David Wright Rumors
The Mets have been one of baseball's worst teams thus far: they currently outpace only the Astros and Marlins with a 17-27 record. While the team's weak start hardly qualifies as a major surprise, the club certainly hoped to remain in contention and see more development from several promising youngsters. Already staring at a ten-game deficit in the NL East, attention has turned to the future ...
- The future could come early for one piece of the Mets' long-term plans, as we learned yesterday that top minor league arm Zack Wheeler is firmly expected to be called up sooner rather than later. With the club hoping to avoid handing Wheeler an extra year of arbitration, Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com took a look yesterday evening at different teams' projections of the "safe" date for avoiding Super Two status. He reports that the Mets appear to have an earlier target than other teams; while some executives quoted a mid-to-late June timeline, New York seems to feel comfortable with a range between early June and June 10. This leads Rubin to project that Wheeler could come up to face the Cardinals at home on June 12, or could be held back until a road start against the Cubs on the 17th.
- MLBTR's Tim Dierkes recently explained the Super Two cutoff projection for players who could qualify following this season. Mets outfielder Lucas Duda is among those who figure to obtain a fourth year of eligibility.
- One major component of the Mets' current and future success, of course, is star third baseman David Wright, who signed a major extension (eight years, $138MM) over the off-season. With the team not only off to a poor start but featuring several struggling younger players, Mark Hale of the New York Post posed the question whether Wright regrets committing to New York. The 30-year-old insists that he has "zero" regrets, and believes in the vision laid out to him by GM Sandy Alderson. "As far as specifically what Sandy and I talked about and I guess the plan moving forward, a big part of that plan is pieces we have in the higher minor leagues," said Wright. "I'm disappointed in our performance as a team. I'm not disappointed in [what] I believe what the plan is going forward and what I believe this organization is capable of doing in the near future." The six-time All-Star also expressed confidence in some of the younger major league players, such as Ike Davis and Ruben Tejada, who are off to slow starts: "I've seen Ike at a ridiculously high level. I've seen Ruben be a very, very solid shortstop. ... They have a track record of being able to produce at this level."
- Whatever happens the rest of the way this season, Rubin notes on Twitter that the Mets figure to flash big money after the year. In fact, the club only has $25MM committed in salary next year to two roster spots (Wright and pitcher Jon Niese), although it is also on the hook for a $5.5MM buyout of the last year of Johan Santana's deal. Its payroll has hovered in the low-$90MM range the last two years after sitting well over $100MM (and as high as $149MM) over the preceding five seasons. The Mets also have several players with arbitration eligibility, in addition to the aforementioned Duda. Tejada joins Dillon Gee, Justin Turner, and Mike Baxter as first-time eligible players, while Davis will reach his second year of arbitration along with Daniel Murphy, Bobby Parnell, and Scott Atchison. In addition to assessing whether or not to tender contracts to its slate of arbitration-eligible players, the club should have substantial flexibility to pursue some of the top available free agents and/or take on payroll via trade.
Third baseman David Wright signed an eight-year, $138MM extension with the New York Mets last December. Months earlier, agents Sam and Seth Levinson of ACES faced a PED-related investigation from MLB. Wright recently spoke about his relationship with the Levinson brothers, what intrigued him about the ACES group coming out of high school and why he remained loyal to his agency last fall:
On how he first came in contact with representatives from ACES…
“I guess just like any other agent, they have guys in the agency that come out and scout some of these tournaments and stuff and try to set up interviews with players to have them, I guess you can’t have an agent before the draft but an advisor, and I remember I just clicked with the guys from ACES and in particular Keith Miller. I remember he came down and watched a couple of my high school games and we hung out and talked and obviously I had quite a bit of respect because I knew who Keith Miller was, he was a former player, a former Met, and it opened up my eyes that this guy played, he knows what it’s about.
“Then he sat with my family and I at home and he showed us some arbitration briefings and just how much work they put into free agency and what they do for their players during arbitration and stuff and that obviously opened my eyes and being fans of some of the players they represented, it seemed like they were a big enough company where they could throw their weight around and people knew them and respected them but at the same time, they were small enough where you got a lot of individual attention and they’ve lived up to that and more.”
