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Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Rosenthal: Mets take risks with contract stalemates

The standoff between the New York Mets and third baseman David Wright continues. And for the team, the risk is only becoming greater.

The Mets offered Wright a six-year, $100 million contract extension on Monday, according to major-league sources.

It is an offer that Wright is certain to refuse.

Wright, who is under contract for $16 million in 2013, prefers a deal of seven years or longer, sources say.

The Mets’ proposal offered Wright only a slight raise, and matched the terms of the Ryan Zimmerman and Evan Longoria extensions, the latter of which was announced on Monday.

Wright, who turns 30 on Dec. 20, is older than Zimmerman, 28, and Longoria, 27, but perhaps the safest long-term bet.

Longoria is the best offensive player according to OPS-plus, a statistic that adjusts a hitter’s OPS to his league and ballpark. But he has appeared in more than 133 games in only two of his five seasons.

Wright’s career OPS-plus is nearly as good as Longoria’s, and he has averaged 149 games in his eight full seasons. Zimmerman’s career OPS-plus is the lowest of the three, and he has not been as durable as Wright.

Thanks to Daz.

Repoz Posted: November 27, 2012 at 06:40 AM | 34 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: mets

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   1. JJ1986 Posted: November 27, 2012 at 02:27 PM (#4310703)
Zimermann's contract is: 14-14-14-14-14-18-18(or 2 buyout). That's 6 years/$90 million.
   2. Jack Carter, calling Beleaguered Castle Posted: November 28, 2012 at 06:27 AM (#4311188)
Wish I had the link, but I think SI just reported the Mets offering 7 years at $135-140m.

6/100 seems similar to the team's lowballing Reyes. They never looked serious then, they don't look serious now.

FTFA:

"The team, with its latest proposal to Wright, is taking a more aggressive approach than it did last off-season with shortstop Jose Reyes, who said that he never received an offer from the club after signing a free-agent contract with the Miami Marlins."

Well, sure. After he signed with the Marlins, why would the Mets make an offer?

edit: it's at http://tracking.si.com/2012/11/27/reports-mets-offer-david-wright-seven-year-deal-worth-119-140-million/

There's a tweet therein from Rosenthal saying he's updated this report.
   3. AJMcCringleberry Posted: November 28, 2012 at 07:25 AM (#4311192)
Mets offering 7 years at $135-140m.

Please be true.
   4. Jack Carter, calling Beleaguered Castle Posted: November 28, 2012 at 07:43 AM (#4311196)
According to Jon Heyman,

Mets offering Wright eight years and at least $135M

That 135m includes exercising the team's 16m option for 2013, so it's more like 7/119 for 2014-2020.

I'm hopeless at guessing whether offers are market value, but given how GMs overvalue a player's most recent season when it's a very good one, this strikes me as an okay offer but on the low side, one that the Mets will have to sweeten a little in order to close. OTOH, Wright seems like the kind of guy who'd leave a couple million on the table in order to get something done...
   5. formerly dp Posted: November 28, 2012 at 08:48 AM (#4311202)
How many years before this deal looks like a gigantic mistake? The Mets got Wright on the cheap for his good years. They're not going anywhere in 2013 or 2014 without a huge influx of talent. In 2015, Wright will be 32. He's not a guy I can see aging well, especially with concerns about his defense and health. The Mets had Reyes and Wright--two of the best players the franchise has ever produced-- dirt cheap, and failed to win. That sucks. But it's not a reason to overpay for the bad years of Wright's career.

SO, you seem surprisingly positive on this.
   6. Arbitol Dijaler Posted: November 28, 2012 at 08:54 AM (#4311204)
For me, I don't expect Wright to be worth this contract in terms of $/war, but there's value as a fan to retaining -- finally, for pete's sake -- our home-grown star throughout his career. Does any Mets fan expect to win again ever anyway?
   7. formerly dp Posted: November 28, 2012 at 08:57 AM (#4311205)
Does any Mets fan expect to win again ever anyway?
That's a fair point.
   8. Lassus Posted: November 28, 2012 at 09:08 AM (#4311211)
Does any Mets fan expect to win again ever anyway?

