Steve Mitchell-US PRESSWIRE
The highs and lows of a negotiation are all just part of the process. Tuesday, the New York Mets experienced it all with regard to David Wright, within a span of 12 hours.
7:21 AM: Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports the Mets' initial offer was worth six years, $100 million. It was a starting point the third baseman was "certain to refuse."
11:14 AM: Andy Martino of The New York Daily News reports the Mets have offered a seven-year pact "well in excess of $100 million."
Then, a few others support that ...
3:43 PM: Jon Heyman of Sports Illustrated reports the Mets' offer for seven years is between $135-140 million. Twenty-one minutes later, Rosenthal's source tells him the deal is worth $119-129 million.
It seemed like discussions were really starting to heat up, that the ball was firmly in Wright's court. But then MLB Trade Rumors got it from the player himself a little after 7 PM:
"I have said from Day 1 that I want to play my entire career with the New York Mets," Wright said. "I remain hopeful that goal can be achieved. However, I am disappointed by reports that I have read today which are inaccurate."
So, now where do we stand?
It's obvious Wright is irked by the leaked contract figures. As someone who has always been private and has wanted to insulate negotiations from the media, these sources cannot be from Wright's camp. But it also doesn't make a lot of sense for the Mets -- if they truly want to retain their homegrown favorite -- to fabricate offers to the media. Yes, money talks. But frustrating their best player in the middle of negotiations doesn't seem like a great tactic ... unless the organization really has no interest in keeping him and wanted to spin it back on Wright: "We made a serious (and generous) offer, but Wright really never had interest in staying in New York, so now we can trade him and avoid the public-relations backlash we faced with letting Jose Reyes go."
I don't buy that. I think these negotiations are getting serious and Wright didn't appreciate this being leaked before he signed on the dotted line. Journalists aren't always right, but these are some of the best in the business. It's hard to believe these "sources" weren't reputable. Martino even tweeted later Tuesday night that he stood by his story. Neither Rosenthal, who, by the way, updated his original morning report after connecting with another source, nor Heyman have backtracked or stated otherwise.
What we know: Whether these reports were accurate or not, the Mets seem intent on clearing things up with Wright first, before focusing on R.A. Dickey. And I do think general manager Sandy Alderson and the front office honestly want to retain Wright long-term -- and they want to get it done before the season begins. It's also obvious the franchise feels Wright is worth more to the organization than Reyes was.
Implications of a deal: If Wright signs for anywhere in the neighborhood of those reports, the Mets send a message that they're willing to spend money on their star players. Certainly, inking Dickey and Wright reaffirms that their finances may be in better shape than they've let on.
But still, the biggest question remains: If both (or one, especially Wright) sign, these are still not the freespending Mets of old, so how does this affect their ability to address other holes this offseason?