On when Sam and Seth Levinson came into the picture…
“It was after I got to know Keith quite a bit, I had kind of narrowed my choices and agents down and that’s when Sam and Seth got involved and like I said, just the work ethic, it was something that attracted me to them. Just hearing them talk for the first time. It wasn’t so much a sales pitch. They were going over what they do for players as far as marketing, endorsements, obviously contract stuff. I was just really impressed with not only their body of work but also just their enthusiasm for what they do. It just seemed like they are very loyal and enthusiastic for representing baseball players and kind of drew me to them.
On staying with ACES despite the PED rumors and links to them last fall…
“I think for me I wanted to hear it from Sam and Seth’s mouth exactly what was going on before I even talked to the union or anybody else. I called those guys up and asked them point blank what was going on and they’ve always been open and honest to me. It’s easy to make assumptions or believe everything you read in the paper but I’ve known these guys for 12-13 years now and the only thing I can go on is the track record for how they’ve treated me and what they’ve done for me and there’s been no complaints on my end and no blemishes on their end. I’m very appreciative of everything they’ve done for me and I think they’ve done a terrific job.
On how they’ve been compared to what he hoped they would be when he signed…
“That and more. I never would have thought that when I was talking to Keith Miller back home in Chesapeake, Virginia, that I would get a chance to participate in six All-Star Games and go from start to finish of my career with one team. I never would have thought that. They have far exceeded the expectations that I had. It’s tough, you’d like to think that when you are 18 years old that you’re going to become an All-Star and be able to sign a nice deal but realistically I always tried to be more realistic than that. They have done a terrific job for me and I’m thrilled.”
The NL East includes a broad range of payrolls, from the Phillies at $150MM-plus to the Marlins below $40MM. Here's are some notes from the division...
- Carlos Beltran told Mike Puma of the New York Post that David Wright should be able to handle the pressure that comes with a nine-figure contract. "He’s been with the organization a long time, so there is nothing he needs to change,” said Beltran, who signed a seven-year $119MM deal with the Mets as a free agent following the 2004 season.
- Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria said newcomer Adeiny Hechavarria has Hanley Ramirez’s endorsement, Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald reports. “When Hanley tells you ‘He is better than I am, you’ve got a great guy with great hands,’ it’s amusing to listen to,” Loria said. The Marlins, who traded Ramirez to Los Angeles last summer, acquired Hechavarria from Toronto in a blockbuster deal with the Blue Jays in November.
- Reliever Mike Adams would likely be with a different team had the Phillies completed their deal with the Astros for Wilton Lopez, reports Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com. GM Ruben Amaro Jr. acknowledged that the Phillies "probably would not have" signed Adams had the club not pulled back from trading for Lopez (since dealt to the Rockies) for undisclosed reasons following his physical.
Jeff Todd contributed to this post.
MLBPA executive director Michael Weiner addressed reporters at Mets camp today, discussing draft pick compensation and the Mets’ franchise player. Here are some details (all Twitter links)...
- Weiner said he expects to discuss draft pick compensation with MLB before the current collective bargaining agreement expires, Andy Martino of the New York Daily News reports. It sounds as though the MLBPA would like to consider changes to the system that affected the leverage ofplayers such as Michael Bourn and Kyle Lohse. "The compensation affected those guys fairly dramatically this year, and we would like to try to address that,” Weiner said.
- Weiner said he hopes the Mets spend more, as chairman & CEO Fred Wilpon has said they will (via Mike Puma of the New York Post). "I think everybody would like to see the Mets as a competitive team, and it's going to require a higher payroll,” Weiner said.
- David Wright knew that he would have been a highly coveted free agent if he didn’t sign with the Mets long-term, Weiner said (via Anthony DiComo of MLB.com). "David understood that if he went out to market he’d probably make more money, and perhaps substantially more money," Weiner said. Wright signed an eight-year, $138MM extension with the Mets in December.
- Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com notes that MLBPA exec Bobby Bonilla collects more money from the Mets than any of their current outfielders. Bonilla, who spent parts of five seasons with the Mets, still collects deferred payments from the club.
