As I said a few weeks ago, it's my understanding that Sandy Alderson and Jeff Wilpon had already planned to sit down with David Wright to discuss their future together. The rumored meeting must feel extra important this morning, 12 hours after Wright terminated his rehab assignment to again have his shoulder examined.
"I continued to have shoulder pain," Wright said in a statement late Monday. "I decided to go to the doctor and get it checked out. Will make any decisions going forward after my appointment."
The decision to retire or keep trying to play belongs only to Wright, who is under contract for three more seasons. That said, no one more than David knows that despite averaging 156 games per season from 2005-10, he has played in only 75 games during the past three years.
He also knows that he'll be 35 years old this December; it's been more than a year since he's had full strength in his shoulder, and he'll forever need to manage a chronic spine issue that frequently causes pain and numbness in the lower back and legs. If that wasn't enough to contend with, as he gets older, my understanding is that he'll most likely be forced to deal with random hamstring, rib, upper back and leg issues as a result of the subluxations in his spine.
Mar 30, 2016; Wright (5) signs a bobble head of himself at Tradition Field. Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
At the same time, as we speak, he's already the franchise leader in hits, at-bats, extra base hits, walks, runs batted in and runs scored. He's second in home runs, 10 behind Darryl Strawberry. He's made the All Star team seven times, won two Gold Gloves and two Silver Slugger awards. He's played in 24 postseason games, including five in the World Series.
In terms of stature, BaseballReference.com's Similarity Score puts him side by side with Scott Rolen and Robin Ventura, both of whom Wright grew up idolizing.
Most important, he has a lovely wife, a beautiful one-year old daughter, a special place in the hearts of nearly every Mets fan, and millions of dollars in the bank.
The point is, David has some thinking to do...
I have no idea what it's like to play for the Mets, so it's easy for me to say Wright should retire. If it were me, I'd save my energy and spend as much time with my wife and baby as possible. However, it doesn't matter what I would do. It doesn't matter what you, Alderson, or Fred Wilpon would do. It only matters what David wants to do. And, as someone that has spent his entire life playing baseball, so much so it is now a vital part of his existence and personality, it will never be easy to walk away.
Feb. 2017: Wright laughs between ground balls during infield drills (Credit: Cerrone, SNY)
In the event David does decide to keep trying, I wish him luck. As long as Alderson has the financial path to build a contending team, and Wright's money and roster spot are not in the way, it makes zero difference to me if David continues to work on a comeback. Frankly, I would love nothing more than to see him accomplish his goal, get one more shot and take the field for the Mets, even if it is only to walk off it one last time with pride.
On the other hand, if he does choose to retire, I'll be happy for him. I've gotten to know David personally the last 10 years and I have zero doubt he'll go on to do great things in baseball, including maybe manage a team one day. I've heard some fans and people in media suggest he take over for Terry Collins in 2018, especially since David is under contract anyway. It's an interesting idea, but the Mets are not built for experimentation.
I could, however, see Wright as a bench coach or -- at the very least -- in an pre- and post-game advisory role to players, which is something his close friend, Michael Cuddyer, is doing for the Twins.
In either case, whether he keeps marching or turns in his uniform, Wright will never be forgotten among Mets fans, even if his time on field was cut short. He needs to remain involved. Because, regardless of when he officially calls it quits, he'll leave behind a rich, rock-solid legacy that should act as a model of professionalism and passion for future players and fans.
Matthew Cerrone (Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Contact) is the host of SNY's MetsBlog Q&ACast and the lead writer of MetsBlog.com, which he created in 2003. His new book, The New York Mets Fans' Bucket List, details 44 things every Mets fan should experience during their lifetime. To check it out, click here!