Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen's 'Come get us' declaration to the rest of the NL East a few weeks ago was a bit surprising, but it has gone over well in the clubhouse at Spring Training as the team prepares for the 2019 season.
"I love that mantra," Michael Conforto said Monday morning. "...If you're not showing up to be the best team in the league, there is no point showing up."
The comments from Conforto have been echoed by others, including Brandon Nimmo, who repeated another one of Van Wagenen's mantras -- one he uttered for the first time during his introductory press conference.
"I think Brodie set the tone this offseason of 'we're here to win now and we're here to win years from now,'" Nimmo said Monday.
Despite the virtiol that emanated from some when the Mets named the former agent their GM, he has been embraced by his peers in other front offices and his players have spoken glowingly about him. And Conforto went into detail about how up front Van Wagenen has been with the players about what he expects and what their roles will be.
'He's open, he's honest.," Conforto said. "... I think that's something the guys really appreciate. You can earn a lot of respect that way -- being honest with guys. ... It's nice to have a guy that has your back."
Conforto admited recently that he felt he rushed back last season while recovering from shoulder surgery. Instead of being out until May, he returned a few games into the season and struggled to get into the swing of things.
Once Conforto was fully recovered last season and had his timing down, he excelled, hitting .273/.356/.539 with 17 homers and 15 doubles in 68 games.
"Second half of the season is where I want to be," Conforto said about his goal in 2019, noting that he worked this offseason on solidifying that. "I think you're gonna see more of what happened in the second half."
With a healthy Conforto from the outset this season, the Mets -- after adding Edwin Diaz, Robinson Cano, Wilson Ramos, Jed Lowrie, Justin Wilson, and others -- are currently projected by Baseball Prospectus to win 88 games, which would be one game behind the Nationals in the NL East and good for the first Wild Card in the NL.
"From the top, there's a lot of confidence, a lot of energy -- starting with Brodie." Conforto said, adding that there is definitely a new wave of excitement being felt. "We're one of the teams that is going for it this year."