David Wright is sadly an afterthought these days, with Amed Rosario and Dominic Smith making up the Mets' new dynamic duo and more than 14 months now having passed since the captain last appeared in a major league game.
Still, assistant general manager John Ricco offered some insights into Wright's steep comeback bid earlier this month, noting that Wright had reported to the team's complex in Port St. Lucie to begin what was being labeled "low-level baseball activity."
Ricco went on to define that work as playing catch, hitting off a tee and taking ground balls hit directly at him to avoid lateral movement.
"It's a good sign," Ricco said. "We'll see how his body responds as he starts to ramp up a little bit."
Wright in the dugout between 2016 workouts in St. Lucie (Photo Credit: Matthew Cerrone, MetsBlog.com)
The point is, Wright is not going to discover the Fountain of Youth... and that's OK
Wright is under contract, listed on the DL with a cervical disc herniation and he deserves an opportunity to attempt to return to the majors, despite some Mets fans Twitter clamoring otherwise. Yet, it seems fairly likely that Wright will never be a factor again for the Mets.
The bottom line is that Wright is 34 years old and separately has chronic spinal stenosis in his lower back. That same condition prematurely ended Don Mattingly's career at a comparable age. It had threatened to overtake Wright even before the ruptured disc in his neck cropped up. Wright then experienced a lack of arm strength early this year.
Wright fielding ground balls during 2017 workouts in St. Lucie (Photo Credit: Matthew Cerrone, MetsBlog.com)
Although he is signed through 2020 (with salaries the next three years of $20 million, $15 million and then $12 million), the Mets clearly will approach this offseason seeking a third baseman -- whether that's by picking up Asdrubal Cabrera's $8.5 million option or via another route. In the meantime, unless something has occurred that the Mets have not publicly disclosed, they should be recouping 75 percent of Wright's salary from insurance. So, if Wright never appears in the majors again, the Mets would be reimbursed for $15 million of the $20 million owed to him this season. They then would recoup $35.25 million of Wright's $47 million salary from 2018 to 2020.
Of course, the insurance policy has a 60-day deductible period. So if Wright does reach the majors and heads back to the DL, the deductible clock starts again and the Mets would be on the hook for 100 percent of his salary during the next 60 days. Therefore, an emotional but fleeting return for the captain to the Mets would be incredibly costly for the organization.
Tune in to SNY on Saturday at 3 p.m. as Mets Insider goes inside the clubhouse as the team faces big questions following the trade deadline...
Adam Rubin (Facebook | Twitter | Contact) has covered the Mets since 2002. He previously worked for the Daily News and ESPN. He also serves as assistant athletic director for strategic communications at NYIT. He is a graduate of Mepham High School on Long Island and the University of Pennsylvania.