I assume all avatars are self-portraits, so Steve is a Rickey Henderson with green skin. Witch, food poisoning or alien? You be the judge.
RED REPORTER: RA Dickey mis-matches up against Mike Leake on Wednesday. There's a pretty good Cy Young race going between Dickey and Johnny Cueto. I'm a huge Dickey fan - I think most Red Reporters are - but I think we both know where our blogs stand. Can you give us your most clear-eyed take on who is more deserving?
Steven Schreiber: Johnny Cueto has had a fantastic year and he's certainly deserving of being right up there in the Cy Young conversation. And admittedly, I've seen Dickey pitch a lot more than I've seen Cueto pitch (in fact, I think I've only seen Cueto once this year) but with all due respect, it's got to be Robert Allen Dickey. His stretch of dominance from late April through June was the most dominant stretch of pitching I've seen in my years watching baseball.
Looking at the numbers, while Cueto sports the lower ERA, Dickey has allowed 24 less hits in 1 more inning, he leads the National League in strikeouts and is averaging over a strikeout per inning and Dickey, a knuckleballer, is actually averaging slightly less walks per nine innings than Cueto, a conventional pitcher. I'll be the first to admit that I'm irrational when it comes to my love of R.A. but I think the breakout season he's having speaks for itself. It'll definitely be interesting to watch how this wraps up over the last month and a half of the season.
RR: The Mets also have a very credible MVP Candidate in David Wright, though McCutchen is probably the favorite (and will be a lock if the Pirates make the postseason). Ignoring the standings, should David Wright win? Are we seeing who David Wright is meant to be for the remainder of his peak years?
SS: I think David should absolutely be in the conversation, though not for the award itself. At this point, Andrew McCutchen is basically running away with it with the crazy things he's doing on a nightly basis as the only threat in Pittsburgh's lineup. But yes, David should be in the discussion. He's had a fantastic season, his best since his dominant 2008 and at just 29 years old, he should still have some more seasons like this ahead of him.
Honestly, I'm really not sure what happened to him the last three seasons. Perhaps it was an amalgam of Citi Field's spacious dimensions, injuries, whatever but I truly think this is the real David Wright. The guy was on a Hall of Fame trajectory from 2005-2008 and it's great to have him back. Despite a slight bump in the road the last two weeks or so, he's easily been the team's best hitter all year.
RR: Will the Mets be able to bring back Wright? The Reds can't afford him (although that's what we all said about Votto), but he'd be our pipe dream player to succeed Scott Rolen. (I've signed him in OOTP just in case.)
SS: Oh goodness, I hope so. The Mets control Wright through 2013, so there's no rush this very moment to get a deal done but this offseason will be a big look into their plans there. If they're going to get a deal done with him, it'll have to be done this offseason, as David basically put a moratorium on contract discussion during this season and I'd imagine he'd do the same during 2013. I'm still semi-confident that a deal will get done this winter -- he's too important to the near and long term future of the team to let him leave -- but while he says all of the right things to the media, you have to wonder how he feels about the organization and his chances for winning here. They've already wasted away the entirety of his 20's and have just a trip to the NLCS in 2006 to show for it.
RR: Who's one player on the Mets (or in the org) deserving of more attention, but who escapes the notice of all but the most avid Avenuers?
SS: I'm going to go with Ruben Tejada, who has really done a fine job of simultaneously replacing Jose Reyes and establishing himself as the Mets shortstop of the future. Tejada's long been ignored in the Mets' system, at one point written off as a non-prospect because he doesn't possess otherworldly tools. He was also rushed through the minor leagues by the previous regime, skewing his numbers downward. But he does possess excellent contact ability at the plate, solid range in the field, a strong arm and baseball smarts well beyond his years.
As a 22-year old, he's hit .320/.365/.388 and has really turned into a fixture at the top of the Mets' lineup, spraying line drives across the field and putting together 10 to 15 pitch at bats where he'll foul off baseball after baseball. His development this year has been one of the greatest storylines, something many people couldn't see happening after Jose Reyes took his talents down to South Beach.
RR: Who are the notable call-ups for the Mets that you expect in September?
SS: The biggest name prospects to get called up may be RHers Jeurys Familia and Jenrry Mejia. The most recent rumblings say they may help out in the bullpen in September, though they've both had uneven seasons at AAA Buffalo. Beyond them, I imagine you'll mostly see current 40-man roster guys such as Zach Lutz, Elvin Ramirez, Pedro Beato, Lucas Duda, and maybe Robert Carson or Kirk Nieuwenhuis. The only other non-40 man guys I could see getting calls would be Josh Satin, who's torn up the International League and Collin McHugh who's Rule 5 eligible at the end of the year. Top prospect Zack Wheeler is also Rule 5 eligible but it sounds like they'll shut him down by the end of August.
RR: We seem to have too many LFs and the Mets too few. Can we work out a deal this winter?
SS: The Mets and Reds very well could. The team's biggest void going forward seems to be in the outfield, where they have a bunch of platoon players/4th and 5th outfield types and there's really no help coming up through the system anytime soon (Matt den Dekker is an excellent center fielder but has been dreadful at AAA and has a huge platoon split, like every other outfielder on the team).
Scott Hairston, Andres Torres, Kirk Nieuwenhuis and Mike Baxter seem like useful pieces. Lucas Duda and Jordany Valdespin may have their uses, though they're probably not starting outfielders. And Jason Bay...well, Jason Bay was really good in 2009. They'll be looking for some starting quality outfielders and I'd imagine it'll be a right handed hitting outfielder that they try to acquire.
RR: Is Ike Davis broken? If so, what's the long-term plan for 1B?
SS: I don't think he's broken -- well, at least I hope he's not broken. The overall line (.217/.282/.425) looks bleak but the first two months of the season dug him into such a deep hole, it actually covers up the fact that he's hit .251/.321/.521 since June 1st with 15 home runs. His mechanics were all out of whack in April and May but he seemed to clean everything up in June and he's been much better, though he's been streaky. I think he'll be okay in the long run. It was natural to expect him to have to knock off some rust after missing five months last season with an injury. Hopefully in 2013 he'll take the big step forward we were all expecting over a whole season.