David Wright made a determined effort to return to the New York Mets lineup this season. He last took the field on May 27, 2016, before undergoing season-ending surgery to repair a herniated disk in his neck. He then suffered a right shoulder impingement earlier this year. The 34-year-old took a big step in his rehab last week when he took the field for the St. Lucie Mets. Unfortunately, Wright terminated his rehab on Monday after experiencing shoulder pain.
“After playing a few games, I continued to have shoulder pain,” Wright said in a statement. “So I decided to go to the doctor and get it checked out. Will make any decisions going forward after my appointment.”
Wright will receive an update on his status later this week. The news should not surprise Met fans, given Wright’s recent injury history. Nonetheless, one cannot help but feel for the team’s captain. He spent his entire career in orange and blue, and rewrote the team’s record book. He holds more than ten franchise records, including those for runs batted in, doubles, runs scored, and hits.
Now, it appears his career with the Mets has come to an end. Any professional athlete on the back nine of his/her career would wish to retire on his/her terms. This injury could force Wright into retirement against his will. For a man who gave his life to the Mets for 13 years, such an outcome is heartbreaking for fans, teammates and coaches.
Wright’s contract could hamstring the Mets over the next three seasons as well. He is owed $47 million from 2018 through the end of 2020. As per Jeff Todd at MLBTradeRumors.com, the Mets can recoup 75 percent of Wright’s salary, should the injury prove career-ending. This savings plan stems from an insurance policy the Mets have on Wright’s contract.
While Wright’s playing career could be over, his tenure with the Mets does not have to be. A player of Wright’s character, leadership and baseball IQ would make for a great bench coach, or even a manager. With Terry Collins uncertain future at the helm, a fan favorite like Wright could be an interesting replacement.
As for the team’s future at third base, they could always pick up Asdrubal Cabrera‘s player option for 2018. The veteran usually plays shortstop or second base, but played 20 games at third this season. If they choose to go younger, T.J. Rivera or Wilmer Flores could fill in. The Mets could free up some payroll if they try and exercise that aforementioned insurance policy on Wright’s contract. This enables them to go after a bigger name in free agency.
Either way, Wright’s comeback met an ultimately end. Does he have another comeback left in him? One, perhaps, on the bench instead of on the field? Wright will have his answer soon enough.
Jesse Andreozzi is a staff writer for Outside Pitch Sports Network covering the New York Mets. Follow him on Twitter @Jesse_Andreozzi