Inbox: Can Dickey earn an All-Star Game start?
Mets beat reporter Anthony DiComo answers questions from fans
Considering the way R.A. Dickey has been pitching, and assuming he continues to pitch like he has, do you think he has a legitimate shot at being the National League starter in the All-Star Game? I realize a 37-year-old knuckler may not be the sexy pick, but it would make for a really interesting story considering the trajectory of Dickey's career. Plus he's earned an All-Star selection, starting or not, with his first-half performance to this point.
-- Sean Kelley, Portland, Ore.
A quick glance at the statistics shows he certainly has a chance to start the game, but not without some additional work.
Dickey ranks eighth in the NL with a 2.44 ERA, seventh with 78 strikeouts and first with nine wins. (Like it or not, those are the three categories that tend to carry the most weight in All-Star assignments.) Based on those stats, Gio Gonzalez, Matt Cain and Stephen Strasburg all appear slightly ahead of Dickey on the NL pecking order.
Johan Santana, for what it's worth, may have lost his own chance at consideration after giving up six runs in his last start. Sometimes, that's all it takes to disqualify someone -- one poor start. So it's important to note that with All-Star Selection Sunday still nearly three full weeks away, Dickey -- as well as his primary competitors for the honor -- should take the mound four more times between now and then. A lot can happen in four starts, especially when you're dealing with two-month statistical sample sizes. But Dickey has at least put himself in position to compete seriously for the honor.
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If the Mets are in contention for an NL Wild Card spot by the Trade Deadline, do you see them making a impact move or maybe a lighter-type move, with eyes still on the future?
-- Adrian G., Bordentown, N.J.
Here's what general manager Sandy Alderson had to say on MLB.com's Chatting Cage, which aired live last Friday:
"With respect to a trade, probably not before the All-Star break -- but certainly during that period up through the end of that July -- we'll be looking," Alderson said. "We'll see where we are. If we're in the race, as I expect we will be, I don't believe that money is going to be an issue for us. We'll be looking for ways to help the ballclub. It's very possible we'll still need help in the bullpen at that time, but there may be some other areas of need that will emerge and we'll have to address. Definitely we expect to be in the race, and if we are, we will be active in the trade market."
Alderson went on to discuss potential trades involving both money and prospects, valuing the latter far more than the former. In other words, expect the Mets to tweak their roster this July, as long as they remain in the race at that time. But do not expect them to mortgage any significant portion of their future in an attempt to improve. Alderson said this winter that the team's top half-dozen prospects or so were all untouchable, and has not provided any evidence since then to indicate a change.
What are the odds the front office will do something to revamp the bullpen? The first round of revisions isn't working out so well. I legitimately believe New York is going to lose any time a reliever is given a close lead.
-- Vinny F., Oxford, Miss.
Relievers as a group are notoriously fickle from year to year, which is why general managers have such a hard time finding and retaining good ones. I remember when I asked Alderson in February how a GM can guard against that, he responded with one word: volume.
The Mets thought they had acquired enough volume with the additions of Frank Francisco, Jon Rauch and Ramon Ramirez. But considering none of those three have worked out as Alderson envisioned, the bullpen has to top his Trade Deadline wish list. If they are in contention this time next month, the Mets will be calling around for relievers.
With the emergence and success of Kirk Nieuwenhuis, and Jason Bay returning to active duty, what are the Mets' plans regarding the crowded outfield situation? I think it will be very interesting to see what the Mets do with Nieuwenhuis, Andres Torres and Lucas Duda all producing, and Jason Bay struggling. Given his contract, is it even plausible that the Mets would consider sticking Bay on the bench?
-- Neil J., Bronx, N.Y.
The designated hitter rule gives the Mets three more days to stall, with three final games this week in an American League park.
But come Friday at Citi Field, something will have to give. A few days ago, it seemed possible, even probable, that the Mets might revisit a Minor League demotion for Ike Davis, which would allow them to plug Duda in at first base and use their other three outfielders accordingly. But Bay is 0-for-11 since returning from the DL, potentially giving the Mets pause.
The team is certainly not about to recast Bay as a bench player, considering his sizeable contract and the fact that he was actually performing quite well before fracturing his left rib in April. But sitting Bay against a tough right-hander here or there could become the norm if he continues to struggle, as the Mets attempt to find playing time for everyone.
Where is Brandon Nimmo assigned? I cannot find him on any Minor League roster. When do you think he will start playing?
-- Sy Y., New York
The club's 2011 first-round Draft pick, Nimmo has been playing in extended spring camp, and he will make his season debut when short-season leagues begin later this month. He will likely start out at Class A Brooklyn, which opens its season on June 18.
Viewing Collin McHugh's and Darin Gorski's numbers with Double-A Binghamton, why are the Mets not focused on these prospects as much as Zack Wheeler and Matt Harvey?
-- Matt F., Atlanta
A few reasons. For starters, McHugh and Gorski are both two years older than Harvey and three years older than Wheeler, meaning they have been succeeding against mostly younger competition. Secondly, neither McHugh nor Gorski possesses the type of velocity or "stuff" that Harvey or Wheeler -- who are ranked No. 2 and No. 1, respectively, in the organization by MLB.com -- do. And, fair or not, velocity is a critical measuring stick in scouting circles.
That is by no means an indictment of McHugh or Gorski, who may very well succeed in the Majors or even enjoy better careers than the Mets' more-heralded peers. It simply means that because they do not possess the same type of pedigree, they will need to prove more at every level and will have smaller margins for error as they climb the organizational ladder.
With all the injuries that have happened to the Mets, I did not see any report update for Daniel Herrera. How is he progressing?
-- Jeremy C., Scotia, N.Y.
Once a strong candidate to claim a spot in the Mets' Opening Day bullpen, Herrera underwent Tommy John surgery in April to replace a torn ligament in his left elbow. He's out for the season.