Sorting Through the David Wright Rumors – Don’t Forget the 2013 Option

The Mets are negotiating with David Wright. Some of the negotiations happen in private, some in the press. When the Mets, or “sources” leak to the press, that’s negotiating. When Wright and his agents take to the press to say they won’t talk to the press to keep negotiations, that’s negotiating too.

I’m not interested in whether it’s a “good” or “bad” sign for the Mets and their interest in signing Wright that he responded in the press. I’m more interested in what the Mets should pay Wright, and what they are actually going to pay him (if anything).

I was frustrated that much of Tuesday’s reporting, while tossing out a range of possible contracts, did not specify whether they would start in 2013 or 2014. The difference is important. The Mets owe David Wright $16 million dollars in 2013, his age 30 season. A six-year deal that began immediately, ripping up the 2013 option, would cover Wright’s age 30-35 seasons. A six-year deal that began after the 2013 extension would cover Wright’s 31-36 seasons, a seven-year pact his 31-37 year old seasons and an eight-year his 31-38 year old seasons. This really matters.

By the way, the range of offers discussed Tuesday included those from 6 years/ $100 million; 7 years/$119-129 million (Rosenthal); to 8 years/$135-140 million (Heyman). Matt Cerrone of MetsBlog pointed out to me that Wright has “always” been asking to be under contract through 2020. That would be a seven-year starting in 2014, or an eight year deal starting in 2013. Through this lens, whether or not the 2013 option was included, I think we can bridge much of the gaps in the reported offers to Wright. Add $16 million and one year to Rosenthal’s 7/$119 rumor, and it lines up perfectly with Heyman’s 8/$135.

Wednesday, the New York Post noted that one of the issues muddying the values around Wright’s deal included the amount of deferred money. Of course, money is good, money later is good, money now is better, so more deferred money makes a contract less valuable to the player.

So, in part, I think that there’s enough evidence to suggest that seven years beyond 2013, through 2020, for Wright’s age 31-37 seasons is clearly in play. Any deal reported as being for six years starts after the 2013 option. Offers reported as covering eight years likely include the 2013 option. Seven-year offers are murkier, but likely begin after the 2013 option in 2014. How much the Mets should pay is really the big, difficult, nasty question that I’ll tackle later in light of Evan Longoria’s recent extension, Wright’s career, and aging patterns for Major League third basemen.

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