By: Michael Ganci

#9Innings with Mike Vorkunov: Mets Will Be There in October

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Professional journalist Mike Vorkunov has a long history of covering the Mets, and he was the latest guest to join the Daily Stache for an edition of #9innings, where he gives his opinions on the upcoming season as a whole.

Here’s a look:

Have you ever seen anything like this pitching staff? Despite the lack of big thumpers, can the Mets sustain last year’s pace?

We’ve seen great pitching staffs before, obviously. This Mets staff isn’t quite as good as the Braves of the 90s or maybe some other historically great rotation that slips my mind, but it is unique in its youth and hard-throwing talent. Certainly there’s nothing as good in baseball right now. It’s why they can’t be discounted from winning the National League East again.

With all of their off season moves, do you consider the Mets to be the NL East favorite? Does Daniel Murphy put the Nationals over the top?

Yeah, at this moment I’d think the Mets are the division favorites because of that rotation. The lineup is still very solid. Maybe they’ll make another blockbuster move in July if the front office sees fit. Maybe not. Who knows. I don’t see how Daniel Murphy is the guy who puts the Nationals over the top or sinks the Mets. He’s a very good hitter but an above average offensive entity. I highly doubt he’ll be near as good as he was in October, but perhaps he can sustain his second half production from last season. Still, he’s what, the third-best hitter in the Nationals order?

Eventually the Mets will need to give these pitchers the paydays they deserve. Who’s the most likely to be a lifetime Met? Who’s the most likely to be traded one day?

I don’t really think you can assume any of those guys will be lifetime Mets. Too many variables are in play, from their escalating salaries to the Wilpons’ willingness/ability to pay them to the front office’s (current or future) decision to tie up so much payroll in one player. I’d guess Matt Harvey is the first to go only because he’s the one closest to free agency. I’d imagine the Mets try to sign Jacob deGrom to some kind of long-term contract this spring like they did with Juan Lagares last spring and tried to do with Lucas Duda.

David Wright has chronic issues, but the Mets need to find ways to keep him fresh. Does that make Wilmer Flores extra valuable? Do you think David can last a full season?

I don’t think Wright should try to play a full season, not with his condition and I don’t think the Mets believe that either. It won’t just be on Flores to spell him. That’s why the Mets put together all this infield depth. They have a lot of flexible pieces now with Flores, Tejada, Walker, Cabrera, and Wright. I expect them to utilize them.

Defense was a big issue for the Mets in the World Series, and they arguably haven’t improved a ton, other than Neil Walker replacing Daniel Murphy. What do you make of their defense?

It’s the same as it was last year. The Mets prioritize offense over defense and expect their pitching to be the primary run prevention. Sometimes that can bite you at the worst moments.

Mike Piazza was finally elected to the Hall of Fame? Do you agree with his inclusion? What took so long?

Of course, Piazza is a Hall-of-Famer. What the hell took those baseball writers so long to put him in there?

When I use the term “Met Killer,” who’s the first guy you think of? Why?

Freddie Freeman. Do you really need me to elaborate?

What do you think of the Mets re-signing Cespedes? Did the fan base force management into action?

It’s a masterstroke for the Mets. They went from a good offseason to a a great one. Even without Cespedes they had already made their lineup deeper — though not more dangerous — than last year, but now they have the big slugger in the middle of it. I don’t think their offense will match the heights it did last August but when Asdrubal Cabrera is your 8th place hitter, there are worse places to be in baseball. And this signing certainly cements them as the NL East favorites and, I think, the NL favorites. Did they sign him because of the fan base? Not entirely, I think. Sandy Alderson is a fairly reasoned GM and not really prone to whims of feeding fan frenzies but I think ownership noticed and it probably got them to budge a little (or maybe more) than they originally set out to.

Finish this sentence. At the end of 2016, the Mets will be…

In the playoffs. And once October starts, it’s a crapshoot.

About Michael Ganci

Michael Ganci is the Co-Founder of the Daily Stache, along with Matthew Falkenbury. Since 2008, Ganci has eat, drank and dreamt all things Mets, and he'd have it no other way. Feel free to follow him on Twitter at @DailyStache.

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