re not, and it continues to be an issue. The Mets keep getting older, and they make unnecessary gambles. For example, Reyes was playing over Luis Guillorme and Jeff McNeil.

The McNeil case was the worst of them all.

First, he wasn’t much of a prospect. Then, he couldn’t play third base. Now, the Mets are pinpointing second as a position they could upgrade at this offseason. They wouldn’t feel this way if they observed McNeil this season.

This is emblematic of how this organization’s views on how to build a roster. Worse yet, despite evidence to the contrary, they repeat this behavior.

This is why 2018 fell apart. That is why we should treat the 2019 version with skepticism, at least until such time as the Mets change the way they conduct their business.

That’s why, even with the this window opening, the Mets could not take advantage. If they continue operating the same way, they’ll continue not competing.

Addison Russell And MLB Taking Things Seriously

When Addison Russell‘s now ex-wife refused to cooperate with Major League Baseball, Russell avoided a domestic violence suspension.  Instead, he got to finish out the season for a Cubs team which lost to the Dodgers in the NLCS.  While Russell avoided suspension last time, you’d be hard pressed to believe he will avoid a suspension this time – certainly not after his ex-wife made all the mental and physical violence she sustained known publicly.

In response to the allegations, the Cubs released a statement saying, “We take allegations of domestic violence seriously and support the League’s decision to place Addison Russell on administrative leave given new details revealed today. We will continue to cooperate with the League’s investigation so the appropriate action can be taken.”

It is difficult to take the Cubs position seriously when they gave up not just Gleyber Torres but also Billy McKinney, Rashad Crawford, and Adam Warren to get Aroldis Chapman.  The Cubs did this in the same season Chapman had his own domestic violence suspension.  They did this because after 108 years of not winning, they were willing to do anything to finally win one.

The Cubs are not alone.  We have seen the Mets do it with Jose Reyes.  With respect to the Mets, they not only keep Reyes around long after he has ceased being a good player, but they have held him out as a face of the franchise.  The Mets have done that despite their fully knowing Reyes threw his wife into a set of glass doors so hard it required her to be taken to the hospital.

The overriding point is Major League Baseball and their teams will talk tough whenever a player puts his hands on a woman.  However, when push comes to shove, Major League Baseball won’t give a long enough suspension to avoid a fight with the Players’ Association, and teams will continue to make trades and signings of players who have beaten women for a chance at winning.

So through everything everyone will say and do with respect to Russell, Reyes, past and future cases, we will hear tough rhetoric, but ultimately, it will continue to be empty rhetoric.

Mets Should Still Keep Wilmer Flores

Mets folk hero and utility player Wilmer Flores has been diagnosed with arthritis in both of his knees, and there are some indications the Mets are will non-tender him this offseason making him a free agent a year earlier than scheduled. In many ways, this seems like an odd decision.

For starters, the Mets have not shied away from giving money to injured and injury prone players.  The Mets gave Yoenis Cespedes $110 million knowing he had calcified heels which would one day require surgical correction.  In a similar circumstance to Flores, the Mets opted to keep Matt Harvey by giving him $5.625 million despite Harvey’s Tommy John, TOS, and stress reaction issues over the past four years.

Perhaps more analogous to the aforementioned situatiosn, the Mets gave Jay Bruce $39 million even though the team had no need for a left-hand hitting corner outfielder and Bruce having a history of knee issues. In fact, back in 2014, Bruce would have surgery to repair partially torn meniscus.  As noted by UW Medicine, a torn meniscus could lead to arthritis.  While we do not know if Bruce has arthritis or not, that is an assumed risk the Mets took despite having Cespedes, Michael Conforto, and Brandon Nimmo on the 40 man roster.

When it comes to Bruce, what the Mets really cared about here was production and Bruce’s ability to stay on the field.  It was a risk that backfired.  What is interesting with Flores is he was able to stay on the field, and he was able to produce.

From June 15th until September 1st, Flores was an everyday player for the Mets.  In that stretch, he hit .281/.325/.446 with 17 doubles, eight homers, and 35 RBI.  Over this stretch, he had a 110 wRC+.  Among players with 250 plate appearances over this stretch, that wRC+ was fourth best among MLB first basemen.  It would have also ranked as fourth best among second baseman and sixth among third baseman.

Overall, Flores’ bat will play at any infield position.  More than that, time and again, we have seen Flores is capable of taking over a position for an extended stretch of time while giving the Mets good production.  That’s an important thing when the Mets actively signs players like Bruce who they will know will miss time.

