PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- New York Mets third baseman David Wright said he appreciates principal owner Fred Wilpon's praise, yet Wright nonetheless suggested that Wilpon labeling him his team's version of Derek Jeter perhaps was too kind a compliment.
"In my eyes, that's the ultimate compliment," Wright said Friday about being linked to the Yankees' shortstop. "I think it's somewhat undeserving. But it's humbling to be mentioned in the same sentence with him. I understand the rivalry within New York. At the same time, I don't think you can give a player a bigger compliment."
"The résumé kind of speaks for itself as far as what [Jeter's] done on the field. And, most importantly, he's got a handful of rings. Literally, a handful," said Wright, who has made one postseason appearance since his Mets debut in 2004. "I think that's most important. All in all, like I said, it's a tremendous compliment. I can't think of a bigger compliment."
The Mets, who drafted Wright with the 38th overall pick in 2001, signed Wright to an eight-year, $138 million contract in December.
Wilpon said he knew Wright would not end up playing for another team.
Although he just turned 30, Wright now ranks fourth among active major league players in games played (1,262) while working for only one organization. He trails only Jeter (2,585 games, all as a Yankee), first baseman Todd Helton (2,123, Colorado Rockies) and shortstop Jimmy Rollins (1,792, Philadelphia Phillies).
"David is a unique player. He's an All-Star," Wilpon said Wednesday while touring Mets camp. "I think David is an All-Star in all things. He's a great person. To me, he's our Jeter. And I think you need a core. I don't want to put it all on his shoulders. But he gets it. As far as I was concerned, he was not going anywhere."
That praise was a far cry from Wilpon's critical comments two years ago in a magazine article, when the principal owner labeled Wright a "really good kid. A very good player. Not a superstar."