The Mets are doing their best to limit information from escaping about ongoing negotiations. But I have spoken to more than 10 officials outside the organization in the past few days and every one of them thinks the Mets will end up extending Wright — and sooner rather than later because it will give them a base from which to move forward both this offseason and into the future.
The consensus among the executives spoken to is that Mets ownership sees this — at least partially — as a public-relations signing as much as a baseball one. As one NL official said, “If they can’t sign their best player after letting Jose Reyes go, what are they telling their fans? They might be damning themselves to bad crowds and bad press for quite a while.”
In canvassing the officials, the terms that came up most often was about seven years at $127 million. Wright’s buddy, Washington’s Ryan Zimmerman, received a six-year, $100 million extension last spring that when combined with the two remaining seasons left on his old contract was worth $126 million over eight seasons. Thus, Wright would top Zimmerman both in total worth of contract and also average annual value, which would make him second ever among third basemen in both categories to the 10-year, $275 million extension Rodriguez signed with the Yankees.
Also, Wright is due $16 million on a 2013 option. The Mets have until five days after the World Series to trigger that option. If they can finalize the extension before then and add the option, under this scenario, Wright’s total future package would be worth $143 million over eight seasons.
Why is that important? Because it would make Wright the highest-paid Met in history in total package, topping the $137.5 million that Johan Santana received.
The officials said they thought topping Zimmerman and Santana would be benchmarks important to Wright and his representatives.
“This would be a pretty good deal for both parties,” another NL executive said of the suggested deal. “He is still a very good player and when you look at his age [30 in December] and position, there is a little less risk than most guys entering their 30s.
Of course, this all falls into the educated speculation department. Perhaps the Mets still are reeling enough financially that they do not even want to go this far and will pick up the option and trade Wright. Perhaps Wright — as the face of the franchise — feels he should get closer to 10 years and push the $20 million per-year boundary. Wright, though, has said his quest is to stay a Met for his entire career, while the Mets have said they would stretch at least a little bit financially to retain him.