You rang?

(Well, I did until they non-tendered Pelf. DOOMED. Doomed, I tell you! That was seriously one of the most exciting nearly-half of a season of pitching I've ever watched. Ah well.)
   9. formerly dp Posted: November 28, 2012 at 09:13 AM (#4311214)
until they non-tendered Pelf
I totally missed this. Thought there was talk of him coming back?
   10. Jack Carter, calling Beleaguered Castle Posted: November 28, 2012 at 09:16 AM (#4311216)
Does any Mets fan expect to win again ever anyway?
Hell, no.

But, it's not my money, and I prefer Wright on the team over whatever inevitably worse, likely misbegotten scheme the Wilpons are going to come up with in his absence.

@9: could be. They're open to re-signing him, they just didn't want to tenderize him.

   11. Lassus Posted: November 28, 2012 at 09:19 AM (#4311218)
I totally missed this.

I was going to post a thread mostly for comedy purposes but hadn't gotten around to it yet.
   12. JJ1986 Posted: November 28, 2012 at 09:27 AM (#4311221)
They might very well re-sign Pelfrey; they just don't want to pay him an awarded salary.
   13. billyshears Posted: November 28, 2012 at 09:34 AM (#4311227)
I'm generally with #5. I think they should trade Wright. But if the the Mets are going to give Wright an additional 7 years on top of the one year they are already committed to him, those last 2 years are basically charity. Instead of thinking of this as a deal with a $17 mil AAV, we have to think of it as a deal where the Mets are paying Wright a lot of money to play baseball at a time when he will likely be worthless. If this was a 5yr/$120 mil extension, the AAV would look a lot better to Wright and from a PR perspective and it would still effectively take Wright to the end of his career. I think the Mets are being more than fair if the reported offers are accurate.
   14. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: November 28, 2012 at 09:37 AM (#4311230)
8/135 is definitely on the high side for Wright, but I can see the case that the Mets have to pay a premium to keep him coming off a big year for him and a bad year for the Mets.

Dumber-than-Marcel projection for Wright:

+20 Bat - 0 Run + 18 Rep + 2 Pos + 0 Def = +40 RAR

Given a normal decline phase and a projected win value of about $5.5M, that projects to a contract in the 6/100 or 8/115 range. Adding $20M on the back of that is an overpay, but it's not a horrific one. Wright is indeed really good, and it's at least conceivable that he's put his recent struggles behind him and projects as a 5-6 win MVP candidate rather than a 4-win star.
   15. Conor Posted: November 28, 2012 at 09:39 AM (#4311232)
Does Wright have health concerns? He's been an extremely durable player; he missed 2 months with the back injury in 2011, and he went on the DL in 2009 for the beaning, but still played 144 games. In his other six seasons he's played 154 games or more. It doesn't seem like the back injury is the kind of back injury that will flare up again (am I wrong on this? I don't know this for sure). It's not like Reyes, a guy who had missed time over multiple seasons from the same kind of injury.

If the Mets are going to be able to spend like a team in their position should be able to, then paying Wright $20 million a year for the next 8 years shouldn't be that big a problem even as he ages. If they're stuck with a $100-110 million payroll for the foreseeable future, it's a different story.
   16. AJMcCringleberry Posted: November 28, 2012 at 09:53 AM (#4311241)
A couple of things...the Mets have pretty much no money committed after 2013 and a bunch of pre-FA starters. So overpaying for Wright shouldn't cause too much harm.

