With former Met Carlos Beltran getting the chance to interview for the New York Yankees’ managerial vacancy, it got me thinking about which other current or former Mets might one day manage a big league club. And one name comes to mind more so than others: David Wright.
Let me preface this by saying that Wright is still trying to keep his playing career alive. And until he decides to hang up his cleats, the thought of Wright coaching or managing may seem a bit premature. But it’s not crazy.
Wright has been the face of the franchise since first donning the Mets uniform in 2004 and is one of the most beloved figures in the team’s history. And he has a reputation of being a great leader and teammate, along with the on-field pedigree.
Wright has compiled a .296/.376/.491 batting line with 242 home runs, 970 RBI and 196 stolen bases in his 13-year career. While those numbers probably don’t give Wright a ticket to the Hall of Fame, they demand respect.
His performance on the field is one of the reasons why he was named the Mets’ captain back in 2013, after all. But being a manager is about so much more than being a good player.
Look at today’s managers spread across the leagues. There are lots of former players, but very few were as good as Wright. One name comes to mind as someone whose coaching career Wright could follow: Don Mattingly.
The former Yankee great — and captain — was in the midst of a terrific playing career before injuries forced him to retire in 1995 at 34 years old. Wright, 34, is facing a similar situation now.
Mattingly didn’t wait long after retiring to get into the coaching game. He spent seven seasons as a special instructor for the Yankees during Spring Training from 1997-2003 before serving as the team’s hitting coach from 2004-2006. Mattingly became the club’s hitting coach in 2007 before accepting the same position with the Dodgers in 2008, which he held until the 2011 season, when he became the club’s manager.
Mattingly managed in L.A. from 2011-15 and is now managing with the Miami Marlins.
I expect Wright to take a similar path. While he’s making yet another comeback effort, one has to figure 2018 will be the last chance for Wright. If he is shut down again next season due to his injuries, he needs to call it quits.
Wright can take a year or two to be with his family, but he’s always been a baseball man, one who loves to be around the game. I imagine it won’t be long before he joins the Mets’ coaching staff, either as a special adviser or as a hitting coach. Assuming he stays in that role for three or four years, he may be gunning for current manager Mickey Callaway’s job around that time.
Wright is a revered teammate, leader and a true baseball guy. Those traits are usually what translates into a successful manager. It’s only a matter of time before Wright takes the next step in his career and becomes a big league manager.
Reach reporter Zach Gewelb by e-mail at zgewe
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