When further analyzing the roster, you realize the Mets need Flores’ right-handed bat.

Looking at the projected 2019 roster, the Mets are going to heavily rely on left-handed bats.  In addition to Bruce, Conforto, and Nimmo, the Mets also have Jeff McNeil.  Outside of Todd Frazier, the Mets do not have any real right-handed power bats on the roster.  It’s possible Amed Rosario could be that one day, but he’s not there yet.

Point being, when the Mets face a tough left-handed pitcher, they will need a player like Flores who they can put into the lineup.  He could spell McNeil at second, or he could move over to first for Bruce.  With respect to Bruce, it would help keep him fresher and hopefully more productive.

You could argue this spot could be filled by T.J. Rivera, but no one knows if he will be able to play next year.  More than that, the Mets would be a stronger team with a stronger bench if they have both Flores and Rivera.

This is not to suggest Flores isn’t without his flaws.  He is not a good defender at any position even if he is passable on the right side of the infield.  While his knees have not forced him to the disabled list, he has been injury prone, even if they are freak injuries like him fouling a ball off his face.

Still, Flores is a player who is a perfect fit for this roster.  More than that, he is a player who is a fan favorite, and he has shown himself to be clutch as well with him being the Mets all-time leader in walk-off RBI.  Taking all of this into account, the Mets would be foolish to parts ways with Flores over a one-year commitment, especially when we know the Mets will not reinvest that money and sign a player anywhere near as good as Flores.

deGrom Having An All-Time Great Mets Season

In addition to Jacob deGrom making a case for him to win the Cy Young, he has also been making an impact on the Mets record books.  At the moment, he is the Mets all time leader in K/9 and ERA+.  He has also moved to second place all-time in ERA, third place in FIP, and he’s cracked the top 10 in strikeouts.  In essence, deGrom has moved into Jerry Koosman territory, and really, he is knocking at the door of being considered along with Tom Seaver and Dwight Gooden as being in the upper echelon of Mets pitchers.

With respect to Gooden, we all know his best year was 1985.  That year was not just the best year any Mets pitcher has ever had, it is among the best seasons any pitcher has ever had.  That year, Gooden was the unanimous Cy Young going 24-4 with a 1.53 ERA, 0.965 WHIP, 229 ERA+, 2.13 FIP, 268 strikeouts, 8.7 K/9, and a 12.2 WAR.  After a record setting rookie season, you could see him at least threatening to challenge Seaver for the best ever in Mets history.  Alas, it wasn’t to be.

Perhaps, that was the mark of just how great Seaver was.  Looking at his Mets career, it is hard to pick just one season which defined his greatness.  After all, he does have three Cy Youngs, which remains the most in Mets history. Looking over his Cy Young seasons, his 1971 and 1973 seasons really stand out.

In 1971, Seaver was 20-10 with a 1.76 ERA, 0.946 WHIP, 194 ERA+, 1.93 FIP, 289 strikeouts, 9.1 K/9, and a 10.2 WAR.  In 1973, Seaver was 19-10 with a 2.08 ERA, 0.976 WHIP, 175 ERA+, 2.57 FIP, 251 strikeouts, 7.8 K/9, and a 10.6 WAR.

As an aside, it is astounding to see Seaver have two seasons that great.  Really, he was unparalleled in his greatness.  To put it in perspective, when R.A. Dickey won the Cy Young in 2012, he had a 139 ERA+ and a 5.7 WAR.  Seaver had eight seasons with at least a 139 ERA+ and eight seasons with at least a 5.7 WAR.

Looking back to Dickey’s 2012 season, he had a season good enough to beat out Clayton Kershaw to make him the third Met to win the Cy Young award.  While it was good enough to beat Kershaw, the best pitcher of this generation, it is nowhere as good as the season deGrom is having right now.

So far through 30 starts, deGrom is 8-9 with a 1.78 ERA, 0.950 WHIP, 207 ERA+, 2.05 FIP, 251 strikeouts, 11.0 K/9, and an 8.6 WAR.

Now, that is a season on par with what we have seen with Seaver and Gooden.  That FIP is better than what Gooden had in his all-time great 1985 season.  His ERA plus is better than what Seaver had in his aforementioned Cy Young seasons.  In fact, deGrom’s current ERA+ is even better than any season Seaver has posted in any season.

