With season actually starting, Michael Conforto done with public extension talk

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Sarah Valenzuela, New York Daily News
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Michael Conforto isn’t speaking about his extension anymore.

One day before the Mets were scheduled to finally start their season against the Phillies, Conforto made a declaration he was not interested in discussing his money matters publicly and only wanted to focus on baseball.

“Unfortunately, we were looking forward to playing against the Nationals this weekend, or this week, but, you know, right now I’m just focused on baseball,” Conforto said Sunday pivoting from discussing a possible contract extension with the Mets. “Those questions can go to Scott (Boras), they can go to the team. Right now I’m focused on baseball.”

It’s a page out of Francisco Lindor’s book, who before signing his 10-year, $341 million deal on Wednesday, elected from the beginning to leave contract talks between his agent and the front office. The difference between Lindor and Conforto? Conforto seems more open to allowing those talks continue through the season, though he did say back in March, “Ideally, I would not like to do that.”

Conforto will become a free agent after this season if a deal isn’t struck between the two sides. Before spring camp broke, he confirmed there were discussions being held on the topic between his agent and the Mets, though where those conversations are anyone’s guess.

“I mean I think any player wants what his value is,” Conforto said when asked for elaboration of what he wants from any new contract. “Kind of going back to anything involving the contract stuff. You know, I’m just not going to talk about it. Right now I’m focused on the Mets, I’m focused on my teammates, you know, winning games.

“I wish you guys were asking me about a situation that I didn’t come through and in a game that we came out and won,” he continued, “but that being said, we’re not we’re not playing baseball right now, we get to tomorrow so I’m excited for that.”

Conforto is a homegrown talent who hit .322 with a .927 OPS and 156 OPS+, collected 31 RBI and crushed nine home runs across 54 games in 2020. Considering his agency, tenure on the team, stats, the Mets new billionaire owner and that new Blue Jays outfielder George Springer was able to sign a six-year, $150 million deal, Conforto’s camp should be gunning for deal worth at least $200 million.

INJURY UPDATE

Right-handed pitcher Drew Smith (right shoulder soreness) has been playing catch as part of his recovery from an injury that sidelined him two weeks ago, according to Rojas.

“I haven’t heard he’s thrown off the slope yet. They’ve been cautious with him,” Rojas said, adding that he’s been increasing the distance at which he throws.

Smith had Tommy John surgery in 2019.

Righty Carlos Carrasco (right hamstring tear) has also taken a step forward in his recovery. Carrasco, who’s been sidelined since early March for elbow soreness and then for his hamstring injury, threw 30 pitches over two innings down in Port St. Lucie. He was able to use his full repertoire through up-down pitching, per Rojas.

“You can be optimistic rather sooner than later he could be with us, but we still got to wait and see how he responds,” Rojas said. “But it’s definitely very encouraging to see him pitch into that up-down and throw the ball freely like he wants to.