“The winter meetings are nuts,” Wright said.
He also said how “weird” it was to be in Port St. Lucie for the first time as something other than a player. On Monday, Wright said he fretted over what to wear now that playing games was not part of his routine. He chose a golf shirt and slacks, and looked very much like an executive.
The front-office roles seem like a natural development for all three, who exerted a particularly strong influence in the clubhouse as players — especially Franco. Wright was a quieter leader, but as he grew older he knew what was expected of him. During spring training in 2015, the year the Mets went to the World Series, Wright confronted Syndergaard, then a rookie, for eating lunch in the clubhouse during a game, instead of being in the dugout to support his teammates.
Wright also had the humility to later apologize to Syndergaard for challenging him in front of reporters that day. Syndergaard, when asked what he remembered from Wright’s days as a clubhouse leader, said he did not recall his emotions from that time. But he noted that with all of Wright’s accomplishments, including earning more than $160 million, Wright did not need to continue punching a clock.
“The tenure and career that he has had, he could just kick back and relax and call it being an adviser,” Syndergaard said, and added, “If I were him, that’s what I would do.”
But the 36-year-old Wright, who was forced to retire after missing virtually all of the last two seasons with back and neck injuries, still yearns to be involved, even if he will do some from California, where he lives with his wife and daughters.
From his base there, he can scout high school and professional players and provide Van Wagenen with insight about current major leaguers he played with and against, all while gaining insight into the role of an executive.