David Wright was one of three Mets players selected to represent the team at the announcement of the 50th anniversary season Nov. 16 at Citi Field. I was on hand to cover the event for Metsmerized.
Wright discussed a multitude of topics, while noting that he likes the team’s new uniforms and that his back is feeling very good after missing time last season due to injury.
He said it’s been an honor to be a Met and that many great players have came before him. Growing up as a Met fan in Virginia, playing for the Mets has carried much more significant weight.
Wright remembers emulating Darryl Strawberry’s swing and Doc Gooden’s delivery in his backyard. He said his favorite Mets memory is Mike Piazza’s healing home run after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. Wright wants to be remembered, but he feels he must win something first in order to do so.
He also addressed the fences moving in at Citi Field. As a hitter, he’s definitely in favor of making the ballpark more hitter-friendly, but he thinks the change can also help the pitchers since the outfielders will be able to track down more would-be extra-base hits. The next step is for the Mets (just the Mets, of course) to hit some home runs to show this was a good change.
Wright has heard the trade rumors, but he said that comes with the territory. If it happens, it happens, he said, but he is currently preparing to be the third baseman for the New York Mets and would be surprised with anything otherwise.
“I don’t make those decisions,” Wright said. “I learned at a young age especially being in New York that those rumors are going to circulate. I’ve made it very clear that I enjoy playing here, but ultimately that’s a decision that I have zero control over.”
But in the meantime, Jose Reyes is testing the waters of free agency. Wright understands the business side of the game and that tough decisions have to be made every offseason.
“Jose’s a great player,” said Wright. “Obviously nothing is official. The organization values him the way I value him. I think he’s one of the premier players in baseball. What he brings to the team is more than what you just see on the field.”
Reyes has been rumored to have received a six-year, $90 million contract offer from the Miami Marlins. He seemed to hit it off with the Marlins brass when they met.
“He’s [Reyes] become almost like a brother to me,” said Wright. “It seems like we’ve been together forever. It would be weird seeing him in a different uniform.”
Though Wright would love to see Jose back in a Mets uniform, he acknowledged that Reyes has earned the right to test the open market based on his performance, especially coming off a season in which he won the batting title.
Wright has been staying in touch with Reyes via text messages the last few weeks, but none are related to baseball. Reyes seems in good sprits, according to Wright.
Based on Reyes’ track record with the Mets, Wright hopes the Mets will at least be given a chance to sit down with Jose and present a counter offer to whatever he has received. Though he might be overly optimistic, Wright said his gut feeling is that Reyes will be wearing “orange and blue” in 2012.
Don’t we all hope he’s correct?
As for the rest of the offseason, the team will have a large chunk of payroll coming off the books. Wright feels confident that General Manager Sandy Alderson will do what’s best for the team from an organizational standpoint.
“You want to sign good players, but also you have to have a plan,” Wright said. “Just because you have some money left over, you can’t just go out there and start handing out these big, long, crazy contracts. That’s kind of what got us into a little bit of trouble.”
With a year left on his contract and a team option for 2013, Wright is aware that anything can change at any time. For now, he will remain focused on rising up the challenge of fielding a competitive team this season.
If Wright can lead the Mets to a World Series crown sometime in his tenure, he will be a staple in the team’s next 50 years of existence.