David Wright 'thrilled' that Curtis Granderson chose Mets
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David Wright took matters into his own hands. Early in the offseason, before the front office had even reached out to Curtis Granderson, the Mets' captain fired off a text message to the free agent.
"I'd love to play with you," he told Granderson, the start of a process that eventually led to the fulfillment of Wright's wish.
Granderson agreed Friday to a four-year, $60-million deal to join the Mets, which made Wright happy.
"I've always been a fan," Wright said in a telephone interview.
Wright said he made himself available to Granderson in case he had any questions about the organization, especially as negotiations heated up between the two sides. When an agreement was reached, the third baseman said he was "thrilled" by the news that the Mets had landed what he called a "marquee player."
"He's played in New York, he's thrived in New York, he's won in New York," Wright said of Granderson, who spent the last four seasons with the Yankees. "He knows what it's all about."
Wright praised Granderson's makeup, calling the three-time All-Star a "high-character guy," which he saw firsthand as a teammate in the World Baseball Classic.
"Everywhere he's been, teammates have loved him, fans have loved the way he plays the game," Wright said. "He's got just a presence about him.''
The Mets struggled often last season, the result of an overall power shortage, but Granderson brings thump. Before injuries limited him to seven homers in 2013, he eclipsed the 40-homer mark in each of his previous two seasons.
Wright, however, turned toward Granderson's 2007 season with the Tigers as the best example of what the 32-year-old outfielder can bring to the table. Playing at spacious Comerica Park, Granderson hit 32 doubles, a league-leading 23 triples and 23 homers. He had a career-high .552 slugging percentage that year and matched it in 2011, when he hit 41 homers for the Yankees.
"He's proven he can be successful in Detroit, he's proven he can be successful in Yankee Stadium, and he's going to prove he can be successful at Citi Field," Wright said. "The ballpark does not matter to him."
While Wright acknowledged that plenty of work remains to be done to a team that still needs to fill several holes, he called Granderson's signing an important first step that will have an impact beyond improving the lineup.
"Sometimes that first move is the hardest one, to convince a player of that caliber to come here, and maybe we get things turned around," Wright said. "It can be difficult, that's no easy feat. But once you get that first guy, I think it becomes easier."
Said Wright: "Curtis made the decision that he wanted to come help us win."