Maybe it's a negotiating ploy. A year after Fred Wilpon said David Wright was "not a superstar," the Mets' principal owner hedged some when asked Wednesday about his third baseman, who entered Wednesday night leading the majors with a .408 batting average.
Did Wilpon want a do-over on the infamous comment he made to The New Yorker?
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"I think he's playing like a superstar right now," Wilpon said.
There's certainly no disputing that. In addition to Wright's early flirtation with the .400 mark, he also has the top on-base percentage (.497) and is eighth in slugging percentage (.608). The timing couldn't be better for Wright, who is in the final season of a six-year, $55-million contract and holds a $16-million option for 2013.
A person familiar with the situation said that nothing is close with Wright, who turns 30 in December, adding "it's a process," and one that is only in an evaluation stage. Wright's production so far should begin some conversation later this season, but Wilpon tried to hand off that matter to general manager Sandy Alderson.
"I think you really got to talk to Sandy about that because he's responsible for that," Wilpon said. "He has set the tone, he has set the plan, and we're just following Sandy's plan. So far, so good."
When pressed further, and asked if he wanted to keep Wright, Wilpon treated the question as a no-brainer.
"Well, do you want motherhood?" Wilpon said. "I love David Wright. He's one of the great people -- not only in baseball, but a great young man. And proving himself to be a great baseball player. Not just a good baseball player, but a great baseball player. Of course we want him. But Sandy's really the guy to talk to."
At this rate, Wright's asking price is going to be -- at minimum -- in the range of the six-year, $100-million extension that Ryan Zimmerman signed with the Nationals in spring training. Wilpon didn't give any hints as to what he estimates to be Wright's monetary value, but paid him a high compliment nonetheless. Even if Wilpon is iffy on the whole "superstar" label, the owner sees him as a good son-in-law.
"This is a great young man," Wilpon said "If I had another daughter, I'd love if she married a David Wright."