What’s wrong with Wright?

“It won’t be long before the hits will start dropping in,” said David Wright after his miserable Wednesday afternoon in which he was called out twice on strikes.

Mechanically, Wright is off his game. He’s uppercutting his swing. He’s flatfooted at times. He doesn’t consistently take the ball to right field, which is when he’s at his best.

“I’ve been struggling,” Wright admits. “I have to start playing better.”

Talk radio is buzzing with those that want Wright out of here, but let’s not be stupid about things. The Mets aren’t going to trade him now or this winter. This is slump he’ll have to work his way out of, something he’s always done in the past and will again.

If the Mets weren’t playing the Phillies this weekend, I’d be tempted to sit him for a game to clear his head. But with this stretch against Philly and Atlanta, I don’t see Jerry Manuel sitting down his third baseman. The earliest he’d sit would be against Pittsburgh during the next homestand.

So, what to do?

The Mets pretty much have to stick with Wright until then. Ask yourself this: Who gives the Mets the better chance? Wright catching his form or going to the bench?

You’ll see Wright play this weekend in Philly and maybe he’ll get it going against the Phillies hapless rotation.

32 thoughts on “What’s wrong with Wright?

  1. Hi JD —

    I’ve been mostly lurking since your days at LoHud and figured it was time to jump back into the conversation. I don’t always agree with what you write, but I appreciate your analysis. The game day chats are great; your regular commenters bring a lot to the table! I enjoy the gallows sense of humor — it’s kind of requirement to be a Mets fan.

    Re DW: Do you think that he is getting mixed messages from HoJo and Shines? I think you mentioned that Shines has had an influence on the hitters and might be pushing HoJo out.

    I agree with one of the commenters here that DW might be taking too much on himself and trying to make up for the last two seasons all by himself. He’s a good player and seems to be a good guy. He’s portrayed as the face of the franchise. This is too much pressure for one guy to bear.

    I was a Willie Apologist for the longest time, but the team was better after he was fired so I eventually saw the firing as a good move. But now under Jerry they are still underachieving. And Ollie seemed to blossom after Warthen took over for Jacket, but now it’s back to the same old Coin Flip. (Only now he is a $12 million/year Coin Flip.) It’s clearer than ever that the team itself has problems that go beyond the manager and coaches.

    It’s going to be a long season.

  2. Omaha (1): I agree Wright puts too much pressure on himself. He always has. This just might be a deeper hole than anything before. … You’re right, the problem goes beyond the manager. It’s the players. It always is.-JD

  3. I think Manuel made one more gigantic error in moving Wright down in the order. Batting in front of a Delgado he would have gotten better pitches to hit than batting in front of Church and the rest. Therefore, his slump is exacerbated because he’s seeing less hittable pitches.
    Secondly, guys just have slumps…. A day off would have been good againbst the Fish but with a three man bench its kinda hard to do. This pressure thing better not be true., If wright can’t handle April pressure than what kind of guy will he be in the stretch or playoffs?
    I think the biggest problem is once again a manager who has lost his team. The threats to the starters, the platooning lines about Church, the Murphys my man before benching him for the has been, the absolutely pathetic Santos move yesterday,. the stubborness to prove he’s in charge by keeping Castillo in the 8 hole, I’m sure all he gets are rolling eyes anymore.

  4. A few comments:

    If Wright’s problem is that he is pressing, Manual needs to give him time off. He is clearly not responding well to more and more pressure situations (1st and 2nd, none out, 9th inning, down 1). Traditional baseball book says to give the guy the day off. I realize that Mets bench options may be limited, but put a guy on DL if necessary or carry one less pitcher. Tatis or Murphy should play 3rd for a game or two.

    Might Wright’s problems be more than that? Is he sleeping enough? Are his eyes 100%? The strikeouts are the most alarming part of this. Quietly, the Mets should investigate if there is more to this. Remember Dwight and Darryl? You never know, in NYC especially.

    Sheffield may be more of an issue too. Since he joined, roles have become questionable. 4 outfielder (plus Reed) was manageable, 5 is not. Tatis does not get enough playing time, and having Murphy and Church worried about their time has not helped.