Mets chairman & CEO Fred Wilpon offered an optimistic vision of his team’s finances today, suggesting that payroll could soon rise well above $100MM (via Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com). Wilpon said he could see the Mets spending as much as they did under general manager Omar Minaya, who operated with a budget of $140MM-plus. The Mets will spend big in free agency next winter if that’s “appropriate,” according to Wilpon, who added that his past financial problems are behind him.
Here are some more Mets-related notes...
- GM Sandy Alderson said the Mets made a "strong effort" to sign free agent outfielder Michael Bourn, Rubin reports (on Twitter). Alderson said the Mets wouldn’t consider offering a vesting option for a fifth year, as the Indians ultimately did.
- The Mets aren’t actively shopping for relief help, Anthony DiComo of MLB.com reports (on Twitter).
- Wilpon doesn’t expect to address the contract status of manager Terry Collins until after the season, Rubin reports (on Twitter). Collins’ contract expires following the 2013 campaign. However, Wilpon strongly endorsed Collins and Alderson, according to Andy Martino of the New York Daily News (on Twitter).
- Wilpon said he wasn’t going to lose David Wright if at all possible, Marc Carig of Newsday reports (Twitterlinks). "To me, he's our Jeter," Wilpon said, in reference to Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter.
- Wilpon noted that all surprise teams get great pitching and said he believes the Mets are in position to get that type of pitching, according to Carig.
- The Mets say they are aiming to break even financially this season. Wilpon added that the team must be competitive on the field to accomplish that goal, Mike Puma of the New York Post reports (on Twitter).
Zach Links contributed to this post.
Yesterday Mets general manager Sandy Alderson acknowledged to reporters that the Mets are in on free agent center fielder Michael Bourn. “We’re getting to the point where we can be in the mix,’’ Alderson said. “If you look at the fundamental composition of our team, it wouldn’t take more than a couple of moves to change the whole perception of things.’’ The Mets would have to surrender the 11th overall pick in the upcoming amateur draft to complete a deal with Bourn, but would ask MLB for a rule modification in the event they're close to a deal. Here’s the latest on Bourn, a Scott Boras client who recently dined with the Mets...
- The Indians are among the teams that might have interest in Bourn if his asking price drops "A LOT," ESPN.com's Buster Olney reports (on Twitter).
- David Wright told Kevin Kernan of the New York Post that he spoke with Bourn and exchanged texts with him to persuade him to sign in New York. “I just wanted to let him know that he would be a great addition here and he’d obviously be welcomed here,’’ Wright said. He explained to Bourn that the Mets aren’t far off from contention with the young talent they have in place. Wright noted that he’s happy to help the organization recruit free agents if it makes a difference on the field.
- The Mariners and Rangers have also been linked to Bourn, the top free agent remaining.
Mets general manager Sandy Alderson sat down with Kevin Burkhardt on SNY's Hot Stove show (video link) to discuss a number of topics, including...
- Alderson confirmed that the Mets are still looking for relief pitching despite signing LaTroy Hawkins and Scott Atchison to minor league deals over the last three days. "We may even add a name or two [to the bullpen] between now and the beginning of Spring Training," Alderson said. "I'm encouraged about the depth and the options we have in the bullpen."
- This positivity about the relief corps doesn't extend to Frank Francisco, as Alderson admitted he's worried about the incumbent closer given Francisco's struggles and injury issues in 2012. "I don't know that we can have a lot of confidence in where we are [at closer]," Alderson said. "I hope Frankie does something over the next few weeks to dispel that discomfort."
- There could be competition for the closer's job during Spring Training, possibly involving a current reliever (Alderson mentioned Bobby Parnell) or a new acquisition. "We've taken a lot of time to look at other possibilities and ways that we can shore this up. We have added some pitching but more at the front end of the bullpen as opposed to the back end," Alderson said.
- "If there's anyone deserving of an eight-year contract in New York with the Mets, it is and has been David Wright," Alderson said. The GM admitted that he isn't comfortable giving out such long-term deals but said that Wright's performance, history with the team and his off-the-field contributions were all major considerations in Wright's extension.
