Although we're not even two weeks in, the 2012 season has already been a mixed bag for New York Mets third sacker David Wright. On the one hand, Wright is thus far hitting a patently ridiculous .583/.647/.833. On the remaining hand, he's presently sidelined with a pinky injury.
While it's possible Wright will return to the lineup on Friday, his long-term future in Queens is less certain. Wright will make $15 million this season, but then comes a decision. The Mets hold a $16 million option on his services for 2013 with a $1 million buyout. They'll almost certainly exercise that option, but what then? Does Wright become a free agent before the 2014 season, or does the Met lifer remain the face of the franchise for years to come?
A great deal, of course, depends on how the 2012 season plays out, but the Mets are hoping Wright makes the decision easy for them. As Andy Martino of the New York Daily News reports, much will hinge on Wright's ability to stay healthy.
Besides his current malady, Wright has been on the disabled list twice in his career and has lost a total of 75 games to injury. While those aren't Ripken-ian levels of durability, Wright hasn't been outrageously injury-prone over his career. The real concern, albeit unspoken at this point, may be whether Wright can once again approach his pre-2009 levels of production, at least until his decline phase takes full hold. To this end, the new CitiField dimensions could be a boon, at least on a superficial level.
On another level, locking up a popular player like Wright could be a nice "brand-building" move by the Mets, who have been laid low recently by the Bernie Madoff scandal, the free-agent departure of Jose Reyes and back-to-back-to-back losing seasons.
Price tag? As mentioned, how 2012 plays out will go a long way toward determining what Wright can command. For third basemen, Ryan Zimmerman's new eight-year, $126 million contract is the gold standard, but Wright's unlikely to get that. He's roughly two years older than Zimmerman, and it's possible he won't sign a new contract until he's 30. However, if Wright has a big year and stays healthy, something like $100 million over six years isn't out of the question.
GM Sandy Alderson and the Mets, meanwhile, are tasked with deciding whether he's worth it.