    Failure to bunt yesterday and at the Sunday Brewers game is not getting enough attention. Does not matter who the batter is. Baseball book says down 1 run in late innings with none out and a runner on second, get him to third base with less than two out so you can score on outfield fly ball. I listed to Franscessa on WFAN yesterday and he said don’t bunt because you end up with Tatis and the bases loaded with one out. I would take that situation any day, any time. Tatis was 3-4 and was Mr Clutch last year. Would have loved to see him at plate and Superman playing over the PA.

  5. Are they absolutely certain there’s nothing wrong with Wright health-wise? I kept saying it was in his head, and people kept responding that it was just he’d changed his stance or was in a slump and would soon snap out of it. Yet the last couple of years, he would go into a funk late in the season and everybody said he was “tired” because he never got a day off. To me, he looks like he’s tired right now. I’ve heard people say he’s worn out because he played in the WBC. Worn out in April? There’s something not right here.

    If Wright is feeling so much pressure that he’s unable to perform, or if he’s fallen into some odd stance or physical tick that he can’t seem to snap out of and stopgap measures like moving him the batting order don’t work, there IS something going on in his head and they should address that. But if he keeps getting tired and giving him a day off doesn’t help, I hope they have at least given him a complete physical to rule out any underlying condition that could be affecting him, or worse, could have a serious impact on his health down the road.

  6. a complete physical? yes Jedi Master Minaya waked by and proclaimed. you feel well all is fine. now be on your way .. 😉

  7. david will be fine…he has proven to be consistent at the end of the yr with his #s but how he gets there is inconsistent..he is a streaky hitter and will get hot soon.

    i would like to sit him down friday in favor of tatis but we are playing at the phils and i think it would hurt his confidence/psyche even more to sit him in an early ‘big’ game..he’ll find his way. i have faith in him. we never have to worry his work ethic and i think his work will pay off

    deep breath david, we know you can do it. (GO TO RIGHT!)

  8. Two years ago, it was the pronounced leg kick, right?

    And, then, last year, it was him holding his bat horizontally (parallel to the ground), rather than upright?

    Now, this year, he’s got his left hip flung open, so that you can’t read his number before the pitch.

    At what point is Hojo held accountable for Wright’s mechanics-induced slumps?

    And how is it that I can see these things from the comfort of my own living room, while Met brass seems oblivious to them?

  9. tiffany- agreed on all accounts..i dont really know all that well the role of a hitting coach but all of your points are valid and i think fall on david AND hojo

  10. If you go back not too many years, Cal Ripkin would change his stance virtually every day. There was no hitting coach who could manage him, yet his manipulations put him in the HoF. Nobody other than Wright and HoJo know if Wright makes these changes on his own or with HoJos help. If HoJo is talking him into these changes then I say bye bye HoJo. If Wright’s is his own hitting Coach then HoJo can’t be help at fault. I do agree with jimmy Baltimore, that ultimately he’ll find his groove and end up with his normal output.
    (6) Great line Steve C.!!

  11. Too bad Wright can’t do what Keith Hernandez did on April 26, 1988. Hitting .158 at the time, he got divorced in the afternoon and than had two HR and 7 rbis in Atlanta, the first coming off a mediocrity named Tom Glavine. Said Mex after the game “If I got divorced everyday, I’d be broke but in the Hall of Fame.”
    Every day that goes by and every loss that pile up, convince me more and more that 2006 was the fluke, not 2007 and 2008.

  12. (10) “And how is it that I can see these things from the comfort of my own living room, while Met brass seems oblivious to them?”

    I find it hard to believe that Met brass is really oblivious to them. As Francesa said the other day when somebody called up and suggested that the Mets needed to show Wright tapes of how he was standing, Don’t you think they do that every single day? The question isn’t why Mets brass is oblivious, it’s why Wright doesn’t seem to be able to make the adjustments. And wasn’t he having these issues prior to HoJo becoming hitting coach?

    Sure, he’ll eventually come around and go on a hot streak. The problem is, right now he’s essentially a dead spot in the order. The Mets need some kind of consistency, and they’re not going to get it by waiting for everybody’s streaks to coincide!

  13. Pitching hitting, throwing darts. shooting pool.
    sometimes you just lose the move. and it takes a bit to slide back into it.
    Its a good excuse but the issue is .. still no results :-(

    The difference between Delgado and wright.
    Wright has a glove and can throw. if he was having issues with that it would be an issue.

