Months ago, you may remember New York Mets fans debating and ranking which of their upcoming free agents was the priority for the 2021-2022 winter. Francisco Lindor was the easy top dog. He has since signed a deal leaving us with three big names to decide between: Michael Conforto, Marcus Stroman, and Noah Syndergaard.
I’m not even bothering to add a name like Jeurys Familia to this list. As well as he did perform at times for the Mets this year, it’s best to cut bait forever with the aging veteran hurler.
The big three remaining without a contract for next year have all had very different 2021 seasons. Conforto has been hurt for most of it and ineffective when healthy. Syndergaard is about to miss almost all of the season with no guarantee he pitches at all. Then there’s Stroman, a guy who may have jumped into the lead as the club’s biggest priority over the winter.
The injury factor may have pushed Marcus Stroman to the top of the list of Mets winter priorities
Let’s start with the first debate: Stroman vs. Syndergaard. Re-signing a guy coming off a potential career year (if things continue like this for Stroman) seems like a no-brainer as long as the price is right. Stroman may not be a long-term Met like Thor has been, but he has managed to avoid major injury in his time with the club.
I know some people aren’t fans of his simply for his social media game. That’s kind of a dull reason to pass up on him. You see, there’s this magic button called “mute” on social media you can use. Better yet, you have this thing called a neck which can help you turn away from things you don’t like.
Between the two, Stroman is the only one getting an actual multi-year deal from the Mets this offseason. Syndergaard, if he returns, needs to be nothing more than a qualifying offer. After missing all of 2020 and at least most of 2021 due to Tommy John Surgery, committing to him for more than a single season comes with great risk.
Things could change depending on how Syndergaard finishes off the season. For now, the Stro Show is ahead.
What about the need for offense and what Michael Conforto can provide the Mets?
I have never been the biggest Conforto fan so please excuse a slightly biased take on him. It’s hard for me to make a great argument to sign a guy to a $100 million deal when he hasn’t received any MVP consideration and has made just one All-Star team in his career. I know these aren’t actual numbers but they do help measure him up against the rest of the players at his position.
For Conforto, there’s also the injury factor to look into. Then again, who hasn’t been injured this year or any other season in the past?
Not as injury prone as he once was with several fluke ailments that came from crashing into walls and things like that, I don’t really worry about him going down. It’s going to happen. This is baseball in 2021.
Nevertheless, Conforto’s history has included a few too many stints sidelined. He started off 2018 on the DL then stayed mostly healthy until finishing the 2020 season on the newly-named IL.
Any debate about Conforto vs. Stroman comes down to two factors: how the team hopes to win ball games and what else is out there.
Generally, you can find at least one talented outfielder in free agency every winter. This offseason’s crop isn’t so deep. Conforto is the easier headliner of the group of baseball nomads playing beyond the infield dirt. The same case could be made for Stroman although Kevin Gausman has passed him, for now, thanks to his unexpectedly awesome campaign.
The Mets lack starting pitching depth and outfield depth right now making this a tough decision. If Conforto is unable to turn his 2021 season around, he may help make it easier. Unless, of course, he also accepts a qualifying offer deal in hopes of landing a bigger contract next winter. I’d be in awe if this happens considering Scott Boras is his agent.
The best solution would be for the Mets to re-sign both Stroman and Conforto. The chances of this do exist but does it actually help them get better? This much invested in two returning players without the end result justifying it doesn’t work. Winning the 2021 World Series helps the “run it back” case.
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So, if you want to see Stroman and Conforto return next year, root a little harder for the 2021 Mets in order to get what you want for the 2022 club.