David Wright, long the face of the Mets' franchise, has chosen to spend the rest of his playing career in that symbolic role. The star third baseman has agreed to terms on an eight-year, $138-million contract pending the completion of a physical, a source confirmed Friday.
The contract -- first reported by WFAN radio early Friday morning -- is the most lucrative in franchise history.
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With Wright locked up through 2020, a source said extension talks with pitcher R.A. Dickey have resumed, and that a deal will be reached by early next week. In a flurry of activity after weeks of slow negotiations, the Mets might be on the brink of retaining both players.
"I'm very excited for David, and I think this sends a message to our organization, and even to R.A., that the Mets are trying to continue to get better," said Mets manager Terry Collins, who woke up to a flood of emails and texts. "This is a huge step forward."
The huge step also came with a huge price tag. Wright's new deal eclipses the $137.5 million the Mets committed to pitcher Johan Santana in 2008. It is an important benchmark for Wright and his representatives, according to a source, who said passing Santana in total salary essentially determined the size of the $138-million deal.
Wright's deal will not be formally announced until he takes a physical, which might not happen until early next week because he's in Jacksonville, Fla., this weekend for the wedding of Mets teammate Daniel Murphy.
Club officials declined requests for comment. Wright also passed on speaking publicly. "Unfortunately, I can't comment yet," he wrote in an email.
Wright, who turns 30 Dec. 20, also is in line to join exclusive company by spending his entire career with the franchise that originally drafted and developed him, and reaffirms his role as the leader of the Mets.
"He's such an example for the clubhouse and to young players, the way he carries himself on and off the field," Collins said about Wright, the franchise's all-time leader in hits. "He doesn't have a lot to say at times, but with all that he does, people follow that example."
Wright's signing represents perhaps the clearest sign that the Mets might be moving forward from the near financial disaster brought on by the Bernie Madoff scandal.
Wright hit .306 with 21 homers and 93 RBIs in 2012. His value to the Mets stretched beyond his on-field production, a fact represented by the sheer size of his contract extension. Fans increasingly viewed the Mets' ability to keep the six-time All-Star, the team's most popular player, as a barometer of the franchise's financial health.
The organization insisted that signing Wright was a major part of their long-term plans.
"Now with David back, he's the main piece of the puzzle," Collins said. "And it's a tribute to the kind of player and person he is that he wants to be a Met for life."
With Wright in the fold, the Mets can focus on their efforts to retain National League Cy Young Award winner Dickey, who is in talks for a long-term contract extension. Talks had slowed as Dickey waited for the Mets to respond to a counteroffer. But according to a source, talks are ongoing and a new deal could be struck early next week, if not sooner.
Mike Pelfrey, who was among three players non-tendered by the Mets, joining reliever Manny Acosta and outfielder Andres Torres. All three are free agents. Pelfrey, 28, went 50-54 with a 4.36 ERA in 153 games spread over seven seasons with the Mets. The righthander, drafted No. 9 overall in 2006, had Tommy John elbow surgery early in the year.