In essence, once you are mentally able to move past the win-loss record, deGrom is having one of the best seasons a Mets pitcher has ever had.  Depending on your gauge, it can be fairly ranked anywhere in the top five of Mets single season pitching performances.

Remember, the list goes beyond just Seaver and Gooden.  There were also great seasons from Pedro Martinez, Johan Santana, Koosman, and Matt Harvey.  However you look at it, deGrom belongs near or atop the list of single season performances.  More than that, deGrom is becoming one of the best pitchers in Mets history . . . if he wasn’t one already.

Mets Fans Reactions To David Wright Retiring

David Wright announcing September 29th was going to be his final game in a Mets uniform has left a profound impact upon all Mets fans.  We all have our own reactions and stories to tell.  Because of how much Wright has meant to the Mets and Mets fans, in this edition of the Mets Blogger Roundtable, we are opening up the responses to not just bloggers, especially those who regularly appear on here, but also to Mets fans who wanted to share their thoughts on Wright.  I encourage anyone who reads this to share your own thoughts in the comments.

Michael Baron (nym.news)

It’s horrible to see any player – not to mention an iconic player, Hall of Famer or otherwise – struggle the way Wright has since 2015. It’s been sad to watch and sad to listen to and this was the unfortunate culmination of that sadness. It was heartbreaking to see him at the podium crying as he said goodbye to baseball. I think this was mostly expected at some point soon, but that doesn’t make it any easier to stomach, watching a star player come up, excel, only to fade through all of the promise and hope Sandy and the Mets instilled in him over the years. He took it on the chin for this organization during those dark years, standing in front of the camera trying to explain away the madness and chaos and preach patience and hope through the process, and he deserves a medal for that. He’s an ambassador to the team and the game, and players should strive to be exactly what and who David Wright is and what he stands for. He’s a class act and I’m going to miss him.

James Schapiro (Shea Bridge Report)

Hard to improve on that. I would just add that Wright was admirable because he was a rock during turbulent times for the Mets, but also because of how hard he worked whenever he was forced off the field. Even when he broke his finger in 2011, he came back something like two days later and hit a home run. The doctors told him he was fine to play as long as he could stand the pain of playing with a broken finger, so of course he went out and played. He was great on the field and in the locker room after games, but he was also an exemplary Met in terms of working through adversity.

EDITOR’S NOTE: One of the best things you will read about how much Wright means to fans is James’ 2016 article entitled The Ballad of David Wright.

Mathew Brownstein (MMO, Bullpen with DA)

Growing up, David Wright was my favorite player. Not only for how he conducted himself on the field, but for the way in which he made sure to be the type of player that kids could genuinely look up to. Hearing the news of his retirement is like coming to the end of a great film or book, you want it to continue. I applaud his determination, fight, and fortitude to make it back from over two years of rehab to get this proper sendoff. Thank you for the memories, Captain.

Brad A.

The Mets have had some great players wear the blue and orange. Not only is David Wright among those greats, he leads those greats. We were fortunate to watch one of the best players in a Mets uniform play in his prime. Thank you for everything David and your reputation will live on as all of us will see the #5 hanging on the rafters right next to #31.

Colin Cosell (Mets PA Announcer)

As a young adult, I grew up in a New York sports scene where David Wright and Derek Jeter were the definitive and unconquerable captains of their eras. Jeter had the career and finality that every athlete dreams of. But Wright’s career so quickly turned from dream to nightmare; something that neither he nor Mets fans nor baseball fans in general could’ve ever fathomed. In my eyes, David deserves to play past Franco’s age. But, alas, there we all were during his press conference, accepting what we all kind of knew was inevitable. I cried as he cried, and then I shook as I realized I would have the unintelligible honor of calling his final lineup spot and final at-bats. I don’t know what events and players I’ll have the honor of calling in the future, but this one will stay with me forever. Long live #5, our Captain.

Joe D. (MMO)

Even though I suspected that David Wright would announce that his playing days were over, it was still stunning to hear it. Watching him fight through tears to say he wanted to suit up one more time for his daughters, who never saw him play in an actual game, was heart-wrenching to see. I had to fight back my own tears. Injuries robbed Wright of what was a certain Hall of Fame trajectory. But he leaves an indelible mark on the Mets franchise as the best position player that they ever developed. He will be greatly missed.

