NY Mets: Options to replace New York’s big free agents in 2022
The Mets letting Michael Conforto walk could be a gamble, but not one they cant recover from.
One of the main-stays of the Mets lineup for the past several seasons, just like all the other entries on this list, the Mets fan favorite Michael Conforto is set to become a free agent for the first time in his career.
Arguably from the 2017-2020 seasons, Conforto was the anchor of the New York Mets’ lineup, consistently hitting at the top of the order, slugging for both average and power, consistently ending his years at or near the top of the Mets’ hitters consistently.
The 2021 season however was a very different story for Michael, as he took a massive step back in terms of productivity, in a year where the Mets really needed him to lead the way.
For the year. Conforto finished the season with a .232 batting average with only 14 home runs and 55 RBI over 125 games. He did still consistently draw walks, finishing the year with a .344 OBP, but in a year where Conforto was expected to hit close to 30 home runs, he fell well short of expectations.
Michael will be a free agent, and his situation in particular leaves the Mets in a tricky spot. We still don’t know if 2021 was an “off-year” or a sign of things to come for Conforto. They could offer him a “team friendly” deal to return, but based off of his prior success in previous years, he no doubt will attract a lot of attention from other teams who could sign him away.
Depending on the money Conforto could command on the open market, the Mets need to be prepared for a legitimate contingency to replace him if need be. One option in-house could be to shift Jeff McNeil from third base to right field, which is a position he has played in the past, and have JD Davis take over at third base full time.
Another solution could be to shift Brandon Nimmo from center field to right, and find a better defensive center fielder on the free agent market to help improve the Mets defensively. Prominent free agents who could fill this role are Starling Marte and Joc Pederson, or they could take a big swing at one of the top free agents in this year’s talent pool in Kris Bryant.
Michael Conforto is arguably the most intriguing decision the Mets have to make this off-season, as he has big shoes to fill in the Mets lineup, but it is unknown if he can even fill them himself. While they shouldn’t overpay to keep him, it would be a shame for him to go to another team and tear it up there.
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Regardless, it is going to be a very interesting off-season for the Mets in who they decide to keep and who they decide to let go, but one thing is for certain. If New York hopes to compete in 2022, they better be prepared to find suitable replacements for all of them if our worst fears come to pass.