Another catcher? Brandon Nimmo re-introduced, and give me a reunion with Michael Conforto
A reunion with Michael Conforto seems logical to fill some of the Mets needs
What’s Up with the Mets? 🍎
The Mets agreed to sign C Omar Narváez to a two-year, $15 million contract (story)
Michael Conforto is looking for a two-year contract with a possible opt-out, agent Scott Boras told reporters at Citi Field on Thursday
The Mets recently signed José Peraza to a minor league contract - he was with the Mets in 2021, hitting .204/.266/.380 in 64 games that year
The Mets held a press conference at Citi Field on Thursday to re-introduce Brandon Nimmo, who said on Thursday he would like to improve his base stealing skills in 2023
In addition to a dimension change in right field at Citi Field, the Mets have begun construction on their new and enhanced scoreboard in center field
That’s what he said! 🎙️
“That’s always a huge motivator in free agency is, where can I go and compete for a World Series title? The great part is, I didn’t have to go anywhere.”
~ Brandon Nimmo, at his re-introductory press conference on Thursday
Why are some fans opposed to a Michael Conforto reunion? ✍🏻
The Mets need for another bat is no secret, and it feels like the running topic of discussion over the last week or so has been whether or not the Mets should pursue a reunion with Michael Conforto.
Surprisingly to me, there is a large percentage of fans who believe the answer is no.
But, why exactly?
I’m of the opinion that this is a result of overwhelming recency bias. Admittedly, the last two calendar years have not treated Conforto kindly. In 2021 he put up his worst offensive numbers in a half decade, something that came at a terrible time for him personally, as he was in a walk year. After reportedly first rejecting an extension offer from the Mets in spring training that season, he was unable unable to find a deal to his liking in free agency (thanks in part to having a poor season while also receiving a qualifying offer from the Mets). Then, Conforto hurt his shoulder doing off-season workouts as a free agent which required surgery, leaving him as damaged goods while on the open market.
But prior to that, Conforto built quite a body of work as a Met.
In the pandemic-truncated 2020 campaign, he was easily the team’s best player and it wasn’t close. In 202 at-bats he slashed .322/.412/.515 with 21 extra-base hits and 31 RBI in 54 games—a 93 RBI pace for a full season. He also posted an .870 OPS against left-handed pitching in that smaller than normal sample size.
The year before he crushed 33 home runs and drove in 92—proof that his pace in the short sample size of 2020 wasn’t a fluke. In fact, in the three year span between ‘17-’19 Conforto homered 27 or more times and contributed 20 or more doubles in all three seasons—despite missing 73 total games over that timeframe.
Now to the important question: Where would Michael Conforto fit in on the 2023 Mets?
Well, if the season started tomorrow the Mets outfield depth behind Brandon Nimmo, Starling Marte and Mark Canha is…..Darin Ruf and Khalil Lee. And potentially throwing Jeff McNeil in a corner as-needed.
Tyler Naquin was obviously inconsistent after coming over at the deadline from Cincinnati, but at least he was a legitimate outfielder. Before Naquin, New York’s fourth outfielder was the defensive whiz albeit very light hitting Travis Jankowski.
Conforto would immediately slot in as a left-handed bat that could potentially platoon with Canha in left if New York wanted to play the match-up game, though Canha did have reverse splits a year ago.
The DH spot was also essentially a black hole for the Mets all season long, as all of Robinson Canó, Dominic Smith, J.D. Davis, Daniel Vogelbach, Darin Ruf, and Mark Vientos failed to take the gig and run with it.
I don’t claim to be some incredible scout or judge of talent, but after watching Conforto for seven years, you’re going to have a hard time convincing me he wouldn’t at worst provide the same thing all those guys did.
And the upside is, well, Conforto’s upside. There isn’t another bat out there that has the ceiling of 30 homers and 90+ RBI, while also offering legitimately strong outfield play at all three positions should a need arise—and it might.
Marte is 34, Canha is 33, and before last season Nimmo had never played in more than 140 games.
And the best part of the whole idea is that because of the way last year unfolded for Conforto, he could conceivably be had on a low-risk and relatively low commitment, incentive-driven contract. In fact, his agent, Scott Boras, said just yesterday at Nimmo’s press conference that ideally Conforto would like to sign a two-year contract with an opt-out. That would work for the Mets, and perhaps the Mets could make it even more team-friendly.
From Conforto’s standpoint, as he tries to reestablish his career, wouldn’t it make sense to do so in a place he’s familiar with and comfortable with? He’s already going to be under a lot of pressure to prove he’s still the same player, if he has his druthers why would he want to add learning a new city to his plate?
Of course, New York can be a pressure cooker, and coming off an injury which caused him to miss an entire year can of course work against a player.
Still, I may be in the minority on this but I really can’t see the downside to bringing Conforto back into the fold. It just makes too much sense, for both sides.
Hot Stove 🔥
The Yankees and Carlos Rodón agreed to a six-year, $162 million contract (New York Post)
The Orioles agreed to sign Adam Frazier to a one-year, $8 million contract (New York Post)
The Nationals signed Erasmo Ramirez to a one-year contract (Washington Post)
The Reds are expressing interest in signing Johnny Cueto (MLB Network)
The Cubs signed veteran right handed reliever Brad Boxberger to a one-year contract (Passan)
To me, Conforto would be the everyday left-fielder and Canha would slide over to be the 4th outfielder who could play all three outfield positions. Canha was good in spurts last year but also went through some real dry spells .... I think he was exposed when playing everyday after Marte got hurt and wold be an ideal #4. Conforto could play everyday and rebuild his value.
Once again, someone on this site is writing a feature article lumping the dreadful Ruf together with Vogelbach. Spare a few seconds to look up his obp...it was .393 with the Mets. That's not good enough for you to take notice?
And, btw, there have always been successful ballplayers who weren't fast runners. Remember, perhaps, Ed Kranepool, who Bob Murphy used to describe as "not especially fleet afoot"?