On Tuesday, the Mets released the news that we’ve all been expecting, but were hoping to avoid: David Wright had another setback and won’t be ready for Opening Day. After the spinal stenosis diagnosis last in 2015 and the neck surgery last year that has limited him to just 75 games over the past two seasons, this latest news very much has the feeling that we may have seen the last of the beloved captain and owner of most of the career records in team history.
Simply said: this sucks. Since Wright arrived in the majors in 2004, he’s been everything you could have asked for on the field and seems like a genuinely good dude off of it. David grew up a Mets fan, was drafted by the team that he and we love and made his way through the system to become a 7-time All-Star, team captain and have the greatest career of any position player in Mets history. To see his career cut short by these kinds of injuries in such a quick and definitive fashion would be painful enough, but then to continue to bust his ass and try to come back, putting in the work the way he has and seeing him have to re-learn how to move, stay in shape and keep up his fitness just to have it continually pulled back away from him is devastating to see.
He still has four years and $67m to go on his contract and nobody in their right mind expects him to just walk away from that. He’ll always be around in some fashion, hopefully, as an ambassador for the team meeting with VIPs, doing charity work and other things. He’s already not the David Wright we knew and loved physically – as even those of us who aren’t super-scouts could tell how much of a struggle it was for him defensively and how long his swing had gotten in his limited time last season – so if this is the capper on a fine career, then obviously we wish him the best. I understand not being ready to give up something you love and basically the only thing you’ve known since you were a kid, but – genuinely – I want David Wright the person to have as healthy and fulfilling a quality of life as possible and hope he doesn’t risk some kind of permanent disability trying to hang on just a bit longer.
I’m happy he did get the chance to play in a World Series and that he hit that homer in Game 3 at Citi Field. Though the injuries may have curtailed his push to get his numbers into Hall of Fame territory, there should be no question that some day we’ll be seeing his number 5 being retired by Mets. He was the block of stability during some very lean years for the team and made the commitment to staying at a time when he could have easily played out his deal and chosen to go elsewhere.
So, if this is it, thank you, David. It’s been a pleasure to cheer for you over the years and you’ve set a very high standard for future Mets to live up to.