The Rangers made Michael Conforto an offer over the summer and have maintained interest in the free-agent outfielder throughout the offseason, Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News reports. That interest has led to recent talks with agent Scott Boras, who said earlier in the offseason that Conforto was eyeing a two-year contract with an opt-out opportunity after the first season.
Texas isn’t alone in courting Conforto. Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that both the Blue Jays and Mets are still showing interest as well. (The Mets, of course, are the only team for which Conforto has ever played.) Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post adds (via Twitter) that the Rockies checked in but are not seen as a likely landing spot. Saunders lists the Cubs, Marlins and Rangers as teams more prominently involved in the Conforto bidding. Seattle and Houston were linked to Conforto earlier in the offseason, though the Astros’ reunion with Michael Brantley seemingly takes them out of the Conforto mix.
The Rangers are the most commonly cited suitor for Conforto, though that hardly ensures that he’ll be suiting up at Globe Life Field in 2023. Still, Texas has had a clear need for at least one outfielder all season but has thus far focused its free-agent and trade pursuits on pitchers. Conforto, 30 in March, would be a risky investment on a multi-year deal but would come with substantial upside; the former first-round pick posted a combined .265/.369/.495 batting line with 97 home runs, 86 doubles, three triples, a 12.7% walk rate and 24.4% strikeout rate in 1959 plate appearances from 2017-20.
Conforto’s platform year before reaching free agency, however, was disappointing. He followed that strong four-year run with a more pedestrian .232/.344/.384 batting line in his age-28 season in 2021. Conforto still rejected a qualifying offer from the Mets, banking on a team being willing to forfeit a draft pick based on the strength of his overall track record. That didn’t happen prior to last winter’s lockout, though, and Conforto went on to suffer an offseason shoulder injury that required surgery in the spring. Despite interest from the Astros and the apparent offer from the Rangers, Conforto did not sign over the summer, instead ostensibly preferring to wait for an offseason deal and a fully healthy return to baseball. (Had he played last summer, it’s believed he’d have been limited to designated hitter duties.)
Rosenthal suggests that some teams are concerned about Conforto’s throwing in the wake of that surgery, though he’s currently throwing from a distance of 150 feet. For the Rangers, Conforto could potentially slot into left field, given Adolis Garcia’s presence in right field. That might help to mitigate some concerns about his arm strength — if Texas even has any at the moment. Rangers left fielders were far and away the worst in MLB last season, batting a combined .186/.253/.255. Every one of those rate stats ranked dead-last in the Majors, as did the resulting 47 wRC+. Texas, incredibly, gave 13 different players a look in left field last season.
While the Rangers stand as an obvious and perhaps the best fit for Conforto, his other reported suitors are all sensible landing spots, to varying degrees. The Blue Jays have a nearly all-right-handed lineup and have seen Lourdes Gurriel Jr.’s offensive contributions wane in recent seasons; Gurriel still hit for a strong .291 average in 2022, but his power vanished and his defensive grades have never been particularly strong. GM Ross Atkins said just yesterday that his focus was shifting to upgrading the offense — ideally by adding a lefty bat who could slot into the outfield. Conforto checks a lot of boxes for them. As with the Rangers, Conforto could likely slot into left field with Toronto, lessening potential concerns about his throwing arm.
The Mets, meanwhile, already have a crowded roster and a bloated payroll, but owner Steve Cohen and GM Billy Eppler seem undeterred by either of those factors. Conforto could factor into Buck Showalter’s lineup as a left fielder and designated hitter, perhaps pushing Daniel Vogelbach into more of a bench role than the platoon DH role for which he’s currently set. It might not be an especially clean fit, but the Mets perhaps feel they’d be a deeper and better team by adding Conforto, which could well bump Darin Ruf (who struggled following his acquisition over the summer) or high-priced catcher James McCann from the roster.
