By Zach Gewelb
It looks like David Wright is attempting another come back.
The Mets’ captain hasn’t played in a major league game since May 2016 and has battled multiple injuries, including three surgeries. Still, Wright is admirably attempting to make it back to The Show. But that may not be the best idea.
First, I want to applaud Wright, 35, for his dedication and effort in trying to make a comeback. But we’ve seen this movie before. He attempted comebacks in each of the last two seasons, to no avail. One step forward, two steps back.
This time around, it appears he has acknowledged it could be his last chance.
“I haven’t thought much about it, but since I have been in the big leagues it’s been over two years, so at some point if physically I can do it, great, and if physically I can’t, that’s a whole different conversation,” Wright told the New York Post Monday.
Wright also acknowledged that he can’t really throw anymore, which is a big problem, being that he still considers himself a third baseman.
“I do what I’m told, and for now I am taking all my balls at third base and I haven’t heard anything different,” Wright said. “Until that day comes, I will be staying over at third base.
Wright has began a minor league rehab assignment with High-A St. Lucie. In his first two games, he’s gone 0-4 at the plate with three strike outs and one walk. It’s certainly been a slow start for the former slugger.
And while its possible he can turn it around at the plate, it’s just as likely that he can’t. And if he can’t hit and can’t throw, he has no value on the field. Baseball is not an easy sport to begin with, but when you take into account the amount of time Wright has been sidelined, chances are slim he can return to being an effective major leaguer.
That being said, his presence around the big league club could be paramount down the stretch. Not in terms of wins and losses —the Mets season has essentially been a lost cause —but because of his clubhouse presence.
One of Wright’s best traits as a player was his leadership ability. His calmness and confidence in the clubhouse helped make his teammates better. And as currently constructed, the Mets don’t really have someone on the roster who can fill that role. In fact, they haven’t since 2016.
Yoenis Cespedes isn’t that guy. Asdrubal Cabrera was a solid veteran presence the last couple of years, but he was never the player the Wright was. Jay Bruce also fits into that category. Curtis Granderson was a leader, but was a shell of the player he once was as his time with the Mets came to an end.
Wright can still be a positive influence on this team. He may not be able to play any more. But he can bring stability to the clubhouse as a coach or advisor and help usher in the next generation of Mets. Amed Rosario, Michael Conforto, Brandon Nimmo and Dom Smith are all talented young players who can use some guidance. Perhaps Wright can help the talented bunch reach their full potential.
Again, you have to applaud Wright’s effort in making his latest comeback. But it’s just not meant to be. Wright needs to come to terms with the fact that he is no longer a player and, if he chooses, step into a role within the organization where he can still make a difference.
Reach reporter Zach Gewelb by e-mail at zgewe