Will DeBoer is a staff writer over at Rising Apple, the New York Mets blog on the FanSided network. He also runs his own Mets blog, over at Midwestern Met. Will and I exchanged some questions and answers dealing with the Pirates and Mets respective seasons, the All-Star Game, and the upcoming series between our teams. You can find his Twitter profile here.
Q: This has been a bit of a down year for the Mets. What do the Mets need to do in order to turn things around?
It’s funny this question should come up right in the middle of our 16-9 hot streak. The Mets have been down ever since they moved into Citi Field in 2009, but things may be finally starting to turn around. The Wilpons (our owners) have survived the Madoff scandal and next season Sandy Alderson will finally have a budget to bring in quality free agents. We’ve got two of the best young pitchers in baseball in Matt Harvey and Zack Wheeler, plus at least two top-class starters coming through the pipeline. The everyday lineup is in question, though: aside from David Wright at third base and prospect Travis d’Arnaud behind the plate, I think everyone can be replaced. We’ll take the rest of the season to evaluate talent for 2014 and beyond, and hopefully at least the infield will be set by the beginning of the offseason, giving Sandy three fewer positions to think about.
Q: If you had to pick a Mets midseason MVP, who would it be and why?
The obvious choice would be Matt Harvey, who is in line to start the All-Star Game not just because he plays for the home team. David Wright has also been rock-solid, as usual. In terms of the unexpected, I’d have to go with Marlon Byrd, the $700,000 man who is leading the team in home runs and RBIs (he’s not that bad a fielder either). The guy is putting up numbers better than Justin Upton is for the Braves, and he’s doing it at 7 percent the cost of Upton. The Byrd is the Word in New York City.
Q: Matt Harvey has been a big bright spot for the Mets, and may even get to start in the All-Star Game at Citi Field. In order to retain that possibility, it looks like the Mets will skip his scheduled start against the Pirates. What do you think of that?
The bigger factor in Harvey’s missed start is a blister on his right index finger. Harvey is ultracompetitive and wouldn’t be skipping a start just because of the ASG start.
Q: The Pirates are in pretty desperate need of a right fielder, and Marlon Byrd has been kicked around as an option. Any chance the Mets move him (he is a free agent in 2014), and if so, what would it take to make a deal?
There’s a big chance the Mets move Byrd before the deadline. Like you said, many teams are looking for power outfielders. Because of Byrd’s age and low salary it might be hard for Alderson to pull off any blockbusters, but Sandy is good at squeezing every last drop out of trades (see Carlos Beltran in 2011, R.A. Dickey in 2012). I would hope for a mid-to-high level, power-hitting outfield prospect, basically a younger Byrd who will be ready for the bigs by next summer.
Q: David Wright is the team captain for the home run derby, but didn’t pick Pedro Alvarez (23 home runs, tied for second in the N.L). So why Bryce Harper and Michael Cuddyer?
I would have liked to see Alvarez in the Home Run Derby; he’s the kind of free-swinging big lefty the NL has missed since Prince Fielder’s defection to the Junior Circuit, and I don’t like seeing two players from the same team (Carlos Gonzalez of the Rockies is joining Cuddyer). It’s my understanding that Wright chose Bryce Harper because he won the fan vote and David wants to respect the fans’ wishes. As for Michael Cuddyer, it’s actually a dabble of nepotism: the two are childhood friends, both coming from the Chesapeake region of Virginia. Maybe not the best strategy for winning the Derby, but All-Star Week is supposed to be about having fun, so I can’t fault Wright for picking his old friend.
Q: The Mets are hot coming into the series with the Pirates, how do you see the series coming out?
You guys dodged the Matt Harvey train, but there’s no dodging Jeremy Hefner tomorrow (no sarcasm is meant – the guy’s been on fire since June). The Mets will win two of three this weekend at PNC Park.