As David Wright discussed his contract extension this offseason, he pressed general manager Sandy Alderson for a road map of the Mets' future. He wanted to understand the starting point -- even combing through the team's minor-league prospects player by player -- and the eventual destination.
The third baseman understood that for the Mets to move forward, they might choose to trade R.A. Dickey. So after Dickey's departure to Toronto in a seven-player trade this week, Wright kept his focus on how it would change the Mets' location on the road map.
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"It's very difficult to replace the wins,'' Wright said in a telephone interview Wednesday. "But at the same time, our goal is to try to build something that can withstand year after year, where we can contend year after year. And I think that's kind of the first step in doing this.''
The first step, arguably, was Wright's agreeing to an eight-year, $138 million extension that likely will keep him with the Mets for the rest of his career. But the Dickey trade may prove just as important in determining the outcome of the long-range plan.
It revolved around cashing in Dickey for elite prospects -- 23-year-old catcher Travis d'Arnaud and 20-year-old righthander Noah Syndergaard. Even though it meant losing the winner of 20 games and the Cy Young Award, Wright said the move fell in line with the plan outlined by Alderson.
"As difficult as it is to replace a guy like that, it sets us up very nicely in the short-term future also,'' Wright said. "It's not every day that you can trade a guy and get back one of the best catching prospects in the game and also one of the best pitching prospects in the game, so as far as I'm concerned, it was a great fit.''
Once the trade was official, Wright made it a point to call d'Arnaud, Syndergaard and catcher John Buck, who also was acquired. He welcomed each to the organization -- ''just to make them feel comfortable'' -- and encouraged them to reach out with any questions about living in New York.
Although Mets fans may be bracing for another bumpy year in 2013, Wright stayed on the organization's message, insisting that the Mets have not conceded the season. He used the A's and Orioles as recent examples of how clubs can exceed expectations.
"Do I understand that we have some holes right now? Of course,'' Wright said. "But I feel like this trade strengthens us from my perspective, and that is to build something that will withstand a number of years.
"This trade helps us to try to accomplish that.''