David Wright signed his $138 million, eight-year contract extension back in December and is excited to see the young power arms the Mets are developing in spring training. For right now though, the Mets third baseman has reported to Phoenix to join Team USA for the World Baseball Classic.
In the 2009 World Baseball Classic, Wright came up huge for his country by delivering a game-winning single against Puerto Rico to stave off elimination for the United States. He is looking forward to this international baseball tournament and explains in the following interview its importance to MLB players.
David Wright joined 660 WFAN in New York with Mike Francesa to discuss his impressions of Matt Harvey and Zack Wheeler, playing in the World Baseball Classic, the intensity of the event, the New York Mets turning the corner and the Mets learning from the second half of last season.
What do you think of the new young guys in Matt Harvey and Zack Wheeler?
“I think it goes beyond those guys. We got some young power arms. Rafael Montero last night threw the ball well from what I hear on the road against the Nationals and it goes well beyond them. The pitching department, we are deep.”
Is this a big deal for you to play in the World Baseball Classic?
“It is. It really is. We take a lot of pride in this and it’s something that’s a special time. I got a chance to play in the one in 2009. Making it to that final round was a big deal for us. Hopefully we can make it even further this time. It’s a good time and you take a lot of pride putting that uniform on for sure.”
I can sense the players love playing in the World Baseball Classic. I know it’s an exhibition, but you’re going to play very hard, right?
“It’s intense. If you could see — we have a meeting … in Phoenix and you can just tell in the meeting that in Team USA, when the staff and the organization get up to address the team, you can hear the intensity in their voices. From our first workout last time until obviously we were eliminated, it was intense. It’s no exhibition by any means.”
Do you sense the Mets are turning a corner and things are looking up?
“Oh, we have the pieces. There’s no question we have the pieces. It’s just a matter of getting these young guys to reach their potential to keep working, to make sure they see some of these guys that have been here for a long time and the work they put in and try to mimic that and start getting that winning attitude. And I really think when you have that taste of winning and when you start out the season hot, it becomes addicting and those young players start believing and buying into the system, and that’s when things really start clicking. But we definitely have the pieces and now it’s just a matter of these guys reaching their potential and fitting these pieces of the puzzle together.”
What did this team learn from the second half of last year?
“I think the biggest thing is staying healthy and that would help. But also we had a lot of young players last year kind of learning on the job where they may have been exposed a little bit, but they got that experience and that was the important thing. Now it’s a matter of putting those two halves together and going out there and doing what we were able to do in the first half and carrying that over and picking up momentum in the second half, so I think it’s important we gain that experience with some of the players that maybe weren’t quite ready for an everyday role that got thrown in that last year and they now are ready for that this year. They got that experience and learned on the job, so that’s a positive moving forward.”