Michael Conforto is not having the year a player wants in his walk-year. This is why it makes sense for him to opt for a do-over in ’22.
Mets home-grown right fielder Michael Conforto has been limited to 65 of the team’s 100 games this year.
His return on June 23 after a five-week layoff due to a hamstring strain has not gone well, especially for a player looking to put up attractive numbers in his final season before entering free agency.
Among the 2022 free-agent outfielders, Spotrac still has Conforto ranked third in his class, with a market value and average annual salary pegged at $24.9 million.
That, of course, is subject to change, up or down between now and the end of this year’s World Series, when eligible players can declare themselves a free agent.
With 60 or so games remaining in the regular season, Michael Conforto will not reach his average career offense numbers (.255 BA, .356 OBP, 29 HR, 85 RBI, and .828 OPS).
Not only that, Conforto’s numbers to date are stinking up the joint. After today’s 0-4 in a 6-3 loss to the Braves, he’s looking at .203 BA, .336 OBP, 6 HR, 24 RBI, with a .677 OPS that is well below the major league average of .712.
So, what to do?
Michael Conforto Will Ask The Mets For A Do-Over
Assuming that Scott Boras, his agent, isn’t looking forward to shopping Michael Conforto’s season around the league, he may decide on a second option for his player – a do-over in 2022 – with hopes a full season will bring Conforto’s numbers back to being attractive.
For this to work, however, Boras needs the cooperation of the Mets, Michael Conforto’s current team.
The Mets can, if they wish, offer Conforto what is called a Qualifying Offer. This is a one-year contract, after which a player is free to declare himself a free agent. (See MLB’s full definition of Qualifying Offer here)
Last year, only six free agents received a qualifying offer with a value of $18.9 million attached salary from their team. Only two of the six accepted the offer, and ironically one of the two was Mets starting pitcher Marcus Stroman.
Will The Mets Roll The Dice?
At first glance, you might think that a pretty exclusive class when all free agents are considered.
You’d be correct, and that’s because there is a catch that translates into a penalty when a team extends a qualifying offer to a free agent and it is rejected.
Regarding Michael Conforto, if the Mets extend him an offer and he rejects it, the team that eventually signs Conforto must “compensate” the Mets for their loss.
In effect, this reduces the player’s value, as most teams guard their draft picks as finding gold for the future.
The compensation takes the form of a pick in the next college and amateur draft. MLB has a complicated formula to determine what level the pick falls at, but it is safe to say that the team signing him will pay a healthy price for a player of Michael Conforto’s caliber.
In practice, the who system makes for a great Las Vegas type of high risk and reward action for both the player and the two involved teams.
So for the Mets, they’d have to be pretty certain that Michael Conforto will accept the offer if they extend one to him.
For Michael Conforto, It Can Be A Win-Win
The amount of this year’s qualifying offer has not been announced by MLB, but a number close to $22 million follows the recent average increases from the previous year.
For Conforto, then, this would mean taking a loss of roughly $3 million to play the 2022 season, a paltry sum when you consider he would probably be looking at a long-term deal as a 2023 free agent with a value in the neighborhood of $225 million.
Conforto Can Continue To Deal The Cards
At the moment, both Michael Conforto and the Mets have other things on their mind, namely winning the NL East and moving far into the 2021 playoffs.
Even so, Conforto has a daily opportunity to stick another pin in the donkey as he did last night when he threw a 94 mph dart to home, nabbing the would-be tying runner, saving the game for the Mets, a feat that Scott Boras has surely added to Conforto’s portfolio for when he makes his pitch to the Mets.
Every once in a while, I like to offer readers a “keep your eyes on this” type article. This is one of them, and the picture will come more into focus as the season reaches its conclusion…for both the Mets and Michael Conforto.
Here’s What Readers Are Saying…
Anthony Pesca I think 19 million is still too much to allocate to the player Conforto now is. Anthony Pesca Steve Contursi just a steep price coming off an awful season. Btw, most personable player to all the fans at spring training last year.
Patrick Rafulowitz I would let him walk, he never developed into the player they thought he was going to be
Michael J. Cala My point is “No Do-Over as a Met, Please!”
Harve Klatzko He’s not the superstar I’d thought he’d be for our Mets…
Bob Lauck I don’t think he would have a worse health and offensive year, why not?
Glenn Brown The Mets can sign Conforto for a lot less this off-season. I still think he’s a good player he has to stay healthy to be able to continuously hit.
Richard Borzouye I like Conforto. So does my oldest son a lot but I wouldn’t sign him to a long-term deal. I’d make him a qualifying offer hoping he’s taking it and have a great year then
Closing Published Comments And Final Thoughts
With this, we’ll close published comments.
Overwhelmingly, Mets do not seem as enamored with Michael Conforto as they once were. If the Mets brass feels the same way, this changes everything…