they non-tendered Pelf

Awesome. I hope they don't go and re-sign him now.
   17. formerly dp Posted: November 28, 2012 at 11:32 AM (#4311317)
Adding $20M on the back of that is an overpay, but it's not a horrific one. Wright is indeed really good, and it's at least conceivable that he's put his recent struggles behind him and projects as a 5-6 win MVP candidate rather than a 4-win star.
My concern is more tied to fears about how quickly Wright will decline, especially WRT his defense. I agree with the way you're evaluating the end of the contract, so that puts a lot of emphasis on 1) what he does in the first couple of years, and 2) how useful his performance in those years will be to the Mets. Maybe it's just that their 2012 performance was so bad that I've finally succumbed to Met Fan Pessimism, but I'm really having a hard time envisioning a scenario where they're good in 2014. So really, 2015 is the first year Wright's performance has a chance of pushing them toward contention. Wildly optimistic: Harvey is for real, Niese is a legit #2, Cy Young Dickey continues to trounce the league, Wheeler steps forward, and Gee continues to be one of the league's best #5 starters. Flores can hack second base, and starts having Young Carlos Baerga seasons, Wright plays like he did in 2012, and June-October Ike Davis is for real*. There's still the problem of not having a catcher, OF or bullpen. Maybe Mejia or Familia take huge steps in that role, but I don't think that's something to bank on.

I have no idea what they could get back for him, so I don't know if a trade is the best idea. But my suspicion is they're closer to being a contender by moving Wright than by holding him. I'll be happy if they bring him back, because he's the type of player who is fun to root for.

*I'm going to leave the drooling enthusiasm for Tejada to Lassus, but I'll sign on to whatever he wishcasts.
==
It doesn't seem like the back injury is the kind of back injury that will flare up again (am I wrong on this? I don't know this for sure).
I have no idea, it just seemed so traumatic that it's got to be a long-term concern. But non-Met medicals staffs would know better.
   18. billyshears Posted: November 28, 2012 at 12:27 PM (#4311393)
I agree with almost everything in #17. One thing I'd like to add is that Wright really confuses me as a player. He seems to have been living on a razor's edge the past few years. Skills apparently come and go from year-to-year, or even month-to-month, with no rhyme or reason. Perhaps I am being to hard on him as last year looked an awful lot like his prime 2005 - 2008 years, but from 2009 - 2011, I don't think anybody had a good idea as to what David Wright was as a player. It's kind of scary to give a huge long term contract to a guy like that.
   19. zack Posted: November 28, 2012 at 12:35 PM (#4311403)
It's kind of scary to give a huge long term contract to a guy like that.


All long-term contracts are scary, and the Mets don't have anyone else to give them to. I don't know what i'd do as the Mets GM, but as a Mets fan, sign him up.

The biggest position player need is OF, here are the OF you might possibly consider giving long-term deals this winter:

OF: Bourn, Pagan, Swisher, BJ Upton

Do any of those feel like safer bets, even at fewer dollars?

The Mets commitments in 2015 and beyond consist literally of one player: Jon Niese. Spending-for-spending's sake is never a great idea, but they need to spend money somewhere, and I'd rather give it to Wright then the dregs of the likely FA classes of the next couple years.
   20. formerly dp Posted: November 28, 2012 at 12:36 PM (#4311406)
Perhaps I am being to hard on him as last year looked an awful lot like his prime 2005 - 2008 years, but from 2009 - 2011, I don't think anybody had a good idea as to what David Wright was as a player. It's kind of scary to give a huge long term contract to a guy like that.
Pretty much this. If it weren't for 2009-2011, I would have no questions about signing him and expecting him to perform at a relatively consistent level into his 30s (of course, if it weren't for 2009-2011, Wright probably costs $25 M/year or more).
   21. zack Posted: November 28, 2012 at 12:51 PM (#4311421)
Browsing through other teams' commitments I guess that's not all that unusual, although most non-Miami, non-Oakland teams have at least one player locked up long term.
   22. Conor Posted: November 28, 2012 at 12:54 PM (#4311429)
Wright is kind of a weird guy because his performance has been so up and down the last few years. But if we're using the $5 million a win figure I've seen bandied about the last few days, then he'd need to be worth about 3.4 WAR a year to be worth it. Using fWAR, even in 2009 and 2010 he was worth 3.5 and 4.0 WAR. 2011 he wasn't, but he was hurt.

