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The Sad Truth: David Wright Is Worth More To The Mets On The DL

For a good many years when the Mets had nothing, they did have Captain America as the face of their team. That was then; this is now. And if the Mets accomplish anything this season, it will be to keep their team captain on the DL for the entire season.

 As with all things tied to the finances of baseball these days, insurance policies taken out on players are a complicated matter. We know precious little about these actuarial designs because they seldom arise to become the point of our attention. One exception though is the developing saga between the New York Mets and David Wright.

If you can recall the last time Wright held a bat in his hands wearing the blue and orange, your mind beats mine. Presently, there is little but wishful thinking that Wright will be able to overcome a series of injuries he has suffered this season, or ever, that would enable him to return as the third baseman for the New York Mets on a regular basis.

Let’s take a moment to get educated first about the current dilemma facing the Mets and Wright. Adam Levin, writing for SNY.com, sheds some light here:

 “If Wright never appears in the majors again, the Mets would be reimbursed for $15 million of the $20 million owed to him this season. They then would recoup $35.25 million of Wright’s $47 million salaries from 2018 to 2020.

Of course, the insurance policy has a 60-day deductible period. So if Wright does reach the majors and heads back to the DL, the deductible clock starts again and the Mets would be on the hook for 100 percent of his salary during the next 60 days. Therefore, an emotional but fleeting return for the captain to the Mets would be incredibly costly for the organization.”

The keyword in Levin’s analysis is “emotional.” Because at this point in David Wright’s career, sad to say, that is all that is left. And maybe the word pride should be added in as well. More on that later.

David Wright, New York Mets

But first, let’s look at some superb reporting by Abbey Mastracco, writing for NJ.com, adds this when she reported some telling comments made by Mets Chief Operating Officer, Jeff Wilpon:

COO Jeff Wilpon finally confirmed the insurance policy that was taken out on Wright’s contract that allows the Mets’ to recoup 75 percent of his pay providing he misses 60 or more games. Abbey Mastracco

Wilpon goes on to elaborate, though, and things begin to get somewhat murky:

“We still pay a big portion of it, OK?” Wilpon said. “When you’re talking about $20 million, and we’re still paying 25 percent, that’s a big number… We don’t look at it that way. It’s in the budget that his contract is what it is and there’s a new deductible period that will start, and you only get 75 percent — it’s not just 75 percent as a total — and then there are costs against that. We had to pay for the policy, which is not cheap. Abbey Mastracco

Which leaves us with this, which is perhaps the crux of the matter. The Mets have two choices: They can release Wright, fighting it out with the insurance company in the courts, where only the attorneys involved will “win” in the long run. Or they can hope that David Wright will do the “right” thing by never playing in a major league game for the New York Mets again.

The word emotion came up before, and this is where it becomes paramount to all. David Wright is a professional athlete who has competed at the highest levels of the sport he has chosen. His body has deserted him, but he may not see it that way. And it has been, and still is, a matter of pride from where he sits to prove, if only to himself, that he can still “do it”.

Here’s the man himself ready to do battle with himself, refusing to test reality.

If he chooses to attend Spring Training, he will become an instant distraction to the team as reporters will flock to him in an attempt to “get the latest” on how he sees the upcoming season. Wright, much like Derek Jeter, who had this unique but very effective relationship with the media, will get a pass. And stories will fly with optimism that maybe, just maybe, Captain America will overcome all odds and return to the playing field this year.

All pride and all emotion, but no baseball or financial sense.

One at-bat, just one, puts the Mets back at square one on the deductable clock when it comes to their responsibility for Wright’s salary this season. Sad to say, and I guess I’ll be the one to say it. David Wright’s contract with the Mets, signed in 2012, totals $138 million. This should be enough money for the Wright family to live on for several future generations.

Let it be, David. Take a back seat. You’ll always be loved for what you’ve done for this organization and the city of New York. Let it be. Lest you’ll risk everything (including your health) and remembered as one of the most selfish players to ever have played in New York.

And lest anyone thinks this is picking on David time, there’s another player just across the Triboro Bridge who ranks much higher on my list of selfish players in New York.

Yankees: Why can’t Jacoby Ellsbury just give it up and leave?

 

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