PORT ST. LUCIE — David Wright’s first Mets spring training as a non-player began Monday in a polo shirt and dress slacks, hurrying to a morning meeting.
Later this week Wright will be at the team’s minor league complex working with the third basemen. Mostly, he is around camp to answer questions general manager Brodie Van Wagenen and the players might have for him.
Welcome to Wright’s world as a Mets special adviser.
“It’s a little bit of everything,” the former team captain said at First Data Field before he watched the Mets face the Nationals in an exhibition game. “I get a text now and then or a phone call now and then, I have got my hands on some reports. It’s really fun to be a part of.”
Wright played his final game last September, ending a 2 ½-year rehab from physical problems caused largely by spinal stenosis. Though not officially retired, the 36-year-old Wright was removed from the 40-man roster in the offseason as he collects the $27 million he is owed over the next two seasons. The Mets have received an insurance settlement that covers a large percentage of that sum.
Wright attended the winter meetings in Las Vegas at Van Wagenen’s behest and offered his opinions on players. He expects there will be scouting assignments during the season and possibly visits to the minor league affiliates. Mostly, he will serve as a sounding board for the rookie GM.
“This morning I got in and we sat in his office for a good hour just talking baseball,” Wright said. “He loves it and there’s some days [on the phone] it’s, ‘Hey, Brodie, I have got to pick my daughter up from preschool now, I have got to go, can you wrap this up?’ I think he just loves talking the game, with me being fresh off the field, to pick my brain a little bit.”
Wright said he misses the playing field — to a certain extent.
“I don’t miss the physical aspect, but I miss talking the game,” he said. “I miss performing, the big at-bat with runners in scoring position. I miss that feeling. I miss the preparation and the ins and outs of getting ready.”
Wright’s former teammates John Franco and Al Leiter are also serving as advisers to Van Wagenen. All three former Mets have been around the clubhouse, willing to listen and offer opinions to players.
“These guys, the last thing they need is another coach,” Wright said. “But I think whether it’s talking about positioning or footwork or whatever questions that they may have that they can bounce ideas off me. Even if it’s off-the-field stuff.
“That was important for me when I got called up, as a younger player having guys like Al and Johnny here to be able to ask the questions that seem dumb, but help you get more comfortable in the clubhouse.”
Asked about Wright’s role with the team, Noah Syndergaard admitted he was unaware his former teammate had a new title. When Syndergaard was told of the special adviser’s title, he expressed skepticism Wright will be too involved in the organization.
“I think with the tenure and career he’s had, he can just kick back and relax and call that being an adviser,” Syndergaard said. “He has an adviser role, but I think it’s going to be more of a lackadaisical approach. If I were him that is what I would do. Enjoy your retirement and hang out and watch baseball and not try to do too much.”
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