The Cubs’ outfield is largely set, with Ian Happ, Cody Bellinger and Seiya Suzuki lined up from left to right, but there’s plenty of opportunity for Conforto to join the mix and rotate through the outfield corners and designated hitter. Neither the Rockies nor Marlins are ideal fits, but it’s nevertheless notable that both have looked into a potential match with Conforto. Both teams need center fielders more than a corner outfielder, however. Colorado could push Randal Grichuk to center, but he’s generally graded out as a better defender in right field. Miami, meanwhile, already has a pair of corner outfielders — Avisail Garcia, Jorge Soler — in search of a rebound, though the latter figures to spend the bulk of his time at designated hitter in 2023.
Between a fair number of teams with interest and this offseason’s rash of free-agent deals that allow players to opt back into the market as early as next offseason, Conforto’s chances of reaching that goal of a multi-year deal with an opt-out seems attainable.
Conforto doesn’t make sense for the Cubs unless they dealt Happ. Conforto is going to sign somewhere to play the OF on a one year deal or multi-year deal with an early opt out. And Bellinger I would think would sign somewhere to play CF for better value and not move to 1B. Both are signing/playing for a better contract.
I could definitely see the Cubs wanting Conforto as a DH/fourth outfielder.
Conforto could play left and right field and the Cubs could occasionally play Happ in center to spell Bellinger.
If Conforto could bounce back, he is an impact bat the Cubs desperately need. The problem is the odds of him and Bellinger both producing at their previous levels seem far fetched.
Yes but I can’t see Conforto wanting to settle for a 4th OF job in what is effectively a walk year.
Yet I don’t see a team giving him the outright starting LF position either. He was injured all of last year and when he did play in 2021 he didn’t produce as before. He will be lucky to be signed to a platoon situation, with a chance to get AB’s at DH.
I’m guessing he’s going to either have to take a 1 year deal or 1 with a player option for 2. He probably doesn’t WANT to be a 4th OFer, but he’s probably gotta prove he’s a starter. Cubs makes sense for that reason.
Cubs need a guy that can potentially hit in the middle of the order. I’d say Conforto is the best option on the free agent front. Plenty of ways to get him at bats especially without having a catcher in the dh spot half the year.
I am somewhat surprised the Giants aren’t in on Conforto. Zaidi said he wanted to add two outfielders. He usually does or tries to do what he says. Plus and two year deal with an opt out is totally his style.
Does that mean 2 OF’s before Joc accepted the QO?
You’d hope even with Joc in the fold. Dude raked last year but he should definitely be DH’ing at this point
After. They see Joc as a DH.
Supposedly looking for a defence first guy so not sure Conforto suits the requirement.
Too many left handed hitters in the outfield mix already. Not much of an upgrade from Gonzales or Wade Jr.
he should go to Japan for a few years or sign a minor league deal with a team
He’ll get a one year prove it contract from someone at the very least. Way too good to go abroad right now.
He’s a perfect fit for Cincinnati, who needs OF help. Great American Ballpark is built for padding batting stats. Shouldn’t be too expensive of a signing either, which is exactly what the ownership wants.
I agree with all of this except the not too expensive part. I don’t think he’s going to come cheap.
This one belongs to the Reds
I disagree. I think he has overestimated his market which is why he is unsigned. After all, he missed a year. That means a lot.
Over estimates it last year also.
True but even him seeing what Cody B received from the Cubs, one moron GM will overpay because the market is thin,
Whether he overestimated his market or not, there’s no way the Reds offer him enough money. To recap:
* Turned down an offer of approximately 4-5 years and $100-125 million from the Mets prior to 2021
* Did not play well in 2021, still turned down the $18.4 million QO from the Mets
* Injured himself
* Still turned down a 2 year, $30 million offer from the Astros, incidentally costing himself a WS ring as well
* According to this article, had an offer from the Rangers as well that he turned down
He’s already shown that he’d rather sit out than settle for a deal. Reds of all teams are not going to pony up enough to get Conforto to sign. He’d rather sit out.
