Potential Landing Spots for Michael Conforto

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Even though guys like Starling Marte, Avisail Garcia, and Mark Canha were signed before MLB’s lockout, there are still plenty of strong outfield options available. When the lockout is lifted, Michael Conforto will be one of the outfielders who garners the most attention. The lefty-hitting Conforto will have plenty of potential landing spots. Age is on his side as he will be 29 before Opening Day. However, injuries and inconsistencies have made Conforto one of the harder free agents to figure out.

Conforto followed up what was arguably his best season in 2020 with arguably his worst season in 2021. He had a slashline of .322/.412/.515 in the shortened 2020 season. His .232/.344/.384 slashline in 2021 was a far cry from the season before. Conforto has always had sizable variations in batting average between seasons. His career batting average is .255. However, until 2021, he consistently hit for power. His career slugging percentage is a quality .468. One thing that he continued in 2021 was his stellar eye at the plate. His walk rate through seven seasons is 12.1%, which is well above average. A return to the New York Mets is highly unlikely after the team signed the aforementioned Marte and