David Wright wasn't even in his new role for over a month before GM Brodie Van Wagenen came forward following Jacob deGrom's extension to say the former captain was a vital piece in making the highly-anticipated new deal come to fruition.
That is exactly what the Mets and Wright envisioned when he took the special advisor role with the team following his final season in the blue and orange last year. Wright's years not only as a leader on the field, but in the clubhouse has given him invaluable experience that Van Wagenen and Jeff Wilpon are using wisely so far this season.
"What I think is great is Brodie and Jeff wanting a player's perspective on some things, bouncing ideas off of a guy that -- I don't know much about front office work -- but I do know the difference in some of the very good teams that I've played on and kinda the chemistry that we had in that clubhouse," Wright told SNY's Steve Gelbs during Wednesday's game against the Padres. "I think sometimes that often gets overlooked and it's easy to go out there and try to get the best players. Obviously, that's important, but what goes on behind the scenes in the clubhouse and how they gel and how they get on that same side of the rope and pull together to accomplish that goal I think is important as well. I think it's that type of perspective that I can bring to the table."
Not only did the Mets bring on advisors like Wright and Jessica Mendoza this offseason, but their analytics department was also beefed up. Analytics have evolved the way front office put together a team, and teams like the Rays, for example, have used the system to their advantage.
But, as Wright makes note, their is also a human side to baseball that needs to be factored in. That marriage between both sides is exactly what the Mets are trying to accomplish.
"This is my opinion: Analytics are great and I used them toward the end of my career," Wright explained. "But also there's a human element to it and I think both Brodie and Jeff get that, and I think that's where former players can be valuable in saying that 'OK, yes this specific player is a plus in the field performance wise, but he's a negative in the clubhouse.' So, therefore, maybe take a little bit of the less-talented guy, but the guy that's really going to bring it everyday in the clubhouse and be that type of leader."
There are a couple of Mets that check both boxes when it comes to analytics and being a team player in Jeff McNeil and Pete Alonso. Both players came up through the Mets' system, and this spring training, the team knew they needed to travel north with both of them on the roster.
McNeil didn't necessarily have a spot on the team, especially with Robinson Cano joining the pack. But, with his bat showing much promise, the Mets were confident that his versatility would allow him to make a clean transition into the outfield to be featured in the lineup more, and allow Cano to play his natural position at second base. So far, so good on that call.
Alonso has also lived up to the hype. His power bat has been on full display, and his defense has been better than advertised. Wright has definitely loved what he has seen from the hopeful Rookie of the Year, especially his monster home run last night that gave the Mets the win.
"I was driving in from like over there at some point this morning," Wright said pointing to left field, "and I think I picked up Pete Alonso's [home run] ball from last night. That thing was an absolute moonshot. But it's been really cool, both those guys, I rehabbed with over the last couple of years and got to know them on a personal level. I'm really glad to see both of them succeed because you want to see homegrown guys make it to this level and be part of that core and it certainly seems both those guys are headed in that direction."
Wright's opinion will continued to be coveted by the Mets, and as the season progresses, it will become more important during times like the trade deadline when New York looks to hopefully bolster their roster for a postseason push.