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Mets’ David Wright to return for one final homestand

Mets fans will get a chance to see a beloved franchise icon take the field at least one more time.

Philadelphia Phillies v New York Mets Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images

The Mets announced Thursday afternoon that third baseman David Wright will be activated from the disabled list on September 25 and be on the active roster for the team’s final homestand, with a start at third base scheduled for September 29 — the team’s second-to-last home game.

While Wright didn’t explicitly announce his retirement — that would mean forfeiting the rest of the money on his contract, and the franchise has reasons to keep him on the 40-man roster that are outlined below — he made it clear that he doesn’t envision himself playing again after this final send-off:

The 35-year-old Wright hasn’t played in a major-league game since May 27, 2016 and played in only 75 games between 2015-16 due to complications from spinal stenosis, a narrowing of the spinal column. But in his heyday — one that certainly would have lasted much longer had his body not betrayed him — he was one of the best players in baseball. Over 13 major-league seasons, all spent with the Mets, Wright was a seven-time All-Star, two-time Gold Glove winner, and two-time Silver Slugger while posting a .296/.376/.491 career slash line with 242 home runs and 196 stolen bases. He was named the Mets’ captain in 2013, and it’s very possible that he’ll be the final major-leaguer ever to fill that role on an official basis.

Baseball-Reference WAR ranks Wright (50.4 career WAR) as the top position player in Mets history, and the No. 2 player overall behind Tom Seaver. It’s not even particularly close; the next-best is Darryl Strawberry, who accumulated 36.6 bWAR in a Mets uniform. Because his career was cut short, it’s extremely unlikely that he’ll reach the Hall of Fame, but during his prime he really did play like a Hall of Famer. Utilizing Jay Jaffe’s JAWS metric, which is used to determine how deserving players are of Hall of Fame status, Wright had a seven-year peak WAR of 40.2. The average Hall of Fame third baseman — of which there are only 14 — finished with a seven-year peak WAR of 43.0, just a little bit better than Wright’s.

While Wright will almost certainly never play again after this season, it’s very possible that he’ll remain on the Mets’ 40-man roster through the end of his 14-year, $192 million contract, which expires following the 2020 season. The Mets, always financially conscious, will be able to continue collecting insurance on his contract that way. The Rangers encountered a similar issue with Prince Fielder, who retired in 2016 — the second season of a nine-year, $214 million deal. Fielder stayed on Texas’ roster through the end of the 2016 campaign and through all of last season, but he was released in October after the Rangers came to an agreement with the insurance company.