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01/23/08 5:30 PM ET

Wright treks to dedicate Mets room

Discusses team's chances during charity stop in Long Island

NEW HYDE PARK, N.Y. -- The Mets have added some players, subtracted some others, and now stand awfully close to where they were when this offseason began. They're not wholly different from the team that couldn't make the playoffs last season, and common sense seems to suggest that's a bad thing.

So David Wright is out to prove common sense wrong.

Wright understands the fuss. Much ado was made about snagging Johan Santana, among other pitching prizes, this offseason, but those scenarios seem less likely with each passing day -- and Wright is oddly fine with that.

"Hopefully, all of us are better than last year," he said. "Just because we haven't made any changes, doesn't mean that we aren't going to come in and be better players individually. I think we need to improve as a team. The answer isn't free agency; the answer isn't making these big trades. It's looking inside."

Wright trekked away from the city on Wednesday to spend time at the Ronald McDonald House of Long Island, where the club unveiled a newly furbished New York Mets room. Complete with a replica of a Mets locker, images of Wright and outfielder Carlos Beltran, and a brand new television, the room should serve as a popular destination for the House's children for years to come.

Helping to dedicate the room, Wright spent time with some of the children, signed autographs and posed for pictures. Later this week, it's on to Puerto Rico to help Carlos Delgado with a charity of his own, then back to New York to watch the Super Bowl surrounded by fellow Giants fans. And thus ends a whirlwind offseason that's seen Wright participate in more than his share of charitable endeavors.

"To come in here, to see the kids, to spend some time with the kids, I probably get more out of it than they do," Wright said. "It puts a smile on my face."

Yes, even Wright can smile, after a season that saw his face twisted into a perpetual frown. Those memories aren't yet behind him, but the dawn of Spring Training next month should help.

The way Wright sees it, last season's collapse made this winter's Hot Stove a bit less relevant. The Mets have every reason to come out playing with increased fire and increased passion, and for a team that was just inches from making the playoffs last year, those internal boosts may be enough.

"Everybody still has a bitter taste in their mouths, and I think that's a good thing," Wright said. "When you play with a little edge, you want to come out and set the tone from the first pitch of Spring Training."

Wright, perhaps more than any Met, finished last season free from blame. His numbers -- a .325 average, 30 homers and 107 RBI -- certainly helped, and his clubhouse demeanor had a similar effect. Yet he hasn't made use of his apparent free pass.

Working specifically on his arm strength and accuracy at third base, Wright says he's trained harder this winter than ever before. He's still not satisfied -- he likely won't ever be without a World Series trophy in tow. But Santana or not, Wright's own improvements have given him reason to believe all the Mets will be better.

Still, last summer's collapse raised a whole host of questions, and this offseason has done little to address them. How the Mets respond to all the hype and all the disappointment won't be known until they take the field next month -- and perhaps won't really become clear until deep into the summer.

Though Wright, for one, insists that all the pieces are already in place.

"We had the team to win the National League East last year, and we just didn't get the job done," he said. "I think that we have the right tools, we just need to look deep into ourselves and find the answer within the organization, within the team.

"But obviously a Johan guy wouldn't hurt."

Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.