COMMENTARY | Let's hope that the highlight of David Wright's season doesn't end up being the World Baseball Classic.
Still two weeks away from opening day, the New York Mets' third baseman was Team USA's best player. In four games, he had 10 runs batted in, a .438 batting average with seven hits in 16 at-bats, and an OPS of 1.276. He kept Team USA alive last weekend when he hit a grand slam against Italy.
Without Wright -- whose tournament ended shortly before Thursday night's game because of a muscle strain, Team USA didn't stand a chance. The United States lost to the Dominican Republic on Thursday night, and was eliminated from the tournament after losing to Puerto Rico last night. The Americans scored just four runs in those two games without Wright.
You want to know how important Wright was to Team USA? Down 4-2 in the eighth inning last night, with the bases loaded and one out, Giancarlo Stanton, one of the best players in baseball, came to the plate. He was batting fifth, the spot in the order occupied by Wright before his injury forced him out of the tournament. Stanton popped out and the United States lost, 4-3.
On a roster comprised of good players with a few big names mixed in, Wright's star shined brightest.
As important as Wright was to Team USA, he's even more important to the Mets. Though the roster didn't include All-Stars from top to bottom, there was still some star power in the American lineup at the WBC. And they were led by Joe Torre, one of the greatest managers in baseball history.
Meanwhile, David Wright is the Mets' only star. Ike Davis and Matt Harvey and Zack Wheeler and Travis d'Arnaud might get there one day, and Johan Santana can tell them all about what it's like to be at the top, but right now, it's Wright and only Wright.
Wright headed to New York on Friday to get examined where it was determined that he had a strained intercostal muscle on his left side. He'll be shut down for at least five days, but there's talk about him maybe not being ready for opening day. That would be a devastating loss.
With Wright in the lineup, the Mets will struggle to compete. Without Wright in the lineup, the Mets have no chance.
Just like Team USA had no chance when they lost their best player.
Charles Costello has followed the Mets closely since the rookie years of Darryl Strawberry (1983) and Dwight Gooden (1984). He was a beat reporter assigned to cover the Mets during the 1997 and 1998 seasons.