MLB: Miami Marlins at New York Mets

David Wright deserves better than this

David Wright keeps putting his body on the line for the Mets. He’s done it since he signed in 2001, since he debuted three years later. He fought through concussions and hamstring strains and a literal broken back. But he always came home. Now, he’s fighting for one more chance.

I’ve written this article before. About how he deserves to retire on his own time and about who benefitted from his downfall. But the finish line was always if, not when. I didn’t actually think he’d come back. For a while, he couldn’t lift his infant daughter because his back hurt too badly. Why would I expect that man to make a triumphant return to the Flushing faithful? But he proved me wrong. He proved the doctors wrong. By all accounts, he proved himself wrong too.

This time, he’s not fighting his body. He’s fighting his bosses.

“The challenge has been accepted,” Wright told reporters last week. “I’m going to do everything I can to get that clearance. I’m going to do everything I can to put that big-league uniform on, because I’ve come way too far with the work to give it a ‘poor me.’”

No one has specified what, exactly, Wright is incapable of doing. He’s said his arm strength is still an issue, which is predictable, but no one will say if that’s one of John Ricco’s vague benchmarks. Mickey Callaway said there’s a difference between medical clearance for minor league and major league games — for what it’s worth, the CBA does not even mention such a distinction — but couldn’t give any details. They just keep saying that Wright isn’t ready.

What they’re not saying is that the team’s insurance claim on Wright ends if he’s activated. The Wilpons have recouped 75% of Wright’s contract since July 2016, saving them approximately $28.5 million. That will continue until Wright retires or his contract expires, whichever comes first. Unless, that is, he comes off the DL, even for a game. Then the clock resets and the insurance claim will be pushed back another 60 days from the day Wright goes back on the disabled list. Best estimates say that could cost the Wilpons about $5 million.

Is $5 million enough to keep Wright off the field?

The logical, rational answer is no. The ticket revenue and merchandise sales from a David Wright game in 2018, more than 27 months after he last took the field in a major league game, probably wouldn’t add up to $5 million, but it would come close. But it’s not about money. Or, at least, it shouldn’t be about money. Call it good PR, which the Wilpons could sorely use. I like to call it the right thing to do.

He’s probably not up to game speed. I know that and you know that and he knows that. Not because of his stats from minor league rehab games, but because he has spinal stenosis and he’s missed two years of baseball and there are days when he can’t get out of bed. No one expects him to come back and slug .550, nor does anyone need him to. Proper narrative structure dictates he homers again like the last time he returned from the DL, of course, but that’s just theatrics. Wright didn’t fight for two years to have his baseball career die over an insurance policy. If he can handle throws from third base and make contact at the plate, how can the Wilpons deprive him of that? Of one last standing ovation at Citi Field? Wright struck out looking on May 27, 2016 and then disappeared into the abyss of operating rooms and rehab centers. He never got to say goodbye. Fans never got to say goodbye. They never got to tell him how much he meant.

Mets fans deserve a chance to see Wright play. His daughters deserve a chance to see him play. He deserves a chance to play.

“Anywhere I go — St. Lucie or Vegas or even walking around New York earlier this year — the amount of support and the love that has been shown has been overwhelming,” Wright told Newsday last week.

It would be nice if his bosses showed him a little support too.

Photo credit: Adam Hunger – USA Today Sports

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6 comments on “David Wright deserves better than this”


its not 5 million…its closer to 10 million…once wright steps on the field, the insurance policy stops…and when next season begins, there is a 60 day period when insurance doesnt take effect…thats 2 months salary the mets are on the hook for in 2019

meanwhile…david has not only gotten paid for these past years,..he has had the mets pay for his rehab, his doctors…and what have the mets gotten out of all of this? not much…a few years of eric campbell and wilmer flores playing crappy defense at third, while david makes decisions…

now…all the mets are asking of david is…if you are going to try to play, at least prove to us that you are able to play at a somewhat major league level; otherwise, continue your workouts and rehab during the off season, and we will see you in february.

either that…or tell us now that you do not think you can continue anymore; and i am sure that then, the mets will gladly let david take the field one more time, even if it costs the front office $2.8 million for the month of september.

but…why should any corporation; sign a contract with a player; have the player not be able to perform to the level of the contract because of injury…ensure that the player gets paid for his contract, as well as all his rehab and medical costs…and then be expected to shell out another $10 million or so as a ‘show of good faith and PR”? …Kate, ask BP if they would be willing to pay for you if you could not write anymore; and, then ask if they will let you write one more article for them, relatively incoherent, and for that article, they will pay you handsomely…yeah, sure…all corporations will do that…right…kate, you need to stop spending other companies money for them. If david wants to continue his rehab, and make the effort to regain his talents, the insurance company will gladly cooperate . But if david isnt ready to play yet..and its been nearly 3 years…then when does the fan base start to ask if he is only doing this for the remaining $27 million owed to him?


I’m a die-hard Met fan and big D-Wright fan but it’s too much to ask of the Mets to bring him back for games that don’t matter at the price were talking about. Reyes displacing young players getting ML at bats is bad enough, don’t add D-Wright eating millions of dollars for a farewell game. I’d like to see him acknowledge he needs more time to build himself up and come back at spring training to show his body can handle the rigors of baseball again. If it can and he can be productive then let him be a member of the 2019 team, if not then have a farewell celebration prior to a game and allow him to get the fan affection he deserves. It is appropriate to separate baseball operations from respect and gratitude. Like everything else in life, the show must go on, and professional sports are unforgiving in this regard. I tip my cap to D-Wright’s work ethic and leadership but business is business so the Mets need to keep moving forward. If David can be a part of the 2019 Mets that’s great. If not then the game moves on.

William Kelley

If Wright thinks he can play and is physically ok, money should not be an issue. Knowing Wright he will be an asset to this team. Money is no consideration. If it is, then the Mets are making a major error in judgement

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