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Big League Stew

Money is right for David Wright, but are Mets right for him?

David Brown
Big League Stew

"Regrets ... I've had a few ..." — Frank Sinatra, famous New Yorker (via New Jersey)

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This is the way David Wright wanted it.

All along, Wright said he wanted to stay with the New York Mets and not turn to free agency next winter. Well, the money turned out to be right for Wright, as Yahoo! Sports' own Jeff Passan and others have reported. He signed a seven-year, $122 million contract extension Friday morning that will take him to age 37. Figuring in the final season of Wright's existing deal, the contract is worth $138 million, or $500,000 more than the Mets' next-highest paid player, left-hander Johan Santana. Much of the contract might be backloaded, and some of the payments likely will be deferred, but the extension still averages $17.4 million a season. That's something like one of the top 50 contracts in major-league history, according to Cot's Contracts. Wright will get what's fair. As far as money goes.

But cash alone cannot buy happiness. The Mets are still one big question mark going forward.

[Related: Mets made re-signing David Wright a priority this offseason]

They have the right guy in Sandy Alderson running the baseball operations, but the Wilpon family owners have barely hung on to power in the wake of the Bernie Madoff scandal. As reporter Jay Jaffe of Sports Illustrated points out, Alderson had to cut payroll from $142.8 million to $94.5. in 2012. And it's not like the Mets have been players in the free-agent market this offseason to improve their sickly offense. Right now, they're like a mid-major market team inside of a Big Apple. Wright was the big spending project. Maybe knuckleballer R.A. Dickey will get a short extension, too. And while the Mets do have strong starting pitching, who knows how long the likes of Santana and Dickey will be at their best, or even there at all?

The Wilpons had to borrow money and sell off shares of the team in order to keep solvent. Unless they start running a ponzi scheme of their own, what can guarantee they won't struggle making payroll in the future? Alderson better have a perfect drafting record and some plucky trading tactics, because the Mets probably won't be able to spend "Carl Crawford money" on reinforcements to help Wright. Of course, using the draft to build takes time, and Wright is about to turn 30. Zack Wheeler better reach his prime pretty quickly.

So, in two or three years, is Wright going to be begging to be traded to a World Series contender because the Mets still seem hopeless? It's not the worst thing in the world if it happens, but it's also not what Wright wanted. He might have been better off telling the Mets this offseason "thanks for the memories, but I want to win." It could have saved him a lot of hassle and heartbreak someday.

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