Flickr photo courtesy of alpineinc
Former Mets closer Johnny Franco called out David Wright and the Mets for lacking leadership from the players. Franco said he’s spoken to Wright about taking a more active role as a leader on the team but it hasn’t worked.
The interview was on Sirius XM Radio and covered the current state of the Mets as well as other topics. But Franco’s comments about the lack of leadership on the team, and Wright specifically are garnering national media attention.
“I tried talking to him and tell him to come forward and be that guy, but I think David feels that being that he’s such a young player and you have the [Carlos] Delgados and [Gary] Sheffields and veteran guys like that, he’s afraid that they’ll look at him like, ‘Be quiet and sit down.'”
Wright told reporters that he’s unconcerned about what anyone outside of the Mets organization says.
“With all due respect to Johnny, he doesn’t know what’s going on in this clubhouse,” Wright said Wednesday, after the Mets beat the Milwaukee Brewers 1-0 to stop a five-game losing streak. “I don’t feel the need to have to defend myself as a leader. If these guys in here respect me and think of me as a leader, that’s what I need.”
“I don’t worry myself about outside people saying what they’re going to say,” Wright said. “It doesn’t matter. What matters to me are these 24 guys in here and the coaching staff. Whatever anybody else wants to say, they can say whatever.”
This isn’t a new line of discussion. Every one of us that listens to sports talk radio in New York has heard this before. I’m a little surprised that Franco would come out publicly with this line of discussion after doing some work for the Mets this spring. I guess he doesn’t plan on doing any further work for them in the future.
My take on this is that if I was a 35 or 40 year old player on the Mets, I wouldn’t necessarily look at Wright as a leader on the team either. Sheffield has 500 home runs and Delgado is knocking on the door. Even Livan Hernandez was a World Series MVP. Beltran is a 4-time All Star, Rookie of the Year, with three Gold Gloves, and two Silver Sluggers. This just isn’t a team that every player is going to look up to Wright at this point in his career.
On a team with a different makeup, I could see Wright being a leader. On a younger team like the Pirates or Rays, I’m sure he would be a leader. But the Mets are a team with some veterans that have serious resumes. Franco should recognize that fact too because he was a veteran with a serious resume at one point himself.