The question in the headline seems to be coming up frequently, so I figured I’d take a crack at it.
I understand the logic that says if the Mets were planning on rebuilding, they should have opted for a full rebuild by trading Wright for a package of prospects like the one they got for Dickey. But there are some big distinctions between Wright’s situation and Dickey’s situation that don’t make either decision seem like the wrong move. To boot:
– Wright has established a level of production that suggests he’s a safe bet to continue being excellent moving forward. Remember this post? That’s kind of the point. It’s impossible to expect any prospect — or any package of prospects — to outproduce Wright as soon as 2014 or 2015, or maybe ever. If Dickey maintains his 2012 pace through the next few seasons, that’s also the case for him. But Dickey’s future is far tougher to project than Wright’s, in large part because…
– Dickey is eight years older than Wright. I know everybody ages, and sometimes time catches up with a player quickly. But guys as good as Wright don’t often suddenly suck at 31. Will he still be the player he was in 2012 in 2014? Doubtful, but certainly not impossible. Chipper Jones had his two best seasons at 35 and 36. George Brett was still an elite hitter at 37. There’s always a risk Wright suffers some sort of career-altering injury and the deal become a huge albatross, but that’s true for any player with a big deal. Obviously Dickey wasn’t seeking the same money or years that Wright was, but the Mets need Wright more than they need Dickey because…
– The Mets don’t have any other good hitters. Wright was by far the Mets’ best hitter in 2012, with Daniel Murphy the team’s only other regular that provided above-average offense for his position. Behind Dickey, the Mets have Zack Wheeler, Jenrry Mejia and Jeurys Familia, plus guys like Collin McHugh and Jeremy Hefner that seem apt to at least fill in the back of a rotation. The Mets’ best offensive prospects are limited to a bunch of guys in low A or rookie ball and Wilmer Flores, who has a half a season of experience at Double-A. They could have traded Wright to clear the spot for Flores, but that’s putting a ton of eggs in a basket that hasn’t reached Triple-A and might never be able to defend third base as a Major Leaguer. The Mets’ next contender will need to score runs, and it’s hard to figure a better way to ensure that happens than keeping Wright around.
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