David Wright sees brighter future
Wright is bullish about his future on and off the diamond.
Wright, always an early arrival to spring training, this time plans to report to Port St. Lucie, Fla., a week before the Super Bowl -- a full four weeks before the official Feb. 20 report date for position players.
The team captain believes the Mets will be "substantially" better in 2014 when compared with last year's 74-88 showing, although he did not go so far as to predict the ballclub would unseat the Atlanta Braves or Washington Nationals atop the NL East.
General manager Sandy Alderson signed outfielders Curtis Granderson (four years, $60 million) and Chris Young (one year, $7.25 million) and right-hander Bartolo Colon (two years, $20 million) to free-agent contracts this winter.
The Mets will be without ace Matt Harvey for the entire season, however, while he rehabs from Tommy John surgery performed Oct. 22.
Alderson has been trying to trade first baseman Ike Davis with no success. So Davis appears likely to be in camp with the Mets.
"I'm sure Sandy is still trying to make the team better. In what capacity I'm not sure," Wright said. "But I do think when we take the field Opening Day this year we will substantially be better than when we took the field last year. I'm not sure how many wins that correlates into. Only going out there and playing the game will tell. But there's no question in my mind that I love the moves we've made."
Wright, 31, married longtime girlfriend Molly Beers in California in late December. He said the whole team received invitations to the wedding and "most of them showed -- the vast majority."
"For me it's the next step to growing up and the next step for me in life," he said. "Everything went great. I'm in a good place. I'm happy."
There will not be any other additions to the family anytime soon, though.
"No, no, no," Wright said about children at this point, repeating "no" seven more times.
Wright added his offseason mostly has been "super normal."
He split the offseason working out in his native Virginia and in Port St. Lucie, where the Mets have their spring-training complex and Wright owns a home.
The primary reason he is arriving even earlier to spring training than usual is because a clubhouse staffer in Florida was diagnosed with cancer and Wright is organizing a Super Bowl fundraiser to assist him.
With a season remaining on his existing contract, Wright formally agreed to an eight-year, $138 million deal in December 2012 that superseded his previous pact.
Wright otherwise would have been eligible for free agency this offseason. Even after the $240 million megadeal Robinson Cano signed with the Seattle Mariners, Wright indicated he had no regrets about his decision to re-sign with the Mets and give a hometown discount.
"If I wanted to try to make every single last dollar that I could, there's a good chance I probably wouldn't be with this organization," Wright said. "And that's not what I wanted. I wanted to get what I thought was a fair deal to me, a fair deal for the team. Hopefully both sides felt comfortable with it. Just me, I feel very comfortable with it and I feel very grateful for the contract I got."
As for 2014, Wright said he does not begrudge the Mets' payroll right now only being about $86 million -- far below the level a major-market team typically possesses.
That arguably has kept the Mets from being more aggressive in pursuing Drew. It also has meant valuable pieces such as reliever LaTroy Hawkins defecting to the Colorado Rockies, even though Hawkins received a raise from $1 million in 2013 with the Mets to $2.5 million for the upcoming season.
"As far as I'm concerned, and I'm sure a lot of fans think the same way, you want to go out there and sign everybody, because it's not our money," Wright said. "But when you have a budget, when you have a general manager that is as meticulous as Sandy is as far as evaluating players -- setting a price tag on a player and saying, 'Hey, this is our ceiling' -- then you can't go with what you think is overspending. That's how you don't gain that payroll flexibility.
"And I'm not saying there's a right way or a wrong way. I'm just saying that I think that's Sandy's thought process. Once you set that ceiling, you have to let him walk, or where do you draw the line on other players? I experienced that negotiating with Sandy."
One move Alderson has not made so far is trading Davis, despite how public the trade discussions have been, particularly between the Mets and Milwaukee Brewers. The Mets also have Lucas Duda to play first base.
"It's a strange situation," Wright said. "I've kept in touch with Ike throughout the winter -- not just because of this, but because we've become pretty good friends. I think the biggest message that it's my responsibility, that it's our responsibility, to convey to Ike is: You want to be wanted, if that makes sense. As much as his name has been mentioned with trade talk, we obviously value Ike substantially or else we probably would have traded him by now.
"So we have a fairly high price tag on Ike. We value Ike. And, ultimately, I think Ike is a heckuva player. I know that we have a few guys that can play first base, but he's got to come in with the mindset of being motivated.
"I'm sure he's going to want to go out there and get off to a strong start and silence everybody that wanted to trade him. That's good motivation. That should light a fire under him. I don't think he's going to take it personally. He understands the business side of it."
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