Joe DeMayo

It was real tough watching Wright’s press conference yesterday despite it seemingly being the announcement that many of us have expected was a mere matter of time. I have been following David’s career since shortly after he was drafted throughout his path to finally making it to Queens. He along with Jose Reyes being the young home grown stars of this team right before they went and splurged to build those excellent mid 2000’s teams were some fond memories for me. I loved following David’s career as it was so evident that he loved nothing more than being a New York Met. He has given us countless memories and moments that we will never forget as Mets fans. David is a true Met, and will always be one. He literally gave his body for the New York Mets. He handled everything on and off the field in the most perfect way. He is a true role model. He is our Captain. I feel terrible for him that his body just wouldn’t allow him to continue to do what he loves, but I hope he got some closure with his announcement and the wild crowd he’ll have on September 29th. David is a sure fire Mets Hall of Famer, and in my opinion the second best offensive player in team history behind Mike Piazza. I will always be thankful for everything David did, and I cannot wait to be at the game when his number 5 is retired and officially confirmed it will never be worn again by a Met. He deserves that. Thank you for everything David! LGM!

Corne Hogeveen (MMN)

There is no crying in Baseball right? Well David Wright has made me cry a couple of times. It shows how much David Wright means to me. Marvelous player and marvelous person. A true Captain who always be my Captain. Captain you will be missed. We love you!

Hoov (The Happy Recap)

Wright is the man who will not only make us glad that Denver has great schools. He is easily a face on the Mets’ Mt. Rushmore (to take a concept from himself yesterday regarding Jay Horwitz), and he is one of the best to ever wear the blue and orange – a true Mets icon. Lifelong Mets are almost impossible to quantify over a decade (Ed Kranepool is obvious, Ron Hodges less so), but Wright went wire to wire with us, and could have walked, in a dark era, and chose not to. That his body betrayed his love of the sport is a side note to a career that all Mets fans should treasure. to steal a oft used cliche’, don’t cry because it’s over (ok, we’re gonna cry), smile because it happened (and what a smile it is!)

Anthony Lombardi (Anthony Robert Salon)

David Wright will always be the Mets player that everyone else will be compared. Not only what he did on the field. The way he carried himself off it as well. A great player, leader and role model

Matt Mancuso (MMN)

David Wright exemplified a perfect New York Met player. His classy demeanor, his confident leadership, and his clutch hitting will be remembered and dearly missed. David Wright holds a special place in every Mets’ fans heart.

Joe Maracic (Loud Egg)

Heart says yes, body says no. Decision was taken out of his hands. Class act, always. Farewell Captain.

Ed Marcus

David Wright is one of the nicest Mets I ever got the honor to cover. I met him a handful of times during my tenure as a blogger, and with the exception of maybe R.A. Dickey and John Franco, David came across as the most genuine. I know that it’s cliched to say he bled Orange & Blue, but there is no other way to describe his devotion for this team. He now stands with original Met Ed Kranepool as the lone players to have the distinguished honor of playing their entire career in a Mets uniform (a rare feat in this day and age of free agency and trading star players for prospects). This is truly the end of an era, and it would be a shame if his #5 isn’t retired by the Mets.

Michael Mayer (MMO & MMN)

I’m happy that David Wright will get exactly what he hoped for, one last time on a major league field and for that to be in front of his two young daughters. Sad that it has to end this way, but it also gives the Mets a better idea of their roster going into 2019 as well.

Wright is the best position player in Mets history and deserves this type of send off.

Pete McCarthy (WOR Sports Zone)

I won’t lie. It got a bit dusty listening to David Wright make it clear he wouldn’t be continuing his career beyond this season. Even though it’s the result I thought made the most sense for Wright and the Mets, hearing the emotion in Wright’s voice and the finality of it all hit me, and I’m sure anyone who has followed Wright’s career and comeback attempts. It was great taking calls between games of the doubleheader and after the final game with fans sharing stories of Wright going out of his way to sign an autograph, take a picture, or calling just to acknowledge the character Wright displayed during his Mets career. It’s rare that one’s idols are who we like to think they are but in the case of those who grew up idolizing Wright, they can feel confident they chose wisely. That final homestand will be bigger and have more emotion than any of us can imagine right now. Former teammates of Wright’s will be there and for the first time in Mets history there will be proper send off for a bonafide franchise player.

Meek Phil

David Wright was the first athlete I really became attached to growing up. People don’t realize how great of a player he was in his prime and seeing his career end like this is incredibly unfair.

