Following intense financial negotiations between the Mets and David Wright, the longtime face of the franchise will be activated on September 25 as another bat off the bench. On September 29, the final Mets home game, Wright will start and play third base. A retirement announcement is expected, but Wright is playing that close to his vest.
The long and frustrating saga of David Wright is finally drawing to a close. With high stakes money in play, Mets fans were never sure the Wilpons would do the right thing with Wright by allowing him to suit up in a Mets uniform with $2 million in insurance money on the table.
Here’s how it looked at Citi Field earlier this afternoon when an emotional David Wright expressed his gratitude for the opportunity being given to him (Video):
David Wright cannot play baseball at the major league level anymore. To say otherwise negates what common sense should tell everyone. Wright worked like a dog for a year and a half in a vain attempt to defy the odds and refusing to believe what his fragile body was telling him. It was over even before the last rehab began, and no one probably knew it better than David Wright.
Come to find out though; Wright was carrying a personal goal that has little to do with playing baseball again. You see David Wright has a daughter who has never seen him play a game in the major leagues. That will be fixed on September 29 when Olivia Shea Wright gets to see her Daddy play in what will probably be his final game for the New York Mets.
I say probably because David Wright is not talking about retirement. At least not yet, and probably not before the 2018 season is over. Which is fine, but one can only hope that David Wright has seen the video of Willie Mays stumbling around in the Mets outfield long after his Hall of Fame skills had evaporated.
No Mets fan should wish for that. Especially given what Wright has meant (and will continue to mean) to the Mets franchise. There is, however, the matter of $27 million owed to Wright by the Mets over the next two seasons. In theory, Wright could remain unretired over that period, and the Mets could seek their standard 75 percent rebate from insurance monies due to them.
But rest assured, insurance companies don’t give money away. For the Mets to collect, they would need to continue to show Wright is disabled and cannot play…AND…they would need to demonstrate that Wright is continuing on a rehab program designed for his eventual removal from the DL, and making his way back into the Mets lineup.
The fundamental question then is, does David Wright want to commit himself to the torture and dedication that another rehab would require? And if she could, how would Olivia answer that question?
According to Baseball Reference, David Wright has earned $165,446,500 over the length of his major league career, and that doesn’t count the $27 million still on the books. Anyone who has a sense of David Wright, the person, can easily hazard a guess that he has 90% of that money invested and working for him and his family for generations to come. Easy to say of course, but what’s another $27 million if you are David Wright?
Seeing it as precedent, the Player’s Association will scream and holler if he leaves a dime on the table. But that’s their problem, and they’ll get over it if that’s how this plays out.
The tightwad Wilpons could also step up and ease the pain on all sides if Wright wants to retire. Split the difference and call it even? Donate the money to charities allowing Little League teams in the area to buy bats, ball, and gloves for the kids? Or, how about finding a tract of land close to Citi Field and build practice fields for the David Wright Baseball Summer Camp, open to all kids under 12 in New York City? $27 million can go a long way.
But for now, at least, Mets fans and fans of all of baseball can rejoice in the moments that will arrive in a couple of weeks when David Wright will return as an active player with the New York Mets. David Wright “got it” from the moment he stepped on a major league field. And he deserves the spirited cheers and maybe a few tears that are awaiting him come September 29.