He’s not a CFer…
My takeaway is that Boros is providing bad advice or Conforto has a very high opinion of himself, despite the injury. While I believe he’s a very good hitter and would make a solid DH right now, he still needs to prove the arm is ok if he’s targeting OF play. $10M would be my cap for a year.
Then they offer a contract that’s back loaded. After all, Moose and Votto fall off payroll after 2023. Not saying he gets anything like their numbers either. Maybe incentives to make more.
More than likely, he will be traded at the deadline or opt out anyways.
I’m not a Reds fan, but I was thinking they should sign Conforto and bring back Drury. It wouldn’t be THAT expensive, and it would give them a semblance of a competitive lineup to support their rising stars on the mound. And then they can flip them in late July for more future help.
Agree on both counts, Moonlight. Take a look at the Reds’ official depth chart. They have Fraley listed as the #1 LF and #1 RF. That will be difficult to pull off. They are also listing Steer #1 at both 1B and 3B. That will be even tougher. Conforto and Drury would potentially make them much more competitive.
I actually think the Reds are somewhat comfortable with Jake Fraley and TJ Friedl as their corner outfielder’s at this point. CF is where they would love to upgrade. Both were slightly above league average last year, Fraley a little more so,and they would like to see what they get out of a full year from both.
I thought Friedl was decent, too, but he’s not even listed on the Reds’ official depth chart on mlb.com
This one belongs to the Reds
I agree on CF but both of those guys have played there as well.
I still stick by my prediction that Elly De La Cruz will eventually play there.
Makes sense for the Cubs, as they have a few young outfielders poised to make MLB debuts within the next 2 years (barring more injuries). They wouldn’t want to lock anyone up long term there, but they need another bat in the meantime.
I think with an OF of Happ (unless he moves back to infield), Bellinger, Suzuki (don’t know how he is on defense, maybe he would move to DH?) that he wouldn’t make sense. I see them signing someone like Mancini to play 1B.
Suzuki won 5 gold gloves before coming to the MLB.
Didn’t know that. Thanks. Then he definitely doesn’t make sense there. Dude is going to want to play OF as much as possible to prove he is fine for his next contract.
He may want to play the OF, but if he really wants to maximize his next contract he may not want to display how bad he is at playing the OF. Seriously he’s bad and should DH.
JD Martinez, who is a gigantically better hitter than Conforto, just took 1/10.
Mikey better find a seat before the music stops or he can overestimate himself straight to the Seibu Lions
They need a bat, not necessarily a full time outfielder. Bellinger can play some 1B, and they don’t have a true DH. Senga, Bellinger and Happ are all gold glove level outfielders.
That’s why I can see someone like Mancini signing there to split 1B/DH with Mervis eventually.
Lineup of :
Yan Gomes C
“Senga” is a pitcher on the metropolitans, you mean Suzuki.
Bellinger’s bat is even more abysmal if you move him from CF to 1b. But they also displaced Nico despite him being a very good defensive SS so maybe they’re dumb enough to try Bellinger at 1B
Buyer beware. Has anyone seen him throw? Face live pitching? He’s an enigma.
This one belongs to the Reds
If they don’t give him a full workout before signing him, they are foolish, even before a physical.
DeGrom Texas Ranger
I read the article by Evan Grant. I doubt he is reliable. His article was first titled “Rangers Closing in on Conforto” and then was changed to “Texas Rangers Remain Interested …”
Grant is one of the most reliable journalists in the sport.
Hmmmm…. note taken.
I trust Evan Grant, he doesn’t operate of misleading and usually thoroughly checks sources before reporting, even if it means he isn’t going to break a story. I think his intention with the previous headline was more of a “Zeroing in on Conforto” and he realized how that could be confusing.
Regardless, I’d like to see us get Conforto. If he doesn’t pan out, having him a second year wouldn’t hurt that bad.
I fear the only thing (the biggest thing haha) that’s keeping him from signing with Seattle are the owners of the team!!
This year’s mystery prize in the Cracker Jack box. Could be a really nice addition to a lineup. Could be toast.
Someone will have to pay to find out.
