The Twins are in New York City this weekend taking on their big cousins, the Mets! Chris McShane from the amazing Amazin’ Avenue was kind enough to answer some questions for us. Major kudos to him because these were kinda dumb. Without further ado:
Q: After making it to the World Series last year, how are Mets fans feeling about the team this year? How are fans feeling about the future (as in, next couple years)?
A: Mets fans have gone through significant ups and downs this year. In April, the team looked like a team that had just gone to the World Series a few months earlier. A couple months later, it looked like a team that had no business being anywhere near the playoffs. Right now, though, I’d say Mets fans are generally optimistic about the team’s chances. We spent a long time waiting for the team to go on a good run, and it finally did.
As for the future, I think most Mets fans are feeling pretty good about it. They’ll feel significantly better about it if the team finds a way to keep Yoenis Cespedes around beyond this year. But the starting rotation should be in good shape next year, and most of the rest of the roster is under control. It’d be hard for things to go worse in terms of injuries, too, which makes it pretty easy to dream on the 2017 Mets, regardless of what happens this year—more so with Cespedes still on the team.
Q: What's been the biggest bright spot for the Mets this season? What's been the biggest disappointment?
A: The biggest bright spot has been Cespedes, though the excellence of Jeurys Familia and Addison Reed in late innings has been a real treat this year. Noah Syndergaard shouldn’t be overlooked, either, as he’s been one of the very best pitchers in baseball and continued to showcase a personality that fans have fallen in love with.
The biggest disappointment has undoubtedly been the injuries. The fact that the Mets are still contending for a Wild Card spot is pretty remarkable since they've lost so many players—two of their original starting five pitchers, three of their four starting infielders, and their center fielder.
Q: David Wright and Joe Mauer are two of the longest-tenured active players who have played their entire career for a single team. Among the Twins fans, Mauer tends to be pretty polarizing. How do Mets fans feel about David?
A: Mauer seems quite a bit more polarizing than Wright, though the folks who complain about Wright probably bring up some of the same things. Wright has always been a little under-appreciated by Mets fans, and now his detractors harp on telling him it’s time to retire. I’m not sure how often Mauer has heard widespread boos in from the fans at Target Field [Editor’s Note: Ummm...], but it’d be hard to imagine Mets fans going that far with him from here on out. I might be too optimistic about this.
Q: I was pretty surprised when Michael Cuddyer decided to just quit after last season. How did Mets fans feel about that? Happy? Apathetic? Sad!?
A: Mets fans were ecstatic when Cuddyer decided to retire, which is a bit of a shame. He didn’t produce in his only season with the team, but as someone who’s related to and very close friends with a die-hard Twins fan, I know how well-liked he was in his time there. That sense of joy stemmed from other things going on in our world as Mets fans, namely the emergence of Michael Conforto, the years the Wilpons spent not spending, and a bit of apprehension about any new player. I would guess that Cuddyer would find fans here quickly if he were ever to coach, but the year he spent here was an awkward one.
Q: Did you know Michael Cuddyer can do magic tricks?
A: Sure did.
Q: It's been almost 9 years since the Johan Santana trade. Who do you think "won" that deal, if anyone? Would you do it again?
A: I’d say the Mets won that deal and would do it again if I were in charge. The Twins really lost that deal when they turned Carlos Gomez into J.J. Hardy—a fine move at the time—before turning Hardy into nothing. Am I allowed to bring that up here?
The other three guys in that trade didn’t amount to much, and Gomez took forever to finally blossom into a superstar. Santana’s tenure with the Mets probably didn’t go quite as well as everyone here hoped at the time of the trade, but he gave Mets fans the franchise’s first—and still only—no-hitter. He wound up with a 3.18 ERA in his time with the Mets, and he was particularly great in his first three seasons, with a 2.85 ERA between 2008 and 2010.
Q: Is Johan Santana a Hall of Famer?
A: Probably not, though I’ll point out here that his career 136 ERA+ is a bit higher than Sandy Koufax’s 131. That’s not a definitive metric, and I’m not suggesting Santana was a better pitcher than Koufax. He pitched 300 fewer innings than Koufax in his career, but I wonder how Santana’s candidacy would be received if the Hall were a younger institution than it is right now.
Q: How many games do you think the Mets will win this weekend?
A: Three. I hope they don’t make me look bad for saying so.