Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
August 7, 2006
The Wright Thing To Do (Aka, I Hart Omar)

The following is cross-posted at Mike's Neighborhood this morning:

The Mets again extended their lead to 13 games through a vulgar, muscle-flexing display for a divisional rival. Can't speak for the Phils, but I'm impressed. A game that saw Jose "El Rapido" Reyes join the Grand Slam parade. A game that saw this whole John Maine Thing officially reach "weird" status (2.08/1.00; 31/13 K/BB in 39 IP). A game that I missed on television, but I'll nevertheless guess saw Joe Morgan say a series of things so pompous, so unsubstantiated, so idiotic, that viewers were tempted to forget what a great player he was when he participated in, rather than called, the games. A game that pushed the Met's lead over the Cards for NL dominance to 6 games.

None of which compares to the really good news:

David "Derek Who?" Wright will be a Met for at least 6 years. He really is The Prince of New York. Omar completed his most excellent week, penciling in Young Mr. Wright for six years at $55 M, with the option for an extemely expensive seventh year.

We'll cross that bridge when we get to it. All I know, fellow Met fans, is that we get 4-5 years, minimum, to watch the Dynamic Duo do their thing on the left side o' the infield. Wooo-hooo! The price may seem high for two very young players, but (a) the Mets can afford it and (b) these guys look well on their way to stardom. Especially Wright. The list of guys who hit .300 with 27 HRs and 100 RBIs (not to mention fine peripherals) at 22 is a small one. Small, but strong, like Mel Ott, who failed to make the list at 22, but was a member at 20. Other names you may know who qualified? Ohh, fellas like Williams, DiMaggio, Foxx, Vlad, A-Rod. Wright's easily on pace to do it again at 23. This is a great deal.

It reminds me of what John Hart did in Cleveland in the early-mid 90's as guys like Thome, Manny & Belle came into their own as young sluggers. Thome, for instance, stayed with the Tribe through 2002, when he hit 52 homers . . . and earned $8M. He crossed the $3M threshold in 1998, the season after the Indians' 2nd WS appearence in three years. And Thome himself? He'd already hit .300 twice, hit 30+ HRs twice (including 40 in '97), driven in 100 twice, topped .400 in OBP three years running, etc. He was a bargain and it helped Cleveland remain competitive.

Manny? Even more ridiculous! In 1995, when the Tribe won 100 out of 144 games played, Manny put up the first of many 300/30/100 seasons (with his standard rock-solid peripherals) and earned $150,000. He ended staying with the Indians through 2000, never earning over $4.25 M a year, despite driving in 165 one season, hitting .328+ twice, all that Manny stuff we love. Then he went to the Sox, signing for the GDP of a mid-sized Central Asian Republic.

Albert Belle? With the Tribe through 1996. Never earned over $5.7 M per.

And the point of all this? I'm not completely sure, but I think I'm trying to show that signing young, top talent to long-term deals before they reach superstardom is the way to go, the way both to keep your young studs and avoid paying them A-Rod money too soon. They either fall apart -- and then you're doomed anyway, regardless of what they earn -- or they emerge and eventually require $22 M/yr to "feed their families," "earn respect," "keep up with the Rodriguezes," whatever.

But that's then, this is now (S.E. Hinton allusion). In the meantime, the Mets got em, and they ain't going nowhere. Niiiiiice.

Posted by Mike Rogers at 7:23 AM | Baseball 2006 | Comments (11) | TrackBack (0)

And you don't even mention Beltran. Early this year Crank posted something about how good he was. I said I wasn't sure if Jones was a better center or not. Beltran sure answered that this year.

When the Astros played the Mets I was amazed by the way the guy just glides effortlessly across the field to make catches other CF's couldn't even get close to. His plate performance has rebounder this year too.

Posted by: Dwilkers at August 7, 2006 9:06 AM


Beltran's been the Mets best player this year, and it's not even close. I think I mentioned as much in the post I put here last Friday.

He's been a pleasure to watch and I love seeing one of our guys at or near the top of so many categories (SLG, OPS, RBI, R, HR). I think Pujols actually deserves it, but at this point Beltran's gotta be the leading MVP candidate.

Posted by: Mike at August 7, 2006 9:14 AM

Ah yes! Carlos! We enjoyed him in KC and are glad you like him too. Hopefully we will be able to keep our upcoming crop of youngsters and stop supplying the rest of MLB ( Carlos, Damon, Dye ...)

Posted by: maddirishman at August 7, 2006 9:55 AM

Other than the mid-80's, has there ever been a better time to be Mets fan? Add to that Milledge - who looks like he will be a great player once he hones his skills a bit, and potentially Pelfrey, and things are looking very good.

Posted by: paul zummo at August 7, 2006 2:08 PM

Other than the mid-80's, has there ever been a better time to be Mets fan?

Let's see, let me think about that one.

Ok, I'm done thinking: No.

Posted by: Mike at August 7, 2006 2:16 PM


It's some sort of karmic payback for the 80's: Brett, Saberhagen . . . and Bill James. You guys had to pay it back somewhere.

Posted by: Mike at August 7, 2006 2:18 PM

LOL!!!! We made some horrible trades and Sabe's is one of the worst. As for great times to watch the Met's, '69 was my favorite. I was just starting to really get into baseball and as a Cardinals fan at the time there was nothing better than anyone beating the Cubs. That was a pitching staff for the ages. I actually had a Kooseman/Ryan rookie card and let it get away. Oh well, I would have just blown the money.

Posted by: maddirishman at August 7, 2006 2:55 PM

Signing young stars to long-term contracts to lock them in at salaries that will turn out to be below the going rate in future years seems like a good strategy for small-market teams, too.

Posted by: Attila (Pillage Idiot) at August 7, 2006 3:50 PM


Absolutely. I think it's a "sound strategy" for big market teams like the Mets. But for a small market team it's imperative.

And it's also good to sign your young guys long term when it looks as though the economy'll remain inflationary for a spell. Young Mr. Wright's $12 M, or whatever it is, might not look so huge in 2011 dollars.

I guess we can say that as an investment in the Mets future, Wright's good as gold, huh?

Ugghhh, that was awful. Pretend I never wrote it.

Posted by: Mike at August 7, 2006 4:11 PM

Signing young stars to long-term contracts to lock them in at salaries that will turn out to be below the going rate in future years seems like a good strategy...

Its risky though. Of course there's risk in anything.

The Astros have as far as I can tell become just about allergic to long term contracts now, they have a list of those deals they've been burned on. Bagwell is making 18 mil this year and 7 mil next year and won't play at all, and he spent almost all of last year on DL. Altogether about 50 million thrown away - money that could be spent on other players.

It might work out for the Mets mind you. I'm not saying it won't. Just remember it if those guys come up on the crippled, lame and lazy list in the next couple years.

It certainly does look like the Mets are putting together a nice team.

Posted by: Dwilkers at August 8, 2006 7:39 AM

After Lastings Milledge, are there any young prospects worth talking about in the Met system?

Most rank the minor league system at the far end of the pack in MLB.

Beltran = best center fielder in baseball.

Posted by: Jake at August 8, 2006 10:03 AM
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