In a lost season for the New York Mets, team leader David Wright could finally see action. ESPN reported last night that Wright began a rehab assignment with Class A St. Lucie as he continues to work his way back from offseason neck surgery.
Wright’s rehab assignment will sadly be pointless in the long run. On top of a very rusty Wright going 0-for-4 yesterday, striking out twice and reaching on an error, his age and injury history (plus his inflated price tag) mean he will never be the player he once was.
It would be better for Mets GM Sandy Alderson to negotiate a buyout rather than continue to pay Wright what he’s owed and risk clogging the payroll.
Wright the great
The saddest part of Wright not having yet played this season is that it is just another reminder of how great a player he used to be. He debuted to great fanfare in 2004 at age 21 and immediately became a staple of the Mets lineup. He had a great glove at third base to go with excellent plate discipline, hitting for strong power and average.
Fans regularly chanted “MVP! MVP!” during New York’s strong contending years in 2006 and 2007 and a Hall of Fame career seemed inevitable. David Wright defined the New York Mets and once he had some strong talent to compliment him, regular championship contention seemed all but certain.
Wright the injured
Everything changed for Wright once the Mets moved to Citi Field from Shea Stadium in 2009. The ballpark’s bigger dimensions made hitting home runs much harder, though he slugged 29 in 2010 and 21 in 2012.
He hit the disabled list for the first time in his career in 2009 after suffering a concussion courtesy of a 93 mile per hour fastball to the head. A stress reaction in his lower back limited him to 102 games in 2011, and hamstring and shoulder issues kept him on the shelf in 2013 and 2014.
It only went downhill from there as Wright was diagnosed with spinal stenosis in 2015 and only played in 38 games though he made it back for the playoffs as the Mets made it to the World Series. The herniated disc in his neck he is now rehabbing limited him to 37 games last year.
Wright is still not guaranteed to return this season and his future is cloudy. It’s sad, not only for Wright since injuries robbed him of what could have been an incredible career but also for Mets management.
Wright received a seven-year, $138 million extension prior to the 2013 season and is making $20 million this season even though he hasn’t played in a major league game. He has $47 million remaining on the deal and will be 35 before the start of the 2018 campaign.
That said, a buyout is all but inevitable for Wright unless he comes back from his current ailment and is his old self again. Spinal stenosis is the same condition that ended Lenny Dykstra’s career and is not something to take lightly, so better for New York to cut its losses right now and negotiate an easy exit for Wright.
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