Dec 11

Terry Collins Said David Wright Deals With Pressure

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – David Wright told me yesterday how much Curtis Granderson will mean to the New York Mets on the field and in the clubhouse.

One thing Wright will never admit is, as team captain, whether he ever felt he was drained by being “the man’’ and if Granderson would alleviate pressure. Doing so would admit feeling the pressure. That’s something he’s never done, and won’t ever. It isn’t in his professional DNA.

WRIGHT: Handles pressure.

WRIGHT: Handles pressure.

Manager Terry Collins can read a player by looking into his eyes and watching body language. He was asked if he ever sees a sign of mental fatigue from Wright.

“The answer is no, I don’t,’’ Collins said.  “David Wright is the consummate pro.  He knows exactly what’s expected, deals with it, and he deals with it with a smile.’’

There are times when he tries to carry the Mets on his shoulders. He’s done that for years, but team leaders always fall into that trap. That’s what team leaders do.

“Does he once in a while try to be the guy?  Yes,’’ Collins said.  “But he’s supposed to because he is the guy.  That’s why I think he’s a great player.’’

When the Mets need a key hit, Wright often delivers. He has a .375 average and 1.123 OPS when the Mets win and .243 average and .700 OPS when they lose. He hits .295 with men on base and .284 with runners in scoring position. His .407 on-base percentage with runners in scoring position is indicative of teams pitching around him.

Since Carlos Beltran and Carlos Delgado left, Wright has been the go-to guy for the Mets in critical situations. He’s always said he relishes those situations.

“You know, when the game is on the line, you look and guys are turning to David Wright to be the guy that comes through,’’ Collins said.  “I think he handles it great.’’

Granderson, despite his propensity for striking out, hit over 80 homers in 2011-2012. When he hit 41 homers in 2011, his home-road breakdown was 21-20, so he can hit outside of Yankee Stadium. Granderson is not an easy out, so pitchers might be less reluctant to pitch around Wright, at least in theory.

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Dec 10

David Wright Likes Curtis Granderson Signing On Many Levels

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – Where Curtis Granderson will fit in with the New York Mets outfield is still to be determined, David Wright has no doubt he does fit with his team.

Granderson is penciled in to hit fourth behind Wright, giving him the protection he hasn’t had since Carlos Beltran and Carlos Delgado were here. Manager Terry Collins doesn’t know which of the three outfield positions Granderson will play, but Wright said wherever he plays, he provides an immediate upgrade.

WRIGHT: Likes Granderson signing on many levels.

WRIGHT: Likes Granderson signing on many levels.

“Curtis instantly makes us a better team both offensively and defensively,’’ Wright said in an email.

Offensively, Granderson hit 40 homers with the Yankees, but even with Citi Field’s spacious dimensions, he should be good for at least 25.

Defensively, he’s a natural centerfielder. Collins hasn’t decided his outfield rotation, but speculation is it will be – from left to right – Granderson, Juan Lagares and Chris Young.

Collins said Granderson should also take pressure off Wright in the batting order.

“I think, number one, they’ve got Curtis hitting behind him now, they’ve got to make a decision,’’ Collins said of opposing pitcher’s plans against the Mets.

“David’s patient enough to take the base on balls, especially if he knows the guy can bat behind him,” Collins said. “He’ll get better pitches to hit each at-bat.  And if David gets pitches to hit, he does damage.’’

Granderson is GM Sandy Alderson’s highest-profile free agent signing, but if things work out as hoped, Wright said it would not be his last. If the Mets get better, other players will notice.

“I think it paves the way for other elite players to want to play for us,’’ wrote Wright, whom Granderson said was influential in him signing with the Mets.

From his perspective, Granderson said one of the reasons he wanted four years was to be around when the Mets’ building plan reached fruition, and that includes signing future free agents.

While Granderson provides Wright protection in the order, he’ll also give him a respite in the clubhouse. Even prior to his appointment to team captain last season, Wright was the clubhouse voice, commenting on an array of issues, ranging from Willie Randolph’s firing in 2008 to the Wilpon’s financial situation to Ike Davis’ plate troubles to Jordany Valdespin’s emotional meltdowns.

Quite simply, he has been the go-to guy for all issues on the Mets.

By all accounts, Granderson will be a positive presence, and Wright echoed what Alderson said earlier today.

“He’s a true professional and great guy to have in the clubhouse,’’ wrote Wright. “He has a confidence about him that I think will rub off on other players.’’

ON DECK: Wrapping up day two of the Winter Meetings.

Your comments are greatly appreciated and I will attempt to respond. Follow me on Twitter @jdelcos

Dec 10

Manager Terry Collins Touches On All Things Mets

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – New York Mets manager Terry Collins addressed a myriad of issues surrounding his club two months away from spring training.

Among them:

* He has the mindset both Ike Davis and Lucas Duda will be on the roster in February, and he’ll “adjust’’ accordingly.

* Said one of the reasons why Davis hasn’t reached his potential is because he presses trying to hit home runs.

COLLINS: Optimistic.

COLLINS: Optimistic.

* He’s prepared to start the season with Ruben Tejada at shortstop. Collins said Tejada understood, “his career is at stake.’’

