Concussion. Lower back stress fracture. Hamstring. Rotator cuff inflammation. Spinal stenosis. Herniated disc.
In the past eight years, David Wright has missed a combined 539 games due to various injuries, dating back to 2009 when he went on the 15-day DL after getting hit in the head with a 93-mph pitch from the Giants’ Matt Cain. It was the first time he was placed on the disabled list in his career. He has missed a total of 385 games while on either the 15-day DL or the 60-day DL.
In the offseason between the 2012 and 2013 seasons, the Mets decided to give David Wright a massive extension, locking him up with a 7-year, $138 million contract, despite being plagued with financial problems that otherwise constricted the Wilpons’ budget.
In hindsight, that extension was an awful idea.
Granted, nobody could have known that Wright was going to be bitten by the injury bug so often. In the past two years, Wright has missed 249 games.
After overcoming a hamstring injury in the first week of the 2015 season, he was diagnosed with spinal stenosis while rehabbing, the same injury that ended the career of New York Giants’ running back David Wilson.
Wright did return, however, and played 38 games. He committed a crucial extra-inning error in his first World Series appearance that propelled the Royals to a 5-4 Game 1 victory.
In 2016, Wright played just 37 games before being diagnosed with a herniated disc at the beginning of June. He then underwent back surgery, and hasn’t played a major league baseball game since.
After throwing for the first time in months a couple days ago in Port St. Lucie, Wright was immediately diagnosed with a right shoulder impingement and was sent back to New York to be evaluated by doctors, his Opening Day status shifting from “possible” to “questionable.”
“Questionable” is the PR way of saying “No way, Jose.”
If it seems like Wright is hurt every moment of the day now, it’s because he is. Wright has devoted his entire life to the Mets, and the 7-year contract extension guaranteed his status as a Met for life. While he still serves as the team’s captain, he is rarely even around the team.
Last season, he sparsely appeared in the dugout toward the end of the season, being in the clubhouse to offer his baseball wisdom for only moments at a time before spontaneously returning to either the doctor’s or his rehab assignment.
It’s clear that Wright won’t be the Opening Day third baseman, and that’s probably for the best. Even though he had a standout 2015 after returning, hitting .289 and driving in 17 runs to bring his team to a surprise World Series appearance, he hit .226 and drove in 14 while striking out 55 times before his injuries sidelined him for the rest of the season in 2016.
It’s almost like the baseball gods are telling him to retire.
It wouldn’t be the first time a Met retired before their contract expired. Wright’s best friend and resident magician Michael Cuddyer retired from the Mets after the 2015 season with one year left on his contract. And he wasn’t even injury-plagued; he was just old.
Wright, however, is old and injury-plagued. Mere months removed from his 35th birthday, only a handful of the 1,200 players on Major League Baseball rosters are that old and still moderately productive. Wright hasn’t had a good season of over 100 games since 2013, where he hit .307 over 112 games.
Wright is getting injured at every corner he turns. Wright’s dedication to the team is unwavering, sure, but both him and the Mets need to realize that it’s over. At this point, Wright has no sustainable future with the Mets. Every time he performs baseball activities, he gets hurt. Every time he is on the verge of returning, he gets hurt. Even Wright has expressed doubt with himself, but he will never publicly say that he’s done.
It’s time for him to finally say it. It’s time for him to realize that his place on the Mets is no longer as a player. It’s time for David Wright to retire before he shatters like glass before our very eyes.