- Terry Collins is entering the last year of his contract as Mets manager and Alderson didn't give any hints that an extension could be forthcoming. "I've talked to Terry and I think he's comfortable with his situation and I know that whatever happens this season, there will be a fair evaluation at the end," Alderson said. He is "very comfortable with Terry" and noted that the team's win-loss record over Collins' two years as skipper isn't a major factor, though Alderson is troubled by how the Mets have faltered in the second half under Collins.
- From yesterday, Alderson also took questions from Mets season-ticket holders.
On today’s edition of the Rosters & Rumblings podcast, Jason Martinez of MLB Depth Charts and I discussed the Indians-Reds-Diamondbacks trade, the Yankees’ recent signings and the latest rumors. Click here to listen in and continue reading for some notes from around MLB...
- The Mets will pay David Wright $3.1MM annually from 2021-2025 as part of the deferred payments from his new contract extension, reports Adam Rubin of ESPN New York. The money is deferred without interest.
- The Red Sox will pay the Dodgers a total of $11.7MM over the next three years as the cash component of their August blockbuster trade according to the AP (via ESPN). Boston will make identical payments of $3.9MM in 2013, 2014, and 2015.
- Utility man Mark DeRosa told ESPN's Jim Bowden that his first choice is to re-sign with the Nationals (Twitter link). The 37-year-old free agent has hit .220/.309/.269 in 302 plate appearances while battling injuries over the last three seasons.
- Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports argues that the Yankees' strategy of slightly overpaying for free agents on one-year deals hasn't resulted in an improved team this offseason. Morosi wonders why GM Brian Cashman hasn't obtained a power bat for the outfield such as Justin Upton, Jason Kubel or Michael Morse.
- We're seeing more teams prey on the desperation of others in trades now that Wild Card berths seem so attainable, Yahoo's Jeff Passan writes.
- A rival executive expects the Rangers could obtain Upton from Diamondbacks GM Kevin Towers if they are willing to part with Elvis Andrus, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports (on Twitter). “I don't think KT will do it for less," the person said. Towers has said it’s “highly unlikely" that he moves Upton.
- Shaun Marcum said on MLB Network Radio that he's open to re-signing with the Brewers, Jim Bowden reports (on Twitter). The Twins, Royals, Padres and Cubs have been linked to the right-hander in the past month or so.
Mike Axisa contributed to this post.
Details about some recent multiyear deals from around MLB...
- Under the terms of his new deal with the Pirates, Jason Grilli will earn a $500K signing bonus, $2.25MM in 2013 and $4MM in 2014, Michael Sanserino of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports (on Twitter). In total, the Gary Sheffield client obtains $6.75MM over two years.
- Anthony DiComo of MLB.com has the year-by-year breakdown of David Wright's eight-year, $138MM contract extension with the Mets. Wright will earn $11MM in 2013 and his salary increases to $20MM in 2014. The deal also includes incentives, which DiComo details.
The Mets formally announced David Wright's new extension in Nashville today, with Wright and Jeff Wilpon fielding questions from reporters in the process. Here are a few highlights from Wright, Wilpon, and GM Sandy Alderson:
- Alderson suggests that the Mets probably won't take anyone in the Rule 5 draft, and may leave Nashville having only finalized the Wright deal, tweets Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com.
- As part of Wright's extension, his 2013 salary will be reduced to $8MM, and he'll defer $15MM until after 2020, according to Brian Costa of the Wall Street Journal (via Twitter).
- Wright's deal includes a full no-trade clause, tweets Anthony DiComo of MLB.com. Wright would have 10-and-5 rights soon anyway, but is now protected for the entire contract.
- The number of years in his new contract was a priority for Wright, while the money part came fairly easy, according to Marc Carig of Newsday (Twitter link).
- Wright asked as many "tough questions" as he could about the Mets' finances during the negotiating process, tweets Jack Curry of YES Network.
- Wilpon insists payroll will increase next year, and indicated there would be added flexibility when contracts come off the books in 2014, tweets ESPN.com's Jayson Stark.
- Wright was non-committal when discussing R.A. Dickey, saying that he hopes things work out for the best for the right-hander whatever happens (Twitter link via David Lennon of Newsday). Here's the latest on Dickey.