Today is also the first official day of spring training, when New York Mets pitchers and catchers report and those who were already in Port St. Lucie can move over from the minor league fields to the main ones. It’s a time for looking forward to the return of warm weather and fun evenings and afternoons spent at the ballpark.
Of course, it can’t be all about fun and games. In his Sunday column for the New York Post, Joel Sherman suggests that the Mets should consider trading David Wright and/or Ike Davis to “deepen the[ir] young talent base.” As justification, Sherman cites a belief by unnamed Mets officials that Lucas Duda’s best position is first base worry that Davis will have difficulty hitting lefties consistently, while Daniel Murphy is best suited to play third base.
Mets GM Sandy Alderson addressed the media when he arrived in Port St. Lucie, and answered a question specifically about Wright.
“There are certain decisions one takes that are a function of where a team is at a particular time,” Alderson said, as reported by Andrew Keh in the New York Times. “But if there’s anybody on the team whose performance and future is independent of the club’s performance, I think it is David.”
While that hardly sounds like a guarantee that Wright will have the chance to finish his career in a Mets uniform, I do believe he will still be a Met at the end of the 2012 season.
Wright’s contract includes a team option for 2013, but it only applies if he remains with the Mets. So any team that acquired him via trade would be getting a half-season rental. And under baseball’s new labor agreement, teams that trade for players during the season no long receive draft pick compensation if that player leaves as a free agent at the end of the year. What are the odds that Alderson could get a big enough return to justify trading his last star player under those circumstances?
Beyond that, my crystal ball is murky. So much depends on Wright’s 2012 season, how many fans come to the ballpark, the outcome of the court case against the Mets’ owners, the development of the Mets’ minor league prospects and whether the other teams in the National League East have really improved as much as they appeared to on paper.
But my gut feeling is that Wright will not be traded. If he leaves, it will be by his own choice at the end of 2013.
For all that Wright has said about loving New York and the Mets’ organization, if he sees a club that is not poised to be a playoff contender in 2014, I think he’d have to consider signing with another organization. I can’t believe that a competitor like Wright wouldn’t seek a chance to win a World Series before his career is over.
What do you think? Will David Wright play for the New York Mets for his entire career? Will he be traded at some point during the next two years? Or will he end up leaving as a free agent?
In other Sunday news, former Mets outfielder Mike Cameron informed the Washington Nationals that he was retiring. Cameron had signed a minor league contract and was expected to share the Nationals’ center field job with Rick Ankiel or Roger Bernadina until uber-prospect Bryce Harper is ready for the majors (when Jayson Werth would shift from right field to center.)
Cameron was never the most talented hitter, but I loved watching him play center field in 2004. I wish him the best in whatever he plans to do now that his playing career is over.