David Wright will not resume baseball activities for at least eight weeks, the Mets announced this morning in a press release. After being re-examined by Dr. Robert Watkins in Los Angeles, the release notes, “shoulder and lower back issues persist” for Wright, who has dealt with injuries in these two areas since 2014. Since the start of 2015, Wright has appeared in only 75 games, sitting through the rest due to various back and shoulder injuries, most likely related to the spinal stenosis that was diagnosed May 2015.
As MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo noted, this latest setback means that Wright will go at least two years without appearing in a Major League game. Wright’s last game for the Mets was May 27th, 2016, at home against the Dodgers: in that game, Wright hit the 242nd home run of his career, ten behind Darryl Strawberry for the Mets’ all-time record. He hit the disabled list shortly thereafter, and besides a brief, quickly-terminated rehab stint last August, has been off the field ever since. While some have called on him to retire, either for his own good or for the good of the franchise, Wright has promised that he will continue attempting to come back. He will retire, he has said, if doctors tell him that continuing to attempt to play will cause long-term health issues.
Wright’s current contract, signed after the 2012 season, lasts through 2020. As has often been pointed out, the Mets have maintained an insurance policy on it, which means they are currently recouping 75% of Wright’s salary for as long as he cannot play. This does not mean, however, that the Mets have an extra $15 million to spend (Wright’s 2018 salary is $20 million). In January, Jeff Wilpon, attempting to justify not increasing spending despite the influx of funds from insurance on Wright’s contract, said that some of that money must go to paying for the policy itself, which, Wilpon said, is “not cheap.” After 2018, if he does not retire, Wright’s salary will decrease to $15 million in 2019 and $12 million in 2020.
On Twitter, meanwhile, SNY’s Andy Martino summed up the news. “I recommend that you view all future updates on David Wright not with surprise, but as consistent with the reality that his career is likely over,” he wrote. “Which of course is a bummer.”