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Wright takes high road reacting to Wilpon

Injured Mets third baseman David Wright sits in

Injured Mets third baseman David Wright sits in the dugout during his team's loss to the Marlins. (May 16, 2011) Photo Credit: Christopher Pasatieri

David Wright already had enough on his mind Monday as he traveled to Los Angeles to see another specialist about the stress fracture in his lower back.

But principal owner Fred Wilpon piled on something else for him to think about in this week's edition of The New Yorker, describing Wright as "a really good kid. A very good player. Not a superstar."

Wright, as usual, took the high road when asked about the owner's comments Monday. In a reply to a text message, Wright said, "Fred is a good man and is obviously going through some difficult times. There is nothing more productive that I can say at this time."

The use of the word "productive" in that brief response makes one wonder what Wilpon was trying to accomplish in taking shots at three of his most prominent players -- he also went after Jose Reyes and Carlos Beltran -- in the 11,000-word story in The New Yorker.

In addition to the criticism of individual players, Wilpon took a broader swipe, describing his club as a "---- team" during an April series against Houston at Citi Field in which the Mets lost the first two games to fall to 5-13. After watching a Mets rally dissolve, Wilpon also said, "Lousy clubs -- that's what happens."

What happens next, in the wake of those inflammatory comments, is anyone's guess. As of late Monday, Wilpon had yet to comment on the fallout from the article. An apology eventually could be forthcoming.

Manager Terry Collins, who will have his hands full before Tuesday night's series opener at Wrigley Field, declined to comment on the situation. The only word from the team, which has been in Chicago since Sunday night, was a one-sentence statement: "We're handling the matter internally," Mets spokesman Jay Horwitz said.

The New Yorker story, written by Jeffrey Toobin, is mostly about Wilpon's rise in the real estate industry and tragic involvement with disgraced investor Bernie Madoff, a former close friend and Ponzi scheme architect. Wilpon, along with his son, Jeff, and brother-in-law, Saul Katz, are locked in a billion-dollar battle with Madoff trustee Irving Picard, who claims they were complicit in the fraud.

Despite the sympathetic nature of The New Yorker story, Wilpon may have alienated a few of his players with his offhand comments.

When asked about the Mets' decline in recent years, Wilpon pantomimed Beltran standing at the plate watching a third strike, as he did to end Game 7 of the 2006 NLCS. Later, Wilpon said Beltran is "65 to 70 percent of what he was" and also took a shot at himself for signing Beltran to a seven-year, $119-million contract.

"We had one ---- in New York who paid him based on that one series," said Wilpon, referring to Beltran's spectacular 2004 postseason with the Astros.

Wilpon also ripped Reyes, a pending free agent, who leads the majors in hits (62), triples (six), multi-hit games (20) and stolen bases (17). Reyes is batting .310 with a .362 on-base percentage and leads the Mets with 28 runs scored.

"He thinks he's going to get Carl Crawford money," Wilpon said, referring to the seven-year, $142-million contract that Crawford got from the Red Sox last winter. "He's had everything wrong with him. He won't get it."

The agents for Reyes, Peter Greenberg and Chris Leible, declined to comment when reached yesterday.

Reyes made it clear during the winter that he preferred to wait until after the season to discuss a contract extension with the Mets. Given that Wilpon already has shown his cards, it's looking more likely that Reyes will pass on the exclusive negotiating window and head straight for the open market.

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