David Wright: “I’m not dying”

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Mets third baseman David Wright had surgery on Tuesday to repair a torn rotator cuff. It was just the latest in a serious of major health issues that have kept Wright off the field for all but 75 games over the past three seasons.

Yesterday he met the New York press to talk about his latest surgery. The first few questions he received skewed dire, focusing on his legacy and the presumed end of his career and stuff. Wright felt the need to remind everyone in the room that, in the grand scheme, he’s OK:

“There’s a lot of questions like I’m dying. I’m not dying.”

Of course, given the history of less-than-forthcoming injury updates from the Mets, this should likely be viewed skeptically. Perhaps we should dispatch a reporter to the courthouse to see if anyone has filed a death certificate?

Seriously, though, the questions about Wright’s future are not out of line. Given the nature of his injuries, his age and the time he’s missed, it’s not unfair to ask whether he thinks he’ll ever play again. For Wright’s part he says he’s not done, though he did acknowledge yesterday that his days as a third baseman may be over. And he’s not making any guarantees that he’ll return. But he’s going to try:

“I still feel that there’s something I have to give. There’s only one way to find that out, [and that] is to get back out on the field and see what’s there.”

It’s unfortunate that what should be the end of Wright’s prime and the beginning of a long, gradual descent towards retirement, filled with “is he a Hall of Famer?” discussion has been replaced with questions about whether he’ll ever play again. Baseball can be tough on a body, though. Far tougher on some than others and, sadly, Wright is one of the some.

Here’s hoping he defies expectations and has a last hurrah in him.

Shohei Ohtani agrees to $30 million deal for 2023 with Angels

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

ANAHEIM, Calif. — Shohei Ohtani agreed to a $30 million deal with the Los Angeles Angels for the 2023 season in the two-way superstar’s final year of arbitration eligibility before free agency.

The Angels announced the deal, avoiding a potentially complicated arbitration case with the 2021 AL MVP.

Ohtani’s deal is fully guaranteed, with no other provisions. The contract is the largest ever given to an arbitration-eligible player, surpassing the $27 million given to Mookie Betts by the Boston Red Sox in January 2020, a month before he was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Ohtani is having another incredible season at the plate and on the mound for the Angels, regularly accomplishing feats that haven’t occurred in the major leagues since Babe Ruth’s heyday. He is a strong contender for the AL MVP award again alongside the Yankees’ Aaron Judge, who has tied the AL home run record and is closing in on the batting Triple Crown.

Ohtani is batting .276 with 34 homers, 94 RBIs and a .888 OPS as the Halos’ designated hitter. He is 15-8 with a 2.35 ERA and 213 strikeouts as their ace on the mound, and opponents are batting only .207 against him.

The 28-year-old Ohtani still will be a free agent after the 2023 season, and his future could be tied to the immediate fortunes of the Angels, who will complete their seventh consecutive losing season next week. The Angels didn’t trade Ohtani at the deadline despite being out of the playoff race again, and Ohtani is wildly popular among the club’s fans.

Ohtani repeatedly has said winning will be an important factor in choosing his home beyond 2023, and Angels owner Arte Moreno is currently exploring a sale of the team.

Moreno’s leadership has been widely criticized during the Angels’ mostly miserable run of play since 2009, and a fresh start with deep-pocketed new owners could be the best chance to persuade Ohtani to stay with the franchise he joined in 2018 from Japan. Ohtani immediately won the AL Rookie of the Year award, and he rounded into unique form last season after recovering fully from Tommy John surgery.