David Wright is one of the best players in New York Mets history. You can’t deny that fact. He is the team’s all time leader in almost every offensive category and is not far off Darryl Strawberry’s club record for home runs. No matter your opinion on Wright you can’t deny what he has done for this franchise. And, deservingly so, his number 5 will one day hang on Citi Field’s left field wall.
But Wright needs to bounce back this year. Last year was a complete disaster. After an encouraging Opening Day where Wright went 3-5 with a home run, his luck seemed to run out as he it was all downhill from that point. A shoulder injury nagged him most of the year, and his performance was not that good. Career lows in almost every category prove that.
Now, it’s entirely possible that his shoulder was the cause for all of these issues, and was worse than Wright let on. It wouldn’t be the first time he downplayed an injury. But, he is 32 and has an injury history, so it’s reasonable to be worried about him. He carries a huge contract and is the cornerstone piece of this team.
He is team captain and the face of the franchise. The Mets need him to perform. And since Citi Field opened, he hasn’t been reliable. His power hasn’t been what it was in his ’06-’07-’08 glory days when he was a perennial MVP candidate. He’s been able to become a more all around, ‘pure’ hitter, and has been able to hold on to his status as an elite third baseman.
But injuries have been an issue.
Wright missed most of the 2011 season with a broken bone his back (which he played with for a month), missed two weeks in ’09 with a concussion, had a hamstring pull in ’13, and his already-mentioned shoulder injury last year. Now, 2013 was a great year for Wright before his injury, and 2009 wasn’t all that bad besides his power drop off. But, 2011 and 2014 were bad.
The worry is that the Mets gave up a lot of payroll they don’t have to waste, to an aging injury-prone third baseman. So, the pressure is on Wright to lead this team to the promised land. To stay healthy, and hit like an all-star.
I believe in Wright. He’s by far my favorite player now, and is with Mike Piazza as my favorite player of all-time. So I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt. He’s earned it with his 7 all-star games, top 5 MVP finishes, Mets records, and taking a pay cut to stay with a last-place team.
Yes, the 8-year, $138-million contract was a pay cut.
The way deals are given out now, Wright would have gotten $200 million somewhere. But he does need to perform. This team is close to breaking out, and it needs a star bat in the middle of the lineup. He’s done that before, and he needs to keep doing it. He needs to stay healthy, and he needs to step up at the plate.
I’ll never understand some fans’ criticism of Wright. He can’t be ‘unclutch’ because let’s face it: how many ‘clutch’ opportunities has he had lately? He is committed to this team. He wants to be here, to stick with one team like Cal Ripken, Derek Jeter, and Chipper Jones. He is the teams leader. He’ll always have my unwavering support. But, for whatever reason, he still has something to prove to Mets fans.
He’s under pressure to prove them wrong, to prove the Mets made the right decision to choose him to lead the Mets. He’s under pressure to bring Mets fans their first ring since Wright himself was in preschool. And, there is no doubt that Wright is up to the challenge.