Speaking Tuesday after reporting to spring training in Port St. Lucie, Mets outfielder Michael Conforto was the first Met to truly speak at length about the situation that led to Luis Rojas replacing Carlos Beltran as manager.
"It's definitely a shock," Conforto said about the Astros sign-stealing scandal fallout leading to the change. "And we were all very excited about getting the chance to play for Carlos. It's tough to not have the chance to play for him, to see what he had to offer. But obviously the organization is gonna do what's best for us moving forward into the season.
"Us as players, everybody who plays Major League Baseball was locked in on all the stuff that was going on. Obviously it was -- there's a line that definitely shouldn't be crossed and, you know, Carlos' involvement with that, it is what it is. Moving forward, I think it's best that we just are focused on us and the season. With Luis in that spot, I think we can just focus on playing baseball."
While the Mets won't get a chance to ever suit up for Beltran, whose tenure as manager lasted from November to January, Conforto viewed the hire of Rojas as a "game-changer."
"It's a different feeling," Conforto said about playing for Rojas. "Just knowing him from -- he was one of my first coaches coming into the organization. He's been with almost all the guys that are homegrown in this organization. It's gonna be a game-changer, just knowing him as a person, knowing what he feels is important in the game of baseball, what his messages have been through the minor leagues. I don't anticipate them changing at all up here in the big leagues. He's always been a team-first guy.
"Top to bottom we all respect him, all have respected him, have all loved him as a coach. I'm really excited for him. ... He came up with us, so I think there's that kind of respect we have for him as well. He kinda grinded it out with us in the minor leagues and now he's here with us, so that's a pretty cool thing."