Metstradamus (Metstradamus Blog)

The only thing I ever hoped for with Wright is that when the end comes, it comes with no regrets. Considering how hard he has worked for two and a half years to try to overcome a huge setback like spinal stenosis, I can’t imagine that David thinks he left anything on the table. So kudos to David for giving it a real shot.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Please make sure you take the time to read Metradamus’ article entitled David Wright Gets One Last Homestand.

Greg Prince (Faith and Fear in Flushing)

In the short term, I embrace that there’s been resolution. David will play. That’s all we and he could have asked for.

I’m sorry that all of David’s efforts have led to no more than (presumably) one final appearance. It would have been beautiful had rehabilitation equaled rejuvenation. That, apparently, was too much to ask for.

But you can’t be a baseball fan without being a romantic, and I embrace the romance of one final jog out to third base, one final tossing the ball around the infield, one final grabbing of a grounder, one final swing, perhaps one final hit, definitely one final bow.

The finality is bracing, but it was coming sooner or later. It’s rare that it is presented to us so definitively. Unless it rains.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Make sure to read Greg’s other poignant statements on Wright in his article Resetting Expectations.

Patrick O.

For me, David Wright will always be the quintessential NYM, as a player, and as a metaphor for all things mets; usurped promise.
More broadly, MLB faced a crisis of conscious with the steroid era; testing beginning in 2003. Captain America’s debut in the majors in 2004, and quick ascent to a leading ambassador of the sport and face of MLB, led a charge in the post steroid era as an example we can all be proud of; a true role model.
His resume speaks for itself. His character, determination, love for the sport, and unyielding devotion to the blue and orange, and the game, will never be forgotten by us Flushing loyalists.

Tim Ryder (MMO, Good Fundies)

As sad as it that David Wright is hanging them up, I can’t help but feel privileged to have been a Mets fan during his tenure and to have seen the heights he reached. When I hear folks talk about Tom Seaver, I’m envious that I didnt get to see him pitch. When my kids ask me about David Wright, I’ll be able to tell them how strong, courageous, determined, and perfect he was as a ballplayer and as a human being. He’s earned this last hurrah. Let’s give him the send-off he deserves.

Anthony Scaramucci

Great athlete but better person than athlete. Was a role model to my sons and we wish him the best. Should be lifetime captain of the Mets.

Dilip Sridhar (MMO & MMN)

There are two ways to look at David Wright and both justify his greatness. There are the numbers and there is the class and persona he held.

Most if not every metric that is used to judge a player would agree that Wright is quite easily the best to ever put on the orange and blue. Wright’s numbers seem very hard to beat and only two Mets on the current roster have a shot at ever catching him. Players of Wright’s caliber don’t just grow on trees and fans will see that very soon. He was on a hall of fame path if not for the spinal stenosis.

The class and persona is what makes him stand out over the other great Mets. Not once was Wright embroiled in a scandal or was he in the news for the wrong reasons. He gave Mets fans a true example of how to handle themselves and made the franchise presentable in a time where they were not. Even when the injuries struck, he never took attention from his teammates and he never tried to pass off the blame. He earned the title of “Captain.”

As a kid who grew up in the era of Wright and as someone who’s had to go though multiple surgeries in a small span of time like Wright, he has taught me to never lose my values and never lose my drive. I thank him for his time with the Mets and wish him all the best going forward. Re5pect

Breanna Susa (That Mets Chick)

I grew up watching David Wright from the moment he got his call up in 2004. Him and Jose Reyes were the reasons why I got into baseball at such a young age. They were the corner stone on the left side of the infield. Young, energetic and fun to watch. I played softball up until my last year in college and I used to emulate his at bat rituals. He would tuck his bat underneath his arm and redo his batting gloves. He would take a deep breath before getting back into the batters box. David Wright was my idol growing up.

I’m so sad about David Wright retiring. I feel a pit in my stomach, kinda after a breakup. David Wright broke up with me. Heartbroken. 

Mets Daddy

We all wanted Wright to be our Derek Jeter, but he turned out being our Don Mattingly.  He was the great player in our franchise history forced to retire before his time due to back problems.  However, with all due respect to Mattlingly, Wright was a better player, and he was much more than that.

Wright was special.  He was the guy who grew up wanting to be a Met, and unlike so many of us, he accomplished that dream.  Unlike Darryl Strawberry and Dwight Gooden, Wright didn’t let anything get in the way of achieving greatness.  Unlike Seaver, Wright would play his whole career with the Mets.