Conforto rejected an offer from the Mets of over $100,000,000 before his free agent season. This guy way overvalued himself, made nothing in 2022 and is struggling to find a contract for 2023. I love it.
Greed plus delusion is a hilarious formula. Thanks for the laugh, Michael
Fans are often bitter and jealous.
Better that he is laughing at millionaire players or billionaire owners who still have food on their tables and money for other essential needs than laughing at those who are truly unfortunate. Not a mature look, but no real harm from it.
Jealousy is even more hilarious. Kind of pathetic laughing at a guys misfortune but I guess that is what weak people do.
A guy who is both more successful and rich than the butt hurt commenter
Success is not measured by wealth, but rather by the love and empathy that you give and receive. While it is not a mature look, I doubt that it harms your karma too much to wish that a millionaire does not get more millions.
I don’t know if overvaluing yourself counts as misfortune.
You can ask for whatever you want, but when the market is not responding in kind it’s time to take a look in the mirror.
Classic- 29 teams made the decision to pass on Mike Trout missing out on an 82.4 bWAR player! Hindsight is 20/20 ……
He rejected that offer after 2020, where from 2017-20 he had a 134 ops+ and was a top 10 of in baseball value wise. Definitely a better player then than Nimmo is now. So when he turned it down it wasn’t that crazy. Then he sucked in his walk year, stupidly turned down the QO, then got hurt. That’s where I bet he’s kicking himself, because coming off that walk year, he should’ve jumped at the QO. Bad choice
Just sign with Seattle already we all know it’s coming
I can hope. I would have preferred a Brandon Nimmo or Andrew Benintendi, but since most of the other options are gone now, I can hope for Michael Conforto. Maybe that is what Jarred Kelenic has been missing all along, some competition to rile him up and get his best out of him.
He fits perfectly here for 2023 at the very least. I love the idea of getting Jarred and TT some competition out there in left. Could be a big time stabilizer for this club.
Or maybe Kelenic is just overhyped and overrated.
I am willing to accept that. Happens all the time in baseball. Would not be odd at all if he is truly a bust.
With his talent, would not be odd at all if he truly breaks out this season.
He is a big time headcase player. Body language, facial expressions, you can cut his intensity with a knife. It’s not doomsday yet for him, but he’s gotta make some serious mental adjustments, for sure.
That is definitely a possibility. He is only 23, so not quite ready to call him a bust yet, but it certainly is a possibility that he turns out to be vastly overrated. He might turn out to be another Jeremy Reed, crushed the baseball at every level, but never could hit major league pitching.
Kelenic can be both overrated and still good enough to help the team
Kelenic is not / was not overrated. He does have 5 tools, they are visible. Tools don’t always equal success. There are numerous write ups about how intense he is. Analytics are fantastic and true measures to reference, but analytics do not have a measure for the mental part of the game. How to leave yesterday on the field and play today, how to slow down the game. It’s that 6th tool where Kelenic has struggled and the impact …..well the numbers are just not good at all.
Manfred Rob's Earth Band
Reply to Wampum: Jinny Piersall once said about a prospect, Yeah he has 5 tools, But no toolbox. Lessons learned.
@WampumWalloper spot on you are totally right to cross sports look at Purdy in SF; all “6th” tool with early success
Athletes are highly competitive. He’s not failing because he needs a kick in the butt. He’s failing because he can’t easily recognize breaking pitches. It could be a fatal flaw.
Failing at breaking pitches is 100% his big thing right now. He can mash a fastball and in the abs where he is able to get himself one, he connects. He absolutely has some high level skill.
The ability to recognize a breaking pitch; you NEED CONFIDENCE to be able to make adjustments. I assure you, based on his results, interviews, reports from the team and body language thus far, he is ABSOLUTELY struggling with confidence.
Maybe Conforto gives him “a kick in the butt,” or maybe he is the everyday guy out there that we need. Either way, he’s a great fit; both as competition and insurance for JK.
Normally I would agree with you. But with his pedigree and the Mariners essentially keeping LF warm for him, I wonder if he took it too easy, figured the job was his no matter what.
But you could definitely be right, he just might never figure it out, at the major league level.
Why can’t someone already on the team give him the kick in the butt he needs?
If they could, you think they would have by now. Maybe Jarred needs the threat of a local boy coming home and trying to impress the home crowds to get him into gear.
Or, as other people have pointed out, maybe Jarred will never figure it out. Or maybe he just needs a change of scenery, maybe he needs the Mariners to “give up” on him and ship him somewhere else for him to realize he needs to pull his head out and screw it on straight.
No…he signs with the Reds. You can have him at the deadline.
This one belongs to the Reds
After he makes some killer season numbers for his next contract.
Larry Bernandez 1324IM
Sodomojo: Nah, it’ll end up being Wil Myers and Jerry will push the lack of funds envelop like always.
Rangers are a perfect fit. He’ll get to play every day with a chance to prove his worth for a longterm contract next year.
Yeah I was thinking Rangers or Jays. Could see Gurriel moved or DHing.
Not seeing a great Cubs fit with left-handed hitting OF Michael Conforto unless they’re shopping switch-hitting LF Ian Happ. Right-handed hitting Trey Mancini might be a better fit at 1B/DH with left-handed hitting prospect Matt Mervis who’s expected to be with the Cubs sooner rather than later in 2023. Mancini can also fit into the Cubs corner OF mix on occasion and would also add an excellent veteran presence to the clubhouse.
Mertz is ready
I wish it made just a little more sense for the O’s. They have room at DH, and maybe some OF rotation, but maybe more of a need for a lefty 1B. If only Conforto played some 1B it would be perfect.
Anybody who signs him has to know they may potentially be getting precisely zilch out of the contract and roster spot.
Seems like a guy who should get a token 1 year/$800k base salary w/ $4.2M in incentives based on PA’s or however that’s calculated with a $7.5M mutual option that can increase to $12M based on the same incentives w/ a guaranteed $500k buyout.
Basically you’re paying him virtually the league minimum w/ enough incentives that are easily achieved if he can stay healthy and rack up playing time, and where he will still make seven figures even if he only plays part time, but does stick around over the course of the season- with an extremely generous second year option that is imminently affordable for the club, lucrative for the player but also something of a lottery ticket for Conforto if he struggles to play either in terms of staying healthy or he stays healthy but isn’t productive and a lottery ticket for the club if Conforto bounced back completely- with an opportunity for him to opt out and test the open market again if he’s clearly worth more than $10-ish million on the open market going into 2024, etc.
And that team should be…. Seattle. Or somewhere else that’s rebuilding with fringe playoff potential.
Of course, injuries can always derail someone’s season. Apart from that, you offer an unexpected take about a player who had at least a .344 OBP during the last five years he played. I have much more faith in Conforto being productive again.
I do not have faith in him. His OBP has been fairly up and down and the drop off in 2021 was glaring. He’s an inconsistent player who’s a year removed from his last full season, a season in which he underperformed. Granted- injuries, rehabilitation, etc. so he might be back to his best self, but his best self was never amazing.
He seems like a guy who’s individual seasons hint at an eventual value in the $20M-30M range, but he always plateaus or falls off in one way or another so that a $12M-ish salary winds up being appropriate one way or another and a multi-year pact doesn’t seem particularly advisable.
But hey- bouncing back to a $12M annual income on successive one year pacts is still an extremely lucrative living by normal people standards and a very comfortable middle class living by MLB standards.
I’d offer a one year, but no way I’d give an opt out unless the team gets one, too. If he’s not healthy or able, I’m not paying the 2nd year. He can bet on himself, but no hedging on my dime.
His OBP is always solid since he’s been a FT starter in 2017. Even his terrible 2021 he ended at 344 OBP. He’s a 350-60 OBP guy w potential for more when his avg is up a bit. He can def be up and down but most guys are. Remember that 2018 he came off major shoulder surgery, so that could be a comp for this year. 350 OBP, 25+ hr would be within reason if healthy.
Let’s see how much money Boras can cost this guy THIS year lol.
Scott Boras is playing hardball as always, but this time with an outfielder who at last view stopped hitting and presently cannot throw.
I don’t see any reason for any club to fall for the Boras pitch.
Teams work out players who have been out all the time. Conforto is no different.
Padres 1/$10 get it done AJP
I could see the Rangers doing the 2 -year, with an opt-out after year one. They just need someone to occupy left field for this season, anyway, assuming one of Evan Carter or Aaron Zavala win the job in 2024.
If this article is accurate and all these teams have been at least somewhat interested why hasn’t he signed? After what he’s been through figured he’d have signed all ready and proved he can still play then got a better deal soon after. Hard to believe any article about Conforto. Blame Boras if you want but it makes no sense.
This guy hasn’t played in 2 years and he wants a 2 year deal.
Boras is overplaying his hand here. No team will go for it. The guy deserves a 1 year deal, low base with achievable bonuses.
Perhaps if Conforto did an open tryout and let teams see he’s healthy he could get a nice offer. But that will NEVER HAPPEN.
I wouldbt mind conforto signing with the cubs. I wouldn’t mind Trey Mancini either.
I don’t see John Heyman so this must be actual news. Thanks for the information.
Were I going after Conforto, it’d be 1/$15M, with a $2M buyout on a $25M team option, but if the team opts in, Conforto can opt out with no buyout.
Teams can tell themselves on a two year with an opt-out after the first year is that if Conforto is that if he’s good enough to opt out, then no harm no foul on a one year deal. But the injury is an added risk. Let’s say he’s limited and takes several months to get well. If he has a good August and September, Boras will have him opt out and sell teams on the last 2 months. If he’s really limited on a semi-permanent basis, you’ve handed out a significant guarantee to someone who can’t manage the filed well and whose bat isn’t entirely back. But there are plenty of teams who might do it anyway.
Jays should pass, they already have an outfield full of guys with long injury histories. They need to find a young guy under control who isn’t fitting in on a current club and move a catcher to get him. There had been some rumors about Oneil in STL but i think that died down. Something like that…That’s my two cents anyway
The Mets should release McCann, Ruf and Fatman and give Mauricio, Alvarez and Baty a shot. It’ll cut down on the luxury tax and save money on material for uniforms!
I just pray he does not wind up back on the Mets as a long time Mets fan.
Please someone else sign him… PLEASE!! 🙂
Agreed. Conforto should only come back to the Mets as a concession stand attendant.
Marlins still pretending to try to sign guys?
I imagine that the agents go back to the Marlins and say, “We just got a 2-year $30 million offer.”
Ng and Sherman respond, “We’ll give you 1 year at $12 million.”
Agent, confused, replies, “Uhhh, that’s not as good as the offer I just told you about we were offered elsewhere. We’re going to have to decline, unless you do better.”
Ng and Sherman, “OK, 1 year for $10 million.”
Agent completely puzzled replies, “Sorry, we’re going to pass. Good luck.”
Ng and Sherman to the Miami media and fans, “We tried.”
Agent listening to the announcement saying to himself, “No they didn’t try. But I get what they’re doing. I feel bad for the Marlins fans that see through that garbage.”
Conforto should follow the mold of Nick Castellanos and Brandon Drury and sign with the Reds. A 2-year deal with opt out is ideal for the Reds because it doesn’t lock up a lot of money long term and it’s good for Conforto because Cincinnati is a place for hitters to have career years.
I see everyone talking about the Rockies need a center fielder – Daza is a good center fielder.
Glad the Blue Jays missed out on him. We don’t need to replace Teo with an even worse fielding slugger with more questionable health. If Atkins is serious about run prevention like he claimed, he shouldn’t have been talking to Conforto (no, a full time DH isn’t an option, not with Springer and Vladdy and whoever’s hurt needing time there).