I see baseball reference doesn't like him as much, as they have the 2009-10 period worth a little less than 3 WAR. Wright really cut the K rate last year back to pre 2009 levels. I may be being a fanboy but I can see him being a 5-6 WAR player for the next 2-3 years.
   23. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: November 28, 2012 at 12:54 PM (#4311430)
For me, I don't expect Wright to be worth this contract in terms of $/war, but there's value as a fan to retaining -- finally, for pete's sake -- our home-grown star throughout his career. Does any Mets fan expect to win again ever anyway?

Not a Met fan, but agree 100%.

If the Mets ever want to play with the big boys again, you keep Wright.
   24. HowardMegdal Posted: November 28, 2012 at 01:10 PM (#4311449)
If the Mets are back to their expected place in terms of revenue by 2018-2020, Wright's deal won't matter. If the Mets are not, Wright's deal won't matter.
   25. formerly dp Posted: November 28, 2012 at 01:13 PM (#4311451)
Do any of those feel like safer bets, even at fewer dollars?
I don't think spending real money on someone to make the team better for 2013 or 2014 is a good idea. After 2013, you can start building for 2015, and think about some big deal. Because the next two years don't really matter, they don't have to start paying for guys who are quite likely to grab bigger contracts than they deserve this winter.

In my mind, the question is this: would I give $20M a year to Wright going into the 2015 season, when he'll be 32? Or could the team be improved in other ways, using both the prospects a Wright deal would net, and the extra payroll flexibility down the line?
   26. greenback calls it soccer Posted: November 28, 2012 at 01:23 PM (#4311460)
I understand the Mets aren't the Yankees and the Wilpons aren't the Steinbrenners, but a baseball team in New York shouldn't be thinking of payroll flexibility unless they're about to hit MLB's various flavors of a payroll cap. I also recognize they need a McClellan as much as they need a Grant, but sitting around waiting for the "cycle" again seems silly for a New York franchise.
   27. Conor Posted: November 28, 2012 at 01:31 PM (#4311473)
In my mind, the question is this: would I give $20M a year to Wright going into the 2015 season, when he'll be 32? Or could the team be improved in other ways, using both the prospects a Wright deal would net, and the extra payroll flexibility down the line?


I'm not sure how much the payroll flexibility is going to help. If in 2015 than the Mets are back to being able to spend what a team in their situation should, they're going to have the capacity for a payroll around like $170 million. You can only spend that money in so many ways and the FA market is probably not going to be flooded with a lot of great players, so it's entirely possible you can't spend the money in any better way. Every off-season is different, but what could you spend that money on this off-season that would be better than Wright? (I guess this one could be answered better when we see what players get, but I bet Nick Swisher gets somewhere close to the AAV discussed in the Wright deal).

The prospects they could get for Wright are a different story.

Also, not that it is a huge deal, but I mistakenly referred to $20 million per year earlier. From what has been talked about, the AAV will be around $17 million or so, not $20 million. Not a huge difference, but worth nothing. I could easily see Wright being worth of a $17 million a year contract going into the 2015 season the way salaries are going.
   28. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: November 28, 2012 at 01:33 PM (#4311475)
I don't think spending real money on someone to make the team better for 2013 or 2014 is a good idea. After 2013, you can start building for 2015, and think about some big deal. Because the next two years don't really matter, they don't have to start paying for guys who are quite likely to grab bigger contracts than they deserve this winter.

In my mind, the question is this: would I give $20M a year to Wright going into the 2015 season, when he'll be 32? Or could the team be improved in other ways, using both the prospects a Wright deal would net, and the extra payroll flexibility down the line?


The problem is, if they continue to suck, and hemorrhage fans, and baseball revenue continues to explode, there may not be any really good players who'll come to Flushing for $20M per.
   29. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: November 28, 2012 at 01:35 PM (#4311478)
I could easily see Wright being worth of a $17 million a year contract going into the 2015 season the way salaries are going.

