David Wright distributes caps and signs autographs for students at...

David Wright distributes caps and signs autographs for students at Public School 38 in Staten Island. (Dec. 6, 2012) Credit: AP

The day after signing the richest contract in Mets history, David Wright went back to work as the face of the franchise. He and chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon visited P.S. 38 on Staten Island, where dozens of elementary students and their families were displaced by superstorm Sandy. Wright and the team contributed $250,000 to the relief effort, then Wright and Wilpon toured the hardest-hit areas with city councilman James Oddo (R-Brooklyn).

"It makes signing or not R.A. Dickey not seem so important,'' a somber Wilpon said as he viewed houses blown off their foundations, some reduced to rubble. Wright appeared emotional as he viewed the devastation.

But there were baseball issues to be addressed, too. The pair discussed Dickey's future, the main topic now that Wright has been signed to an eight-year, $138-million deal.

"Just because they are leaving the winter meetings with nothing in terms of a deal with R.A. doesn't mean we're not still trying,'' Wilpon said. "It's likely that we're going to continue the process of trying to sign him, Sandy will be talking to other teams about trade possibilities and we'll continue the dialogue of, hey, he's under contract, he's got a landing spot with us. We could sign him to an extension, he could get traded, we could have him pitch under his current contract."

Wilpon also said he expects Wright to remain with the organization beyond his playing career, and Wright jokingly said, "Maybe a co-owner.'' But he grew serious when discussing Dickey, saying, "We have a guy who just won the Cy Young Award. But you understand both sides. I think R.A. understands both sides. I talked to him. He understands kind of where we are -- and it's a compliment to him -- what he could bring back in a trade. He understands it . . . I'd be lying if I said you could just plug in somebody else to replace R.A. That's obviously not the case. Now it's just a matter of trying to weigh the odds.''

As for himself, Wright said now that he's here for the long haul, his only objective is winning. "I signed back here to win, I didn't sign back here to continue to be on fourth-place teams the way we have the last few years,'' he said. "I came back here to be a part of this process that gets us a chance to win and win annually.''

Asked if he has thought about signing yet another contract after this one, when he will be 38, Wright said, "I think that's wishful thinking, but I hope that I can play for as long as I'm productive and able to do what I feel like I'm capable of doing on the baseball field.

"If I get there and I still feel like I'm productive and we're winning, which I think is what's going to happen, then obviously that would be tough to walk away. I hope I get to that point where I'm doing what [Derek Jeter is] doing right now in his late 30s. I feel like I'm more than capable of doing that. I feel like I prepare myself and keep myself in a position where physically I'd be able to do that. What he's doing is amazing. I hope I'm in that position when I get in my late 30s.''