When David Wright announced his injury status revealed more damage than originally suspected, there was probably no one who was paying attention to his 2014 season that was surprised. Yes, he’s had some rough stretches before, but they could almost always be linked directly to his health. His throwing has never been a strong suit so perhaps it was not as apparent immediately that his shoulder was aching. The batting, however, was more reminiscent of Captain Kirk than Captain America, so this news, while awful, does change the off-season strategy.
Up until now most people were on board with the same mantra. A rebound year from Curtis Granderson and one from David Wright would be worth several more wins all by themselves. Offensive production from Wilmer Flores replacing Ruben Tejada should add a few more. All that was needed was one solid outfielder, be it by trade or free agent acquisition, and the team would be well on its way to offensive respectability to accompany the pitching dominance.
There are three possible scenarios that could play out. First, David Wright may find that rest and rehabilitation exercises are all he needs after all and “The Plan” stays on track.
Or it could be that after trying the most conservative approach, he falters and is off and on the DL for much of the year (or performing as he did in 2014 due to this injury).
The third scenario is the one in which it is indeed more dire than we’ve been led to believe and he must go under the knife for a surgical repair. If so, it’s conceivable he could miss half or all of the 2015 season.
So how does that affect Sandy Alderson’s ability to reshape the team to progress to the next level? As I see it, people who have been packing Daniel Murphy’s bags for him may have to empty them out once again. If there’s a chance the team will be missing David Wright for a prolonged period of time, then Murphy’s offensive abilities are more critical to the team. He and some combination of Wilmer Flores, Dilson Herrera, Eric Campbell, Matt Reynolds and (ugh!) Ruben Tejada may have to man the middle two infield positions and thus keep LF open as a spot to buttress the lineup with a slugger from outside the organization.
Suppose, however, scenario three – surgery and the prospect of missing most of 2015 comes to pass? I did some quick digging and found out that his contract is insured by stipulates no payments for injuries related to his back or concussions. This issue is new, so it’s reasonable to assume the insurance company would be on the hook for the majority of his pay. In 2015 his salary is a cool $20 million.
The question is whether or not the Mets would take on a big contract to address LF if they suddenly received an ill-gotten bonus check in the way of the insurance company covering over 20% of their payroll? The normally glacial pace at which Sandy Alderson does things (with the exception of hurdling 29 other teams for the dubious services of mighty Chris Young) will probably be even slower than usual this winter as the team awaits word on Wright’s progress. His first checkpoint is in early November when this period of 6 weeks of rehab ends. Since that timing coincides with the start of the Hot Stove season, all ears will be turned to the medical team to hear his prognosis.
So what impact do you think David Wright’s injury will have on Sandy Alderson’s off-season?