Reports came out recently that Michael Conforto is one of the players the New York Mets could still look to add before Opening Day. The longtime Mets outfielder turned down the qualifying offer in November and didn’t find a new team before the MLB lockout began.
As much as a huge queue of fans would love to see him back, it just doesn’t feel likely.
What’s stopping it from happening? For these three reasons, I’m not convinced we see Conforto wearing orange and blue in 2022.
Finding an everyday spot in the Mets lineup for Michael Conforto is tricky yet not impossible
If you added Conforto back onto the Mets roster right now, I would make Mark Canha a regular at the DH with Conforto going back to right field. This could always change depending on the defensive play of all of the outfield option.
It’s not a major roadblock in preventing Conforto from returning. And among the three reasons, I think it’s the easiest for them to overcome.
A one-year contract with the Mets doesn’t make much sense after he already turned one down
Let’s say Conforto does settle on a one-year “prove it” deal. Could he do it with the Mets?
Well, he’d need to receive an offer larger than the $18.9 million qualifying offer he already turned down. That’s a lot of money for the Mets to offer a guy they already had a chance to negotiate with for more than just the few weeks in November.
A contract like this would probably benefit Conforto more if he played for a team where he is more likely to see his offensive numbers explode. Even with general managers understanding a year at Coors Field might not be a good gauge of what’s to come, it can at least re-establish a hitter’s value.
Citi Field, on the other hand, wouldn’t be an ideal spot for an offensive player to try and prove himself for a season. What’s more, the Mets aren’t in a position to sign guys to contracts like this. They need players they know will perform.
A multi-year commitment would have happened already
The Mets have had years to extend Conforto and even had an opportunity to get a deal done in November. They directed themselves away from Conforto, signing Canha and Starling Marte on the same day.
Surely, even with Max Scherzer not yet a member of the Mets, Scott Boras was open to keeping his client in New York.
Despite the poor performance in 2021, I think Conforto gets at least a two-year contract this offseason. His year wasn’t so disastrous that he completely lost all value. Conforto still managed to post a .344 OBP and have a 101 OPS+ by season’s end.
Somewhere, some competitive team will be willing to give him a deal that crosses over beyond the 2022 campaign. If the Mets were interested in this, I feel they already would have made it happen.
I won’t write off the possibility of Conforto continuing his Mets tenure just yet. However, the signs are pointing toward him heading elsewhere either for just a season or maybe a little longer.