"For me, personally, last year sucked," said Wright, who struggled all last season with an injured shoulder, before shutting his season down in September. "I want to make sure that never happens again. If I do what I’m capable of doing, we’re a different lineup."
Wright, Lucas Duda, Jon Niese, Bobby Parnell, Travis d’Arnaud, Ruben Tejada and up to 25 others players from the organization are currently in Port St. Lucie attending the team's offseason conditioning program with new strength coordinator Mike Barwis.
“I fully expect us to be in the playoffs,’’ Wright later told Kernan. “It’s not coming out here and boasting, but I think - where we stand right now - we’re a much better team than we were last year and in years past. You win with young, dominant pitching and we have quite a bit of that. And,offensively, we are going to be better than we have been."
Wright says his shoulder is pain free and he is currently hitting of a tee and doing soft toss, which is what he would normally doing this time of year.
“David sets the example, he's our guy,’’ Duda told Kernan, adding that he too believes the Mets can make the playoffs in 2015. “If he maintains his health through 162, I think we’ve got a pretty good shot. There is no doubt in my mind he is going to return to the guy he is.’’
Matt Harvey, Zack Wheeler, Jacob deGrom, Sandy Alderson and Terry Collins have all made similar comments this winter about their team expecting to make the playoffs this season (MetsBlog, Dec. 2014).
“It’s very important that from Day 1 these expectations and these goals, no matter what the expectations are from the outside, the expectations from the inside are that we are preparing to be a playoff team," Wright concluded. “That is where the bar is set. The bar is not set to be just better than last year or to be a .500 team. The bar is set to be a playoff team.’’
To read details, including first-hand reaction from Duda and Niese, as well as Jeff Wilpon, about Barwis and the program in St. Lucie, check out Kernan's outstanding report in the New York Post.