Hot! The Wright Decision

Would the Yankees Trade Derek Jeter?

Don’t get defensive, Yankee fans, hear me out. I am not about to compare the accomplishments of Jeter to those of David Wright. Rings are rings and as a true New York fan, I have no problem admitting, at the end of the day, that is the only thing that matters.

Wright brings a passion, a fire that burns within. Many casual fans don’t see it as he gives the dullest, most cliché postgame interviews, but he fights through tough injuries and always sets a good example. There are 30 teams in Major League Baseball. Exactly two of those teams have an official captain. The White Sox have Paul Konerko and the Yankees, of course, have Jeter.

Many people out there have been bringing a debate to the forefront: should the Mets, with their well-documented financial issues, trade Wright while he is the hottest hitter east of Josh Hamilton or should they lock him up long-term and officially name him captain. Financial issues and all, this past offseason, the Mets created the single largest drop in payroll in American sports history. Let’s look at Wright’s stats as well as some recent events before I give you my opinion on what GM Sandy Alderson should do.

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A Look at the Stats

Wright had an outstanding rookie campaign in 69 games as a 21-year-old in 2004 and everyone knows he is tearing the cover off the ball this season, but let’s look at his career averages in the seven seasons in between (including his injury ravaged 2011).

94 runs, 38 doubles, 24 homeruns, 98 RBI, 74 walks, 21 steals, .300+ batting average, .380+ OBP, .500+ slugging %, .880 OPS

We are a quarter of the way through the season and Wright has been posting unbelievable stats. Entering Monday’s game, his batting average is a Ted Williams-esque .412 with a Bonds-ian on-base percentage (OBP) of .513. Only six players in the last 20 years have posted numbers like this up to this point. Not to say Wright will finish with such otherworldly stats, but to put it into perspective, Miguel Cabrera led baseball in both stats last year with a .344 batting average and a .448 on base percentage.

The best stat of all is Wright’s walk-to-strikeout ratio. Despite averaging 74 walks per season over the middle of his career, Wright is somewhat strikeout prone, averaging 122 strikeouts per season and relatively respectable .61 walk-to-strikeout ratio. This year, however, Wright has 28 walks and 23 strikeouts, doubling his career numbers with an impressive 1.22 ratio.

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Plot Lines of 2012

1. Earlier this season, on April 10, I attended a Tuesday night Mets game. Much to my surprise, Wright was not listed to play. He had broken his finger the night before while diving into first base bag to avoid a pickoff attempt. Wright missed three games from this injury, and was skewered by the media who believed he should play through it. It seemed then that a broken finger would likely derail his strong start, and perhaps even screw up his swing for a long stretch of the season. Plus, it was only April!

He played that Saturday, hitting a homerun in his return. The day Wright returned, Jason Bay suffered the same injury, missed a game and no one noticed.

2. On May 15 against the Brewers, Wright showed how much he respects the unwritten rules of the game, despite the risk to his health in his team’s 8-0 losing effort that night. After giving up a long homerun, middle reliever D.J. Carrasco unceremoniously drilled Brewers star Ryan Braun with a pitch. The unwritten rule is “if you hit our best player, we’ll hit yours.” Everyone knew Wright would pay the price the next inning, but Mets manager Terry Collins made what I believe was the right move by removing Wright from the game. Wright was not pleased. As a sports fan, you have to love watching Wright’s fire as he valiantly tried to remain in the ballgame.

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The Bottom Line

Whether you love or hate the Mets, whether you love or hate David Wright, he is proving now more than ever to be a leader in a sport devoid of them. To watch his swing take the ball to the right-centerfield gap with ease is a thing of beauty. To watch him sprint on the base paths like a little kid with his tongue sticking out is endearing. He has been a fan favorite since his first day in the majors. On and off the field, he positively represents the franchise and the city.

The bottom line of the Wright decision: pay the man! If he is named captain doesn’t matter. Everyone knows he is the leader.

Whether he stays in New York or leaves, I appreciate everything David Wright has done for the franchise. Some day, I’ll tell my kids they should play the game the way it was meant to be played. The Wright way.


Evan Handsman

1 Comment

  1. wowsure he had a lousy ALDS in ’08but the team got in there withoutmuch pcnhiitgrecent decisions to put chamberlain and phillips in the starting rotation could put them over the top againARod will play for the Yanks againwho else is there to pay him for even close to what is worth?a fan since I saw Yogi play (on TV) left field and make two circus catches two doubles one homer in one game .year was about 1957 .it was his off day from catching

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