As the New York Mets come into town, I thought it'd be nice to get the perspective of a Met guy. Steve Schreiber writes about the Mets for Amazin' Avenue on SB Nation. I answered some questions for him. He answered some questions for me. Enjoy!
The Mets are just 8.5 games back of the Wild Card. Can they make a run?
The optimist inside of me (yeah, he's still there) says maybe they can. The realist in me says probably not, though they might move closer to the fringe of the Wild Card race and that I should be pretty happy with where they are at the moment. And really, I am very happy with where they are. People were inexplicably calling this a 100 loss team before the season began and yet they're just 2 games under .500 despite losing 13 of the first 15 games coming out of the All-Star break. There's no doubt that this is a flawed team -- nobody expected a World Series contender this year -- but it still had plenty of talent, especially in terms of the young position players on the roster and the starting pitching. So, in terms of making a run, perhaps they get hot and get within a few games of a wild card slot and make some of the people who quit on them tune back in for a bit. But with the bullpen's struggles and the outfield being a complete mess, I don't foresee them having enough talent to make a legitimate run.
This was an interesting trade rumor but the Mets rightly rejected it, even with the issues they have with their awful bullpen. First of all, Gregerson has been a fine reliever for the Padres but his home/road splits have to make any team outside of Petco Park leery. Second and most importantly, Daniel Murphy is a very important part of the Mets going forward. Outside of a slump in June, he's been one of their best hitters and despite the defensive metrics painting a rather bleak picture, he's actually shown a great deal of improvement defensively at second base. Add to the fact that he's still young and still cheap (he's a first year arbitration player in 2013) and trading him for Gregerson just doesn't seem like it'd be fair value. Murphy has played well enough to be the team's starting second baseman next year and if the Mets end up finding another second base option and decide to deal Murphy, I think he'll net more than a reliever.
Is this a fluke year for R.A. Dickey, or do you think he can keep it up next season?
I don't think fluke is the correct word but outlier is probably more like it. R.A. had an incredible run from late April through June, pitching as well as I've ever seen a guy pitch in my time watching baseball. He found a new weapon with the rising knuckler and batters had trouble combatting it for months. I think we'll be hard-pressed to see a stretch like that again, not just from Dickey but from any pitcher, for a while. That being said, while he's slipped a bit after the All-Star break, he seemed to have righted the ship in his previous start against the Diamondbacks, showing a fantastic knuckler and the ability to throw it with just the right amount of rotation. Also, it's important to point out that while the results have been extraordinary this year, Dickey was easily the Mets' best pitcher in 2010 and 2011, so even if he regresses back to that, Mets fans would be very happy. He's a great guy to root for, a great joy to watch pitch and he's been very good at hurling knuckleballs for three years.
What's the future look like for the Mets and David Wright? There are a lot of teams looking for a 3B.
The immediate future is that he's essentially locked in for 2013 with a team option that will certainly be picked up and it sounds like the Mets will discuss a long term extension with him this offseason. Players tend to say all the right things to the media when it comes to contract extensions but I do believe Wright values the chance to finish his career in New York and go down as the greatest position player in team history. He grew up a Mets fan in Norfolk, VA (home of the Mets' AAA team for years) and he seems to treasure the experiences he's been given in New York. Now, of course, it's going to take a big contract to lock him up and if the Mets don't give it to him, then all bets are off. But I think they will sometime within the next few months. He's just too important to the immediate future of this team to fool around with and I'm not sure how much more the fanbase can take after everything that went on last offseason with Jose Reyes.
Give me a sleeper who you think could have a big series against the Padres.
Andres Torres has been very hot lately, hitting .474/.545/.632 over his last seven games. He injured his wrist in San Francisco when Madison Bumgarner tripped over him at first base but he played on Thursday and contributed a double, so he seems to be alright. Beyond him, Jordany Valdespin is the type of guy who could either rip you apart in a short stretch or he could go 0-15 with 10 strikeouts. He doesn't walk ever and he swings hard all the time, so if he's in a groove, look out.