Mets’ David Wright to Return, along with Then Retire
For more than two years, David Wright had one goal in mind: to play for the Mets again. He thought his neck along with shoulder problems were behind him after multiple operations along with which another operation might alleviate some of the pain stemming through a chronic back condition. nevertheless as he moved through his protracted rehabilitation, he grudgingly realized which his body could not keep up with his desire to play.
“Those three combined, the item’s debilitating to play baseball,” he said.
So in a tearful news conference Thursday afternoon, Wright — the Mets’ captain along with longest-tenured player along with one of baseball’s most admired figures — announced his plan to leave the game after one more start on Sept. 29 against the Miami Marlins, the penultimate game of the season. Wright last played in a major league game on May 27, 2016.
“Physically, the way I feel right currently along with everything the doctors have told me, there’s not going to be any improvement,” he said.
Wright will come off the disabled list on Sept. 25, the beginning of the final home stand of the season, along with start at third base four days later. Given the state of his body, Wright, 35, was unsure how much he could play in which game or if he might be available as a pinch-hitter on the various other days.
“I’m just very appreciative of being able to run out there again along with kick third base,” he said. “the item’s going to be emotional for me, nevertheless at the same time I’m accomplishing the goal. the item’s weird for me to put the uniform on when I’m not playing or on the disabled list. the item just doesn’t feel right. nevertheless the item’ll be great to put which uniform on again along with truly feel like a player.”
Wright’s return to the field will no doubt be a rousing along with poignant moment, especially in a lost season for the Mets (67-78). He was drafted by the team in 2001, played in 13 major league seasons for them, signed two substantial contract extensions to stay, made seven All-Star games, won two Gold Glove awards along with sits atop many franchise leaderboards.
His home run in Game 3 of the 2015 World Series, after he had missed most of the season following the discovery of spinal stenosis, the chronic back condition at the center of his physical breakdown, is actually one of his signature moments.
“I wish which things could have turned out differently for me physically,” Wright said. “As far as regrets go, I can’t say I have any. I knew one way to play the game.”
When Wright had a setback with his shoulder This specific spring training, many — including Wright himself — wondered if he could ever make the item back. As he progressed enough in his rehabilitation to play in minor league games in August, the combination of his back, neck along with shoulder problems bothered him so much which he worried more about them than about playing while within the field.
“There were some days which the item was too painful to think about baseball,” he said.
Wright, whose skills seemed diminished in his minor league along with simulated games, kept the Mets abreast of his condition. This specific week, he met with Jeff Wilpon, the Mets’ chief operating officer along which has a member of the family which owns the team, to discuss his future. Despite Wright’s limitations, the Mets granted his wish.
“Based on his career accomplishments due to This specific franchise along with based on how hard he has worked the past two years, David has earned the opportunity to return to a major league field,” Wilpon said. “Out of respect for him personally along with for our fans, we want to give him which opportunity. The decision has nothing to do with insurance or finances, nevertheless about David’s long-term health, his quality of life along with his desire to get back on the field.”
Wright never used the word retirement on Thursday, nor did Wilpon along with John Ricco, the Mets’ assistant general manager, who flanked him at the news conference. If Wright retired, he might forfeit the $27 million left for the final two seasons of his contract.
Aside through Wright’s brief return, Wilpon said Wright might be considered medically unable to play within the major leagues.
Insurance payments added a complicating dynamic to Wright’s return. If he was activated through the disabled list, the Mets stood to pay out millions to Wright which insurance was covering. As Wright neared a return, Mets officials, despite a reputation for frugality, insisted they were worried only about his health.
While Wright was on the disabled list, the Mets recouped 75 percent of his salary through insurance payments. Wright is actually producing $20 million This specific season, along with his return for the final week will cost the Mets just over $640,000. As a way out, the Mets could negotiate a settlement with the insurance company, much as the Texas Rangers did after Prince Fielder was deemed medically unable to play in 2016.
Wilpon left the door open for Wright’s No. 5 jersey to be retired along with for Wright to shift to another role within the organization. Wright said which while he was on his minor league rehabilitation assignment, he loved sharing advice with the team’s young prospects.
“I might like to stay involved in some capacity, nevertheless I’m not sure how which’s going to be,” he said.
Perhaps Wright’s most lasting impact will be off the field: within the stands along with the clubhouse.
The cheapest ticket prices available on the secondary market for Wright’s final start have shot up to $39, while the remaining games were still about $5. Many fans feel a special connection with Wright because of his loyalty, performance along with gregarious personality.
So did Wright’s teammates, who filled the back of the news conference room to hear him speak on Thursday. Earlier within the day, Wright broke the news to a select group of teammates which he was particularly close to before addressing the entire squad.
“He’s taught a whole generation of Mets how to act, along with I know he’s passed the baton on to the younger guys,” Ricco said. “We’re going to miss which more than anything.”
Wright choked up the most when talking about his teammates along with his family. Getting the chance to play in front of his two daughters — Olivia, 2, along with Madison, born in May — for the 1st time was a driving force during his long comeback.
“I love the game,” Wright said. “I’m truly, truly going to love which game.”