  14. The ugly, unstated truth is that righthanders learned how to pitch to Wright in 2008. Last year was the first time we routinely saw Wright “get himself out” against righties.

  15. In the grand scheme. Right/Left shouldnt matter.
    Skill of the pitcher versus skill of the batter.

  16. Wright should trade his girlfriend Molly Beers to Brad Penny for Alyssa Milano.

  17. Isnt it funny how all the Mets who went to the wbc are having problems? Delgados hip, Beltrans leg, Ollies velocity. Today I read that Putz velocity is down from last year. Wright is having the worst stretch of his career. Its not just Mets either. Hamels, peavy, Oswalt Having Down years. Jroll hitting .206. Dice K on the DL. Lindstrom got hurt there. Thank the baseball gods Santana didnt go.

  18. Are you suggesting there’s a WBC conspiracy? I suppose we should be glad they didn’t all come back with swine flu.

    …or DID they….?

  19. Jeff, Thats a poor attempt at humor. I hope nobody you know gets the so called swine flu.

  20. A little off the subject hear. It’s funny how now all I hear on the media front is this Met team lacks heart. I’ve been saying this on this blog for 2+ years now. It took the media to figure this out this long. Unfortunately Omar Minya has assemble a team of characters that aren’t a formula for a winning team (playoffs, championship). If the Mets don’t make the playoffs this year the wilpons need to look at Omar Minya, not the manager. It’s obvious Wright is not right. I think Manuel should sit him and play Tatis until Wright gets his head on straight.

  21. The correct formula to build a winning team is through the draft. According to Omar Minya when he was hired as Met GM was that he was going to build a solid farm system. I’m still waiting Omar. All you have to do is look at the Redsox. That is the team that gets it. They have built there team through drafting and trading, not free agency. That’s how the Mets did it in the 80’s.

    .244 0 HRs 6 RBI’s 23 Ks.

    Do you remember his bad August in ’06 that everybody blamed on the HR derby? Its becoming apparent that when David is a mess it takes him a while to get back his stroke.

    He’s the least of this team’s problems.

  23. I’d drop him down to number 7 in the lineup temporarily, it might help take the pressure off and with a currently hot Castillo hitting behind him he might get to see some good pitches. When he’s back in the groove he can move back up to his usual place in the order.

  24. 25. Chiti- The voice of reason !! You are right, David does get off to some slow starts. I still maintain that the WBC is causing more injuries than it is worth. By the way, whats up with Reyes having only 4 SBs on May 1st?

  25. I am no fan of WBC or any non team game that occurs during regular season.
    even homerun derby… during regular season and october .. these guys should be in home team mode!

  26. Sam Borden writes in today’s Journal News (please forgive me, JD) comparing Wright’s start this year to Jeter’s start in 2004, when he went 32 straight at bats without a hit, but eventually turned it around. He says Mets fans have a right to boo, pointing out that when Jeter heard the catcalls, he said “They’re booing, but they want to cheer.” Exactly. We want Wright to do well — we’re just frustrated by these repeated, seemingly inexplicable slumps. And if the team as a whole was doing better, and hadn’t fallen on its face at the bitter end three years in a row, it wouldn’t be as much of an issue.

    Ray Sadecki, sorry you were offended by the swine flu reference. I wasn’t making fun of the flu; I was trying to say that it was just as likely that catching the flu at the WBC was responsible for Wright’s and other players’ problems as it was to blame the WBC itself. Come on! These are professional athletes, for goodness sake. You’re telling me that playing in a few extra games in the spring destroys them for the season? If they’re all that delicate, they shouldn’t be playing in the first place.

  27. A true fan should never BOO!. period. you can moan. you can groan. but never boo your own team.

    and yes it does ruin them , why? The WBC has their own rules and manager. who will want the players to follow his way of playing ball etc. the 2 shouldnt go together.

    after october, before Spring Training fine.
    Once you officially start earning your money again you belong to the team.

  28. “Once you officially start earning your money again you belong to the team.”

    Wow, SteveC — I haven’t heard talk like that since Curt Flood challenged the Reserve Clause!

  29. Well think about it. People sign non disclosure contracts when working.

    Playing for another team falls in line with that. WBC is not the METS.