Port ST. LUCIE – Shortly after Michael Conforto was packing his bag at the club house, the Mets’ disappointing 2020 season came to an end, when he held talks with manager Luis Rojas.
His talk is centered around a message that will be at the forefront of the 2021 club.
As the Mets ‘longest-serving position player, and one of three (consecutive) remaining players from the 2015 team leading to the World Series, Conforto has heard much discussion in recent years about the Mets’ talent Is – stud rotation. Powerful crime, emerging youth corps. And yet the results did not meet expectations.
“I think it’s the most talented team we’ve had in a long time,” Conforto said Tuesday in Clover Park. “But there is always this hype around the pitching staff or young hitter that we have – whatever it may be. It is not that we did not work hard, but you may get into thinking that you are better than what you are. You will not be good until you win a lot of games, it is just plain and simple. And we have not done so yet.
“We are looking forward to doing this this year, but we have to work first, we have to do that process, those routines, those exercises like a champion before we can get there and win the game. And me. It seems that it all starts from here. “
Rosas called the thing “inspiring”, adding that he could have called Conforto “really emotional”. He said the two resumed on Monday as the Mets began full-squad workouts.
In the time following Conforto and Rojas’ initial negotiations, the Mets only promoted promotion by trading for Francisco Lindor and Carlos Carrasco, bringing back Marcus Strowman and signing the likes of James McCain, Trevor May and Tivuang Walker. On paper, the Mets Mets should feast for an NL pre-title and more. But similar expectations awaited the Mets as they last did the postseason in 2016 and they responded with three four losing seasons and a 259–287 record.
“We need to stay hungry,” Conforto said. “We did not win enough to come in an extended playoff year. You can have and not make a great offense – there are 16 teams that go to the playoffs and you stay out? We did not do enough. We did not play defense well, base-run, pitch well enough. “
After hitting .322 with 156 OPS-plus last season to help boost the Mets’ strong offense, Conforto enters this year with a potential contract extension looming. The 27-year-old said Tuesday’s talks had not started yet and insisted that he was more focused on preparing for this season. He was busy again on Tuesday with the aim of improving the Mets’ outfield defense, with head first base coach Tony Tarasco.
As per high expectations, Conforto plans to ensure that Mets does not bank on talent alone.
“I think many times that talent can make you complacent,” he said, “and I think the leadership that we have with this group, we are not going to do.”