Ted Berg made the following observation over at his blog yesterday:
“It doesn’t make a hell of a lot of sense to trade Ike Davis or David Wright right now, since both are arguably at the nadir of their value. Davis missed most of 2011 with a lingering ankle injury. Wright spent time on the disabled list with a broken bone in his back and endured the worst season of his excellent Major League career…So think about this: They could trade Wright during the 2012 season and get back whatever some team is willing to give up for a part season of Wright, or trade him after the season and get both the full 2012 season’s worth of Wright and whatever some team is willing to give up for a full season of Wright.”
Ted is, as usual, right on the money. There simply isn’t a compelling baseball reason to trade David Wright anytime soon. Even if Wright doesn’t fit into the 2013 plans, the Mets can trade him for the same amount of baseball talent return that they’d get now-with the fact that Wright is one year older mitigating against any possible rebound Wright enjoys in 2012.
Here’s the problem with Ted’s analysis: the Mets haven’t been in a position to make baseball decisions for purely baseball reasons for a while now. The decision-making on Jose Reyes provides a useful indicator, with New York holding onto Reyes, then failing to offer him a contract before he signed with the Miami Marlins. And as I’ve highlighted before, the team has done this in many smaller ways, too, from failing to sign any reasonable alternatives to fill potential holes in the starting rotation, to choosing bullpen arms over a backup catcher (while most other teams have the financial luxury of affording both).
With ownership up against an enormous set of financial challenges, David Wright is not simply an elite third baseman with one year left on his contract, plus a team option. He’s someone who will be taking $15 million of ownership’s money this year, and $15 million next year, should the Mets pick up the option and keep him. And lest you think that’s an insignificant amount of money to them at this point, remember that as recently as last November, the Mets’ owners took out a $40 million bridge loan just to pay a $25 million debt payment on Citi Field. The margins really have gotten that small, if not smaller.
So no, there’s no baseball reason to trade David Wright. But it would be equally silly to dismiss the possibility that it happens, because the Mets stopped living in a world where baeball matters trumped financial ones a long time ago.