Michael Conforto expects he and the Mets will engage in long-term contract negotiations soon, but if those talks don’t yield an agreement, he does not want them to continue into the regular season, he said Tuesday.
Without an extension, Conforto is scheduled to become a free agent after the 2021 season. Team president Sandy Alderson, who can count Conforto as his most successful first-round pick in eight drafts as general manager, said this offseason he plans to have "serious" contract talks with Conforto.
Alderson and Conforto have not spoken in about two months, Conforto said. But with spring training approaching — Mets pitchers and catchers are set to report Feb. 17 — that could change soon.
"[Alderson] was on record saying that we’re going to broach that topic when we get closer to spring training," Conforto, who is represented by agent Scott Boras, said. "Now that we have a solid date for spring training, I think things may progress. But at this point we really haven’t talked about extension stuff."
Conforto spoke during a virtual news conference before being honored during the 41st Annual Thurman Munson Awards, a program that benefits AHRC New York City Foundation, which assists children and adults with disabilities.
The Munson Award, a tribute to the late Yankees captain, is given to players who combine success on the field and community spirit off the field — a testament to Conforto’s stature in the organization and the city.
For those reasons and others, the Mets and Conforto have suggested they would like to continue that relationship. But Conforto does not want "the extension stuff, selfish-type stuff," as he called it, to be a distraction.
"I don’t want it to linger into the season," Conforto said. "I’m not going to put a date on it, but I don’t want it to be something that is constantly talked about as we’re getting ready to go for the season."
Conforto is part of a loaded class of pending Mets free agents. Shortstop Francisco Lindor and pitchers Noah Syndergaard and Marcus Stroman also are headed toward the open market.
Of that group, Lindor is expected to receive the largest contract by far. But Conforto said he does not see it as the two of them competing for a finite amount of Mets money.
"Myself and Francisco, we’re probably going to be the leaders of the offense this year, leaders of the team," Conforto said. "We try to lead by example and be the guys that pull for the team no matter what. It’s not about our numbers, it’s not about what kind of money we’re going to make. It’s about how many games we’re going to win this year."
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