Michael Conforto is now the best free agent on the open market. New York Mets fans are beginning to wonder if maybe there is one final round left for him and the only big league team he has ever known. Will a reunion happen?
A couple of other moves will need to take place for the Mets to even have a spot open for him on the roster. They’re at full capacity with their position players. Outside of trading, demoting, or releasing a player, it’s hard to squeeze him in. The best chance of this happening is for the Mets to trade J.D. Davis. Otherwise, we’re looking at a 2022 season with Conforto wearing any team’s colors.
Which team will it be?
Where will Mets free agent Michael Conforto sign?
The qualifying offer attached to signing him has surely convinced some teams to go in a different direction when building their 2022 rosters. The round of the pick is dependent on a few factors including how much the team’s payroll was the previous season and their participation in revenue sharing. Most teams would lose their second or third-round draft picks. You may remember a big discussion with the Mets was that they wouldn’t sign any free agent with the QO attached to them because their second-highest draft pick this year is the 14th overall selection—a result of their inability to sign Kumar Rocker last year.
Equally as big are teams with a spot to play Conforto. You can probably find a roster spot on most of the cellar dwellers. But what purpose would this serve unless they are hoping to compete? A team like the Baltimore Orioles or Pittsburgh Pirates doesn’t make sense for Conforto unless it’s long-term and they are hoping to compete soon.
A couple of teams in the American League would make sense for Conforto. The Toronto Blue Jays are finding ways to get everyone into their lineup. Would they be willing to throw money his way and add only their second left-handed bat to the lineup? They may first need to find a taker for outfielder Randal Grichuk.
In the American League Central, the Chicago White Sox could sign Conforto. Adam Engel is their expected starting right fielder and he doesn’t measure up close to what they could potentially get out of Conforto. Their offseason was mainly focused on improving the bullpen. With the Minnesota Twins saying “game on” to them and the rest of baseball, it could be a big splash for them to make.
The incredibly quiet Cleveland Guardians are another destination. They didn’t do much at all this offseason and have spots available in the outfield.
Then there are those fringe teams that seem to be buying and selling like the Cincinnati Reds. They dismantled the roster yet continued to make some more minor additions. They could use an outfielder with the departure of Nick Castellanos in free agency and Jesse Winker through a trade. Would they be a match for the longtime Mets outfielder?
I think when Conforto does sign it might come as a bit of a shock. Someone may appear to be playing out of position after it’s all over with. It may require another transaction, too, in order to fit him on the roster. The Boston Red Sox will make Trevor Story work as their second baseman alongside Xander Bogaerts. Perhaps a team can get a little creative with Conforto.
There’s also the ever-present spring training injury that completely changes a team’s plans. One wrong crash into the outfield wall at a small ballpark in Florida or Arizona can completely alter a team’s lineup. Will Conforto hold out until one of those opportunities come along?