Yes, the contract was huge -- $138 million and the largest contract in Mets history -- but the immediate impact won't be onerous. David Wright made sure of that by reducing his 2012 salary and deferring as much as $15 million of his short-term contract into the future. Brian Costa of the Wall Street Journal had the details first:
As part of new deal, I'm told Wright agreed to reduce his 2013 salary to $8M and defer $15M until after 2020.— Brian Costa (@BrianCostaWSJ) December 5, 2012
That must mean that Wright has deferred some of his 2014 salary as well -- he was only slated to make $15 million in 2013, and so there's $8m in deferred salary that he's moved to the back end of this deal in order to give the team some flexibility. Andy Martino of the Daily News said that Wright sat down with Sandy Alderson in order to see the plans for future contention, and that part of that discussion led to the deferred money. More from Martino:
Wright's discussions w management incredibly detailed, going so far as to look at which free agents will be available in future offseasons.— Andy Martino (@MartinoNYDN) December 5, 2012
He also talked about the phenomenon in his press conference:
I didn’t sign back here to lose. I think that with the plan that Sandy and his staff have, moving forward with commitment from ownership, that not only are we going to get this thing turned around, but we’re going to win. After I heard the conviction, the plan moving forward, I was all in. -- David Wright
Obviously this is just another item in the long list that is Awesome Things About David Wright. Helping the team out in the short term while getting his is a win-win, especially if later (less valuable) money was the outcome.
But the other side of the news still remains -- what is being done with that extra money? We now have heard about $20 million coming off the books this year between Wright's deferral and Bay's release, and the Mets have not been seriously linked with a free agent yet. And they seem to be balking at a reasonable price for R.A. Dickey -- the numbers we're hearing here are two years and $26 million.
The Mets could best thank David Wright for his contributions by finding an outfielder to spend that money on.