* Zack Wheeler should be able to throw 200-plus innings. Collins said he liked Wheeler’s composure and ability to throw strikes when asked if he’s ready to take a Matt Harvey step.

* He’s prepared to have Anthony Recker as the back-up catcher.

* Is not worried about strikeouts from Curtis Granderson and Chris Young because they offset the strikeouts with run production. Collins named Young as the player most poised to be a surprise this season. Collins indicated Granderson will hit fourth behind David Wright.

* Is pleased with Wilmer Flores attending fitness camp in Michigan. Said he’s added quickness and speed and did not rule out playing some shortstop.

* With Eric Young delegated to the bench, said there’s no clear-cut candidate to hit lead off. Named Daniel Murphy and Tejada as possibilities.

* Has not come up with an outfield rotation, but Juan Lagares will be in it.

* Said he’ll wait until what he sees in spring training before deciding if Bobby Parnell will be ready. Vic Black is the presumed closer if he is not.

Collins said pitchers and catchers will report to Port St. Lucie for spring training on Feb. 15.

ON DECK:  Jeff Wilpon dishes on how Mets’ offseason plans changed with Harvey’s injury.

Your comments are greatly appreciated and I will attempt to respond. Follow me on Twitter @jdelcos

Dec 10

Curtis Granderson Makes Good First Impression

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – On his unveiling as a member of the New York Mets, outfielder Curtis Granderson said all the right things, including: “A lot of people I’ve met in New York have always said true New Yorkers are Mets fans.’’

Now, how can you not like that enthusiasm?

GRANDERSON: Good first impression.

GRANDERSON: Good first impression.

Both GM Sandy Alderson and Jeff Wilpon praised Granderson’s professionalism and clubhouse presence, and said it was a major consideration in bringing him to the Mets.

Granderson is expected to ease the burden for David Wright, both as a run producer and in the clubhouse.

“He brings, No. 1, professionalism,’’ Alderson said. “He brings a personality. He brings credibility. He brings talent … all things that are important.’’

Granderson said the Yankees were upfront with him in their rebuilding plans, and while he talked to other teams – including Boston after Jacoby Ellsbury left – the Mets were by far the most aggressive in recruiting him.

“A lot of homework went into it,’’ Granderson said. “[The Mets] were the best fit possible.’’

Even without Matt Harvey available this season, the Mets sold Granderson on better days – years – in the future. With the Yankees, Granderson knew they would be competitive. The Mets had to convince him.

“They have a plan that’s getting in place,’’ Granderson said. “It’s going to take 25 guys. They have an opportunity to go out there and do some things.’’

Regarding Granderson’s contract, both the player and Alderson said a fourth year was important. Alderson said there were no bells and whistles in the contract, such as a no-trade clause.

“It was your typical, boilerplate, $60-million contract,’’ said Alderson.

ON DECK: Nothing imminent in dealing Ike Davis.

Your comments are greatly appreciated and I will attempt to respond. Follow me on Twitter @jdelcos

Dec 05

Three Years Won’t Be Enough To Get Granderson

The New York Mets are serious about signing Curtis Granderson. But, will the three-year contract that has been |reported be enough?

At 32, Granderson would likely want a fourth year considering what is going on in the market. If Carlos Beltran, who is four years older than Granderson is reportedly talking with Kansas City for a three-year, $48-million contract, it stands to reason Granderson would want an additional year.

GRANDERSON: Talking with Mets.

GRANDERSON: Talking with Mets.

General manager Sandy Alderson said the Mets must adjust to a “robust,’’ market, and that would include the ability to upgrade their initial offer.

The money sounds about right, but the Mets might have to jack up the annual salary if they are adamant about three years. Otherwise, they might have to go three years plus an option, or give in on the fourth year.

Either way, Granderson is the best available outfielder in the market that won’t cripple them financially. Texas’ Nelson Cruz and Cincinnati’s Shin-Soo Cho have reportedly sought deals in excess of $90 million and five years.

The Mets, understandably because of the long-term deals with Johan Santana and Jason Bay that flamed out, not to mention Oliver Perez and Luis Castillo, want to shy away from lengthy contracts. David Wright was the lone exception.

Granderson would be a definite upgrade to the outfield, and despite his propensity for striking out, has the production numbers to offset that problem. He could play left, with Juan Lagares in center and Chris Young in left.

Presumably, Eric Young would play off the bench, or as has been suggested, move to second base if Daniel Murphy is traded. It is also possible Murphy could return to first base depending upon what happens to Ike Davis or Lucas Duda.

A deal is not imminent and Granderson is sure to talk to other suitors. The Yankees said despite their signing of Jacoby Ellsbury they would entertain brining back Granderson.

There are positives to getting Granderson, and his strikeouts differ from Davis’ because he will give something in return.

Granderson knows what it takes to play in New York, so there wouldn’t be that adjustment process. He could even keep his apartment.

Signing Granderson would answer one of the Mets’ numerous questions. They still need to add two starters; build depth in their bullpen; resolve the first base question; and add a catcher to back-up Travis d’Arnaud.

So, even if the Mets sign him, their work won’t be close to being done.