The Mets have a challenge ahead of them if they want to make the playoffs this season, being in what is expected to be the toughest division in baseball. Michael Conforto, fully healthy after working his way back from injury in 2018, is embracing it.
"The division was tough this past year and this year it got a lot tougher," Conforto told Buster Olney during an interview Tuesday on ESPN Radio. "I think we're very lucky to be in a division that's as competitive as it is. The Braves, the Phillies, us, the Nationals, and even the Marlins -- they've got some good young players and you really can't overlook that series you have against them every so often. It's gonna be a battle as well."
Among the biggest moves elsewhere in the NL East were the Phillies adding Bryce Harper and J.T. Realmuto, the Nats adding Patrick Corbin, and the Braves taking a shot on a rebound year from Josh Donaldson. The Mets added Edwin Diaz, Robinson Cano, Wilson Ramos, Jed Lowrie, and more.
"We're looking forward to grinding every single time we go out there against a division opponent," Conforto added. "It's gonna be a grind, but I think we're ready for the fight."
Conforto has caught fire lately in Spring Training, but the biggest story in camp has arguably been Pete Alonso (battling with Dominic Smith for the first base job), with Conforto citing Alonso's recent "huge success" and saying he's "put himself in a good position" to make the team.
"He's not afraid to ask questions, he's not afraid to put himself out there and try to get better," Conforto said. "It's been a pleasure for me to watch him come in with all this hype around him, and just stay within himself, not try to swing too hard up there, not try to do more than he's capable of. It's been a pleasure for me to watch, and he's certainly doing the work on the defensive side as well."
And whether Alonso makes the team out of camp or not, Conforto is expecting big things in 2019.
"No matter what happens, he's gonna have an impact for us this year -- whenever that is. He's gonna be a big part of this team."