We know Seaver is the greatest player who will ever don a Mets uniform, but Wright is the most beloved.  That is why seeing all that has transpired just hurts.

He didn’t win a World Series because Guillermo Mota shook off Paul Lo Duca, two collapses which he did all he could do to prevent, and because Terry Collins managerial gaffes coupled with some late game errors.  He didn’t set some records because of the comical dimensions of early Citi Field.  He may not get into the Hall of Fame because of those dimensions.   Mostly, he may not get in because of his health.

Through all of it, Wright was truly great.  Likely, he was the greatest position player the Mets have ever seen, and it is going to be hard to see him go.  But, by the same token it is good to see he is able to leave the game with his head held high and with his dignity.  We are not going to have stories about Wright falling down and failing like the Willie Mays stories of him falling down in center field.  No, we have just the best memories of him playing.

Really, it’s hard to pick a favorite.  There’s the bare-handed catch.  Him diving into the stands.  The game winning hits.  His euphoria over winning the division or going to World Series.  His homer in his first game back, the slide against the Nationals, his fist pump in the NLDS, and the homer in Game 3.  There are so many to choose.  That’s what happens when you have a great career.

So on Saturday, I will be able to take my son to a game to let him one of the greatest Mets to ever play the game take the field for the last time.  As a parent and an ardent Mets fan, it is something I always wanted to do with my sons.  I just wish there was a chance for my oldest to go to Citi Field and have an opportunity to remember Wright playing in a Mets uniform.

Mets Real David Wright Dilemma

If you’ve been to or watched Mets alumni at Citi Field for events like the 30th Anniversary of the 1986 World Series or Mike Piazza‘s number retirement, you will see just how much former Mets respect and revere David Wright.

What makes those moments so special is you see Wright look on with admiration at players he grew up rooting for as a child, and they treat him as an equal. There is a mutual respect between Mets greats.

As we are seeing with the Mets yet again, this mutual respect is shared between Mets players but not ownership. No, the Wilpons just have a way of alienating themselves with players like they have with the fans.

Darryl Strawberry has spoken candidly how he no longer associates with the Mets due to Jeff Wilpon. There are multiple instances of the Mets alienating their former players.

One interesting note is how prominent Mets who have played for both the Mets and Yankees are more closely affiliated with the Yankees organization. David Cone and Al Leiter have worked for YES. We’ve seen them and players like Dwight Gooden participate in Old Timer’s Day.

Part of the reason we see these Mets with the Yankees is because of the World Series titles. We also see the Yankees making the efforts to bring these players back. More importantly, these players have typically received better treatment from the Yankees than they have the Mets.

For example, could you imagine the Yankees removing a popular player’s signature from the walls of their stadium? Would you see them turning Monument Park into an unkept portion of their team store?

More importantly, could you see the Yankees handling the Wright situation in the matter the Mets have? It’s extremely doubtful.

Over what amounts to less than $5 million, the Mets are not going to let Wright play again. For what it’s worth, the Mets have that money socked away from the trades of Asdrubal Cabrera and Jeurys Familia and maybe even the insurance from Yoenis Cespedes.

Sure, the Mets have offered other reasons, rather excuses. They’re going to rely on medical reports (even though he’s been cleared to play baseball games). They’ve said there’s a higher standard of medical clearance to play in MLB as opposed to minor league games.

Now, the Mets are moving the perceived goalposts by saying the team wants him to be a regular player as opposed to a “ceremonial” player or pinch hitter.

Of course, Wright being an everyday player is a bit difficult with the presence of Jay Bruce, Todd Frazier, and Wilmer Flores. It’s also more difficult due to Wright’s own personal physical limitations.

Of course, the Mets don’t know what Wright wants or feels like he’s capable of doing because John Ricco admits to not talking to Wright about all of this.

Seeing how all of this has transpired and how the Mets have opted to operate their business, especially post Madoff, this is about the insurance money.

While Wright has always said the Wright thing and has never been truly critical of the organization, everyone has their breaking point, and this could be his.

Much like we’ve seen with former Mets greats, Wright may be so aggrieved, he just stays away (not that the Mets give players reasons to return with event like Old Timer’s Day). And seeing how Wright has been treated, we may see the same thing with fans and other former players because, at the end of the day, no one should be alright with how this is transpiring.

Sadly, unlike the greats of Mets past, there’s no other home for him. The Mets are it.

