David Wright is set to see a back specialist but the Mets may not be responsible for his entire contract if he ends up on the disabled list for an extended period of time. Wright was diagnosed with spinal stenosis over the weekend, and according to FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal, the Mets insured Wright's contract.
Once Wright is out for 60 days, Rosenthal notes the Mets would "recoup 75 percent of his contract" while he is still not able to play. Wright will determine what action needs to be taken moving forward after consulting with a specialist in California. Ultimately, New York is hoping Wright will be healthy, however if he is unable to play for at least the next few months, the club will not be financially responsible.
New York signed Wright to an extensive contract after the 2012 campaign and he established himself as a consistent third base option, playing in 112 games in 2013 and 134 games last season. The deal will pay Wright, who has only played in eight games in 2015, $20 million a season for each of the next four seasons, $15 million in 2019, and $12 million in 2020.
Wright, 32, has not made an appearance since April 14 and was subsequently placed on the disabled list after pulling his right hamstring. The Mets were optimistic as Wright was prepared to begin his rehab assignment but the organization shut him down again on May 6 after he suffered from back problems. Despite being cleared to resume baseball activities, Wright's rehab was shut down again three weeks later.
While New York was not initially convinced the injury was notably serious, Wright was diagnosed with lumbar spinal stenosis last weekend. Comparable versions of the ailment ended the careers of Lenny Dykstra and New York Giants running back David Wilson, however NYU director of spine service Dr. Jeffrey Goldsetin told Newsday the outcome "really depends on the patient."
The Mets, after a 5-4 victory over the Phillies on Tuesday night, are sitting at 26-21, good for second place in the National League East. New York has had difficulty scoring runs early in 2015 and the loss of Wright will likely not make scoring any easier. Eric Campbell (.185/.306/.284 in 25 games) and Dilson Herrera were both expected to replace Wright at third base, however Herrera was placed on the disabled list with a broken finger. Wilfredo Tovar and Alex Castellanos are minor league options, and while the Mets could add a third baseman via a trade, General Manager Sandy Alderson told the New York Post it may be too early to determine if the Mets need a long-term replacement for Wright. Prospect Matt Reynolds may be a candidate, however he has never played third base at the professional level.
Surgery is not considered to be an option for Wright at this point, according to Mike Puma of the New York Post, but if the Mets find themselves in contention without Wright, adding a third baseman might become a goal. New York will continue to monitor Wright's status, but if he does not take the field for 60 days, the club could spend elsewhere since his contract is insured.