Opening Day Age: 28
2020: 54 G, .322/.412/.515, 9 HR, 31 RBI
Qualifying offer: Eligible
When the Mets ownership switched from the Wilpon ownership group to Steve Cohen, a few conversations occurred. The first was how the Mets have viewed as a team controlling everything at the top of free agency and we saw how that transpired – New York did well, but effectively struck out on the top three free agents in this class.
The second conversation was a Michael Conforto extension. With a new influx of cash in the franchise, the prevailing thought was that Cohen, Alderson, and the New York front office would attempt to lock in the 27-year-old outfielder and make him a Met for the remainder of his prime and ideally, for the remainder of his career.
However, as of early February, Conforto revealed that the team and his camp have yet to sit down and broach the topic of extending his stay in Queens.
Though Conforto arrived in Queens a baby-faced 20-year-old in 2015, he didn’t breakthrough until 2017, becoming an All-Star. Since then, the former Oregon State slugger has remained a positive force in the middle of New York’s lineup, submitting three seasons with 25 home runs or more, crescendoing with a 33 home run season in the 2019 season. Combine solid power and five straight seasons of a walk rate above 10.0% and you have a solid hitter.
Defensively, Conforto has done the Mets shuffle, starting in right field, moonlighting in center field for a spell before moving back to right. There, he’s been a scratch defender, with defensive runs saved having him constantly between 1 and -1. As Conforto moves into his 30’s, a move to left field may be the best option for him, but he should remain in right comfortably through the next several seasons.
Prediction: Six-year, $125m with the New York Mets
After failing to land George Springer in free agency, the Mets should look to lock up both of their outfield options. Not only Conforto but Brandon Nimmo, who has one more cycle of arbitration before reaching free agency. Both players were drafted by the Mets, came through the Mets farm system, and turned into solid regulars with chances to make All-Star games, that’s not common.
With Conforto, specifically, I believe the Springer deal was a decent baseline for a Conforto deal. Signing Conforto for six seasons would effectively keep him through his early 30’s and around $24-25 million a year would be a fine number. I’m deducting a bit off, due to the fact Springer’s value was tied into him being a great centerfielder. No matter, Conforto gets paid like an elite outfielder and, hopefully, finishes his career with the Mets.