It took the most lucrative contract in team history. But David Wright will remain the face of the New York Mets for perhaps the remainder of his career. WFAN radio reported early Friday morning that the two sides agreed to a seven-year, $122-million contract extension, which will be tacked onto the $16 million owed to Wright next season, which was to be the final year of his original deal.
Over the next eight seasons, the Mets will pay Wright a total of $138 million, the most money the club has ever lavished on a single player, though the contract is reportedly backloaded. Wright's new deal barely eclipses the $137.5 million the Mets committed to pitcher Johan Santana.
Ultimately, the Mets accomplished what had been their top offseason priority, keeping their homegrown star with a lucrative deal. It is perhaps the clearest sign that the Mets may be moving on from the near financial disaster brought by the Bernie Madoff scandal.
Wright, who turns 30 next month, is now in line to join exclusive company by spending his entire career with one franchise. Those ranks include the likes of the Braves' Chipper Jones, the Orioles' Cal Ripken Jr. and the Yankees' Derek Jeter.
Wright hit .306 with 21 homers and 93 RBIs this season. The six-time All-Star also set the franchise record for hits. But his value to the Mets stretched beyond his on-field production, a fact represented by the sheer size of his contract extension. Increasingly, fans viewed the Mets' ability to keep its most popular player as a barometer of the team's financial health.
The organization insisted that signing Wright was a major part of their long-term plans. With Wright in the fold, the Mets can focus on the future of pitcher R.A. Dickey, who is also in talks for a long-term contract extension.