For David Wright, it’s one minute to midnight. The Mets know it, we know it, and most importantly, he knows it.
But as long as precious seconds remain, and Wright still has a glimmer of hope to return to the playing field in any capacity, the Mets captain should take as much time as he wants. He’s earned that right.
“When it’s all said and done, I want to be able to say that I did everything I could,” Wright told a gaggle of reporters assembled in Port St. Lucie on Saturday morning. “If it works, that’s obviously the goal. If not, I’ll rest easy knowing I gave it my best shot.”
In case you’ve forgotten, and I can’t blame you if you haven’t, Wright is one of the best players to ever play for this franchise. In 2007, he would have been the first Mets player to win the league’s MVP had his team not collapsed around him. While everyone else floundered that September, Wright slashed .352/.432/.602 with six homers and 20 RBIs in 27 games.
He posted MVP caliber seasons in not just '07, but '08, '12, and '13, as well. He’s second in franchise history in WAR (49.9), behind only Tom Seaver (79.1).
And with the Mets in a full rebuild, one year after one of their owners called him, "not a superstar," (to a reporter, on the record, mind you) he stayed. In December 2012, re-upped for seven years and $122 million. Yes, he was paid handsomely to do so. But it was also less than he would have made had he decided to test free agency in the offseason.
He stayed because he loves this franchise, and he loves the fan base. He stayed when any lesser of a man wouldn't. He stayed when there was absolutely zero reason to.
And even while getting the payday he so richly deserved, he wanted to do right by the franchise that drafted him back in 2001. It was David who came up with the idea to structure the contract so it was frontloaded, so the Mets weren't overpaying him for his decline.
Unfortunately, we know what happened. We know that a seemingly simple slide into second on a stolen base attempt morphed into more than three seasons of set back after set back, and since 2015, the Mets have gotten only 75 regular season games (and 14 postseason) from Wright. But his contract is insured, and as a result, costs the franchise significantly less to pay Wright than it does to employ Asdrubal Cabrera (don't blame David if that $15 million isn't reinvested in the team).
His leadership is invaluable. And as the next Met who likely can expect to have his number stationed at the top of Citi Field, so is his skill. If Wright even has a chance to play a season as a shell of his former self, then he needs to see it through. Because everything is better in Queens when Wright is in the clubhouse, stationed by his locker.
“I want you to be as present as possible,” Mickey Callaway said he told Wright. “We need your leadership.”
We all need David Wright. And as long as he wants to be a part of our lives, we should want to be a part of his. Do your thing, David. Give it everything you have. And the day you make it back, I know I will be the one of many to be there to give you the standing ovation you so richly deserved.
Photo credits: Sports Illustrated
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