Concur, with the extra revenue coming in 2014, and no way to spend it on amateurs, that may only buy 2-2.5 WAR in the FA market.
   30. formerly dp Posted: November 28, 2012 at 01:55 PM (#4311510)
Those are all excellent points. I guess it really comes down to the sort of prospects they could get coming back for him. Part of me is also still bummed that a team that should not have to make these sorts of calls ended up having to pick one of Reyes or Wright to keep.
   31. Jack Carter, calling Beleaguered Castle Posted: November 28, 2012 at 11:31 PM (#4312047)
If the Mets are back to their expected place in terms of revenue by 2018-2020, Wright's deal won't matter. If the Mets are not, Wright's deal won't matter.


Sure, but if they're somewhere in the great middle of that, Wright's deal will matter.

Perhaps I am being to hard on him as last year looked an awful lot like his prime 2005 - 2008 years, but from 2009 - 2011, I don't think anybody had a good idea as to what David Wright was as a player.
Didn't most everybody pretty much figure Wright was done as any kind of elite player? The goofy rise in strikeouts, the depressing pattern of 144, 157, and 102 games played, the sudden drop by some measures in defensive value, to around -10 a year... there was even talk of not picking up the option on him for 2011. I don't think anyone was salivating over having him back, or even particularly happy about it.

While I think his 2012 was something of a fluke, Wright's one of the few guys headed for FA who could be worth significantly more than what he'll be paid in a seven year deal. A lot of those signings are on the order of, 'if everything goes well, the player earns his salary'. I can see Wright turning in three five win seasons, and several three win seasons. The timing is also good, in that it looks like tv money is going to give us another round of salary inflation.

In any case, as long as the Wilpons own the team, it's probably irrelevant whether the Mets get whatever small bump they'd get from cashing Wright in for a couple of good prospects. If the money isn't going to be there (or even if it is), there's literally no hope that the Wilpons are going to find the right GM after Alderson leaves. Hell, Jeff Wilpon wouldn't even leave Alderson alone, hence last years offseason punt with the magic bulk reliever hires.

.
   32. PreservedFish Posted: November 29, 2012 at 12:08 AM (#4312065)
I agree with everything about everything. Wright's ups and downs have been bewildering and I have no idea what to expect from him. But, the Mets have no money committed in the future and the idea that they can't keep homegrown stars is pathetic. I hope they sign him.
   33. Jack Carter, calling Beleaguered Castle Posted: November 29, 2012 at 12:38 AM (#4312079)
@32: one real positive is, that despite how shocking his drop off felt in 2009, Wright's never actually had a bad year. He's never been close to replacement level, even when badly hurt. In 2009 he played 144 games at 3B with an OPS+ of 124. I don't have the means to look it up at the moment, but I'm sure he was still one of the best 3Bmen in the NL that year. 2011 was easily his worst year, but his OPS+ was still 115, and fangraphs has him at 2 wins in only 102 games played.

I'm very, very leery of long term deals to players coming off one great year in the past four, and I'm under no illusions that Wright is back to the player he was at his HOF peak, but as snapper implies in post 29, even at an average of 3 wins a year--and Wright was worth 7 or 8 wins in 2012--the deal could easily be a solid one at 17m per season.

In any case, Cameron at fangraphs has a useful look at the Mets' offer.

edit: I've poked around a little but can't find a good comparable--a player who had a HOF career going in his early 20s, took three years off in above average player land, then had another year indistiguishable from his best years. Is it possible Wright was hurt for much of 2009-2011, and only really healed after taking an extra two months off in 2011? It seems unlikely, but so does his 2012 season...
   34. Jack Carter, calling Beleaguered Castle Posted: November 30, 2012 at 05:32 AM (#4313135)
Fangraphs:

According to Ed Coleman of WFAN 660, the Mets have signed third baseman David Wright to a seven-year, $122 million contract extension, the biggest in franchise history. The contract makes Wright a Met until 2020 — and quite possibly a Met for life.


Yippee!!

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