Michael Conforto has done everything he possibly can to dissuade the Mets and other teams from pursuing him this winter. But he’s a keeper…
With Michael Conforto, the pieces are better than the sum of the whole, and to appreciate what he means to the Mets, as well as the skyrocket he was flying before this year, we need to look at each piece to know Conforto belongs in New York and with the Mets.
Some will argue the point, but I suggest that 2021 is a throwaway season for Michael Conforto.
Beset with injuries, Conforto never got off the ground this year. Whether it was due to a positive test for the COVID virus prior to Spring Training, or the pressure he placed on himself to repeat the career year he had in 2020, or the trepidation he felt as he looked ahead to his free agency – we’ll probably never know.
We also know that he comes from a family of athletes that includes his mother, Tracie Ruiz Conforto is a three-time Olympic medalist in synchronized swimming, and his father played inside linebacker at Penn State.
In January, Michael Conforto became engaged to his biggest fan Cabernet Burns. In short, Conforto is a well-grounded traditionalist who fits well into the culture the Mets are trying to establish.
Getting Over The Scott Boras Hurdle
One possible glitch in the free-agent process for the Mets is that he’s represented by Scott Boras, who is known for waiting out teams, and sometimes the player he represents, until the last possible moment.
Given Conforto’s “off” year in 2021, the Mets will seriously consider making Conforto a Qualifying Offer, which if he accepts it would keep him in New York for all of 2022, and then the process would start up again for 2023 and beyond.
This year’s MLB Qualifying Offer salary is expected to be in the neighborhood of $20 million, which represents a healthy increase from the $12.25 million Michael Conforto earned for 2021 through arbitration.
For both the Mets, who get to see him play a full year barring injury, and for Conforto himself, it’s a chance to put up numbers proportionately similar to the ones he had in 2020 in 54 games (.322 BA, 9 HR, .412 OBP, and a whopping .927 OPS).
As much as the Mets need an overhaul of their players, they also need continuity that supports their brand. Together with Alonso and Jacob deGrom, Michael Conforto is easily a fit in that endeavor.
Having said that, the wild card in the process is Scott Boras, who to his credit has been known to listen to a player who defies his lead, congratulating the player later on the decision he’s made for himself and his family.
But it will be up to Michael Conforto to re-take the lead from Boras if indeed he wants to remain a New York Met, even if means accepting less money than what Boras has on the table with another team.
For the Mets, the process needs to be a no-pressure courtship that leaves no doubt in Conforto’s mind he’s wanted here, even if it means a visit to Conforto’s winter home in Scottsdale, Arizona.
Homegrown talent is a rare commodity for the Mets and given his age (28), Michael Conforto is just beginning his prime years as a major league ballplayer. The Mets need to tie their future to his…
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