So while we’re seeing what could be Wright’s final chance, we may be seeing the end of Wright before he fades away forever. That could be the saddest thing of all, and it was all over a few million.

Mets Teetering On Irrelevance

Tonight, the new NFL season officially begins with the Atlanta Falcons taking on the defending Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles.  With that, for the first time since Alexander Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals claimed their first Stanley Cup, Major League Baseball no longer has the stage all to themselves.

That’s a big problem for the New York Mets.

On Sunday, the Mets are going to take on the Philadelphia Phillies at the same time the New York Giants will begin their season at home against the Jacksonville Jaguars.  With respect to the Giants, they are a team featuring a new head coach, the second overall pick from the draft, and of course, future Hall of Famer Eli Manning.

On Monday, the Sam Darnold Era begins as the Jets travel to Detroit to play the Lions on Monday Night Football.  At the same time, the Mets will be hosting the Miami Marlins on Bark at the Park Night.

Certainly, the early NFL season offers optimism for both Jets and Giants fans.  It also features young and exciting players who fans hope will serve as the cornerstones of their respective franchises for the next decade.

By the same token, the Mets have decided it was not time to call-up Peter Alonso, and have instead opted to play Jay Bruce at first base.  For that matter, the team is not playing Dominic Smith at either first base or left field.  Apparently, the team believes fans want to see Austin Jackson play center field over Brandon Nimmo.

That’s the problem with the New York Mets right now.  Short of a Jacob deGrom start and possibly a Zack Wheeler start, the Mets are not offering you a real reason to tune into their games.  That was one thing during the summer when baseball was the only show in town.  However, with the NFL season staring along with your favorite TV shows beginning to roll out their season premieres, the Mets are going to fade further and further away.

Really, short of David Wright making a miraculous comeback, a proposition which seems less and less likely by the day, the Mets are not offering their fans much of a reason to watch.

Clearly, this is something which has been lost on the Mets franchise.  It’s not just that they are a bad team who is 13 games under .500.  Now, they’re a team overshadowed by the world around them.  For the moment, it is something that will affect just September viewership and attendance.  However, until the Mets fix something with their team, it is something that is going to plauge their 2019 season and beyond.

Certainly, this is something the Mets should be considering before they deem Manny Machado, Bryce Harper, or even A.J. Pollock too expensive this offseason.

Frazier’s Gil Hodges Moment

Part of Mets lore is Game 5 of the 1969 World Series when Gil Hodges brought a ball from the dugout to show that a Dave McNally pitch had actually hit Cleon Jones on the foot.

The very next batter, Don Clendenon, would take McNally deep to cut the Orioles lead to 3-2 en route to the Mets winning that game 5-3 securing the first World Series In Mets history.

The funny thing is the shoe polish wasn’t Jones’. Rather, it belonged to Jerry Koosman, who was instructed by Hodges to swipe the ball on his cleat so he could present it to the umpires.

To this day, we never quite found out if the ball really hit Jones’ foot. What we do know is that proved to be a pivotal moment in a shocking upset.

While it certainly was not of the same magnitude or lasting impact, we can now say Todd Frazier is up to the same level of trickanery as Hodges.

While everyone initially believed this to be a play reminiscent of the one Derek Jeter made against the Red Sox (which is absurd as Jeter caught that ball in fair territory and continued to run into the stands), it was much more like Hodges and Koosman.

As Frazier explained, he didn’t make, or rather, complete the catch. Instead, as luck would have it, there was a rubber ball laying on the ground. Frazier picked up the ball, showed it to the umpire who then ruled Alex Verdugo out, and he tossed the ball back into the stands.

Eventually, the Mets would tie the game and win it with a Brandon Nimmo pinch hit three run homer. The homer came too late to give Jacob deGrom the win.

However, in a season where deGrom has received criminally low run support, at least players like Frazier are looking for any which way to help deGrom win the Cy Young.

Mets Owe Wright This Chance

When discussing David Wright, it is important to remember exactly who he is. Wright is not just a homegrown Met, but he was once a kid who grew up a Mets fan. Essentially, Wright is to the Mets what Joe Mauer has been to the Twins.

Perhaps, that is the reason Wright signed what was an lucrative albeit under value contract to remain a Met for life. Maybe this is the reason Wright has sacrificed. Or just his career but also his personal health to help the Mets try to win a World Series.

Understandably, Yankee fans bemoan all that could have been with Don Mattingly and his back issues, but what has happened with Wright is all the more heartbreaking.

Heading into the 2015 season, Wright was clearly on the path to the Hall of Fame. That was before disaster struck. What was once thought to be a leg injury turned into a spinal stenosis diagnosis. The path of his career would be forever changed.

Still, there was some hope. After being activated in late August after missing 115 games, Wright homered in his first at-bat. Over his final 30 games he hit .277/.381/.437 with seven doubles, four homers, and 13 RBI.

Wright would finally get his chance to play in a World Series, and in his first at-bat at Citi Field, he electrified the Citi Field crowd:

In 2016, there was still hope for a World Series and for Wright.

Through the first 11 games, he was hitting .279/.404/.512. Through 24 games, he was at .258/.405/.472. Sadly and predictably, his body broke down from there.

His season ended on May 27th. After that, he has undergone neck, back, and shoulder surgery. After those surgeries, Wright has not played in another MLB game.

It’s not for want of trying.

Each year, Wright has gone through the same routine. Report to Spring Training with hope. Eventually, he gets shut down, confers with his doctors, and then he starts an ill-fated rehab assignment.

Through all of this, Wright’s body has been purportedly failing him leading everyone to agree to do the merciful thing and stop Wright from playing.

The thing is Wright still won’t give up, and with him being under contract for just two more years past this year, he’s running out of chances to play again. As it turns out, that contract may be standing in the way of his return.

Mike Puma of the New York Post reports the Mets are hesitant to activate Wright due to the financial implications.

According to David Lennon of Newsday, if Wright played the final month of the season, the team would owe him $3.2 million.

But it’s more than that. For the insurance policy to kick in again, Wright would need to miss another 60 games due to injury. Assuming Wright misses Opening Day, the Mets will have to pay Wright roughly $5 million.

If Wright doesn’t pay at all this year or the next, that $5 million would be roughly $1.25 million with insurance covering the remaining $3.75 million.

Essentially, if Wright plays, the Mets stand to lose somewhere between $6 – $7 million in money which would have been covered by insurance.

With that as a backdrop, we have heard John Ricco recently give the following quotes on Wright:

  • “It’s unrealistic to think he’d be activated any time soon.”
  • “We just haven’t seen that level of consistency of playing on quantity or quality base at this point.”
  • “Quite frankly at this point, he hasn’t been able to make some of the benchmarks that were laid out for him.”

Just when you thought things couldn’t get more absurd, Mickey Callaway offered that while Wright is medically cleared to play in the minors, he’s not medically cleared to play in the Majors.

When told of these and other comments, Wright’s response was, “The challenge has been accepted.”

Here’s the thing. Wright has risen to the challenge. He’s gone out there and played in rehab games, and he’s still standing. He’s still working hard to get back on the field even with his rehab assignment getting cut short. Although, that may be a technicality with Wright’s rehab assignment being up as of yesterday and MLB rules requiring you to sit five days before playing again.

Right now, the challenge isn’t on Wright. No, it’s on the Wilpons to do the right thing here.

Realistically speaking, this may be Wright’s last chance to play again. If we’re being honest, he’s not going to significantly improve this year or the next. Moreover, with this team being 16 games under .500, Wright has a chance to play and not ruin the Mets season.

Him being allowed to play means he gets to end his career on the field and fans can come to Citi Field to wish him good-bye and to thank him for everything.

Insurance money aside, there’s no reason to prevent this from happening, but the insurance money exists and the Wilpons are the Wilpons.

These are the same owners who readily admit the insurance proceeds are not reinvested into the team. These are the same owners who have been willing to take back lesser prospect packages to have their trading partner eat all of the salary. Overall, the Wilpons have arguably made better financial decisions while making bad baseball ones.

While it may be difficult for them to act differently, they need to do so here.

Wright has been the face of their franchise. When times were tough with Madoff, Wright stood by them, didn’t complain, and took less money to stay. With Madoff and just general penny pinching, Wright’s prime was wasted. Even with a chance at a World Series, this organization did not go all-in.

Simply put, the Wilpons owe it to Wright to give him a chance to play again. They owe it to their fans to let them see Wright play again.

Despite all that has happened, the fans and Wright have been there supporting this team. We all deserve our moment. More importantly, Wright deserves a chance to end his career on the field.

Injuries have already cost Wright his shot at Cooperstown. They have robbed him of the end of his prime and the rest of his career. Likely, they cost Wright of the chance to ever win a World Series. Hopefully, it will not be insurance money that prevents him from ever playing again.