Mets Mailbag: Is New York the real deal this season?

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Pete Alonso Francisco Lindor celebrate in Baltimore June 2021
Pete Alonso Francisco Lindor celebrate in Baltimore June 2021

SNY's Andy Martino will be responding to and breaking down answers to questions from readers. Here's the latest...

@jd_isaacs: Hey Andy, in your own words, are the Mets the real deal or is this just a mirage?

I want to give some context for what will end up being an affirmative answer for this question. Covering the Mets for many years, there was often a familiar pattern -- the team did not project to contend then started off well. Fans, starved for a pennant race, became excited.

What pieces will we get at the trade deadline, they would tweet at me. Roy Oswalt? Ted Lilly? Cliff Lee?

None, I would say, in just about every year but 2015 and 2016. Because the Mets aren’t actually good, and their front office knows it.

This is all to explain why, when I say, YES, THE METS ARE REALLY CONTENDERS THIS YEAR, it’s after more than a decade of poo-pooing such questions. You always took the under with the Mets. This year feels different.

One doesn’t have to be a professional to recognize the reasons: Collecting wins with so many players on the injured list. The best pitcher in baseball, followed by the best versions of Taijuan Walker and Marcus Stroman. A deep bullpen.

A Francisco Lindor who has barely contributed yet but might be waking up. Michael Conforto and Jeff McNeil returning soon enough. The best run differential in the National League East.

A young manager turning into a star before our eyes. An acting general manager who appears up to the challenge, picking the right plug-and-play players (Billy McKinney) and cutting bait quickly when he does not (Cameron Maybin).

Folks, it hasn’t often been real with the Mets. This one seems to be.