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The five biggest contracts in Mets history

Some good, some bad. Yoenis Cespedes would likely outstrip them all.

David Wright
David Wright
Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

In a couple of months, Sandy Alderson and the Mets' front office will have some decisions to make and only a limited amount of money to make them with. Principally, they'll need to consider long-term deals for Yoenis Cespedes and Matt Harvey. Cespedes is a free agent at year's end; Harvey will be eligible for arbitration for the first time. Could the Mets break the bank to re-sign Cespedes? If they do, his deal will surely rival—and perhaps exceed—the richest deals the Mets have ever handed out.

1. David Wright: eight years, $138 million extension (2012-2021)

Background: It's not surprising that Wright has the highest-paying contract in Mets history. Although the injury bug has bitten him fairly hard, he is still the centerpiece of this franchise, and there's a good chance that he will end his career with the same team it began with.

Prognosis: In the two seasons following his extension, Wright missed a total of 84 games while fighting various injuries, hitting .286 with 26 home runs and 121 RBI. (He was an All-Star in 2013, though.) He has played in just 21 games this season, missing most of the rest while learning to deal with spinal stenosis. When he's been on the field, he's been good, but he's been in the lineup far less often than he or the Mets would like.

2. Johan Santana: six years, $137.5 million (2008-2014)

Background: The Mets picked up Santana in a trade with the Twins in February 2008 in which they sent a quartet of players to Minnesota, most notably Carlos Gomez. They then locked up Santana to a long-term deal; the then-28-year-old and two-time Cy Young award winner was expected to be a crucial part of their rotation for years.

Prognosis: One can only wonder how good Santana, the only Mets pitcher to throw a no-hitter, would have been if he had remained healthy. While he came in third in the National League Cy Young voting in 2008 (16-7, 2.53 ERA) and followed that up with a 13-win season before being shut down in late August 2009, he went under the knife again in mid-September 2010 to repair a torn ACL. He wouldn't pitch in the majors again until 2012, when he went 6-9 with a 4.85 ERA. After another shoulder injury in 2013 that wiped out his season once more, the Mets bought out his remaining contract.

3. Carlos Beltran: seven years, $119 million (2005-2011)

Background: In Beltran, the Mets hoped they were bringing in a multifaceted star center fielder. He had come off a 2004 season—split between Kansas City and Houston—where he hit .267 with 38 homers and 104 RBI, helping to lead Houston to a World Series appearance.

Prognosis: Beltran enjoyed a remarkable stretch from 2005-2008, hitting .275/.362/.505 with 117 home runs and 418 RBI plus excellent baserunning and defense. His best year was 2006, hitting .275/.388/.594 with 41 home runs and 116 RBIs. But he was slowed by knee problems and had surgery—with some controversy—in January 2010, missing more than half the season but returning in 2011 to hit 15 home runs and 84 RBI in his first 98 games. With his contract up at the end of the year, he was traded to the Giants before the trade deadline for Zack Wheeler. So far, that's turned out to be a pretty good swap.

4. Mike Piazza: seven years, $91 million (1999)

Background: Piazza spent a week with the Marlins—who acquired him from the Dodgers—in 1998 before the Mets landed him for a trio of players, including Preston Wilson, in what would turn out to be one of the most lopsided trades in franchise history.

Prognosis: Not much needs to be said about the legacy and impact Piazza had with the Mets organization. Six All-Star games, three 30-plus home run seasons, back-to-back 100-plus RBI seasons—and playoff appearances—in 1999 and 2000. He left at the end of his contract to play for San Diego and Oakland, but he'll be remembered primarily for what he did in Los Angeles and New York.

5. Jason Bay: four years, $66 million (2010)

Background: Bay had come off an excellent season with the Red Sox a year prior (.267/.384/.537, 36 HR, 119 RBI). That was enough for the Mets to ink him to a four-year pact that averaged $16.5 million a season.

Prognosis: Little needs to be said about Piazza and what he did for the Mets franchise, and that's also the case for Bay for the opposite reason as Piazza. He played 288 games in three seasons with the club, and in the season where he played the most games (2011), he hit just .245 with just 12 homers and 57 RBI. After a 2012 season in which he played just 70 games while dealing with a broken rib and a concussion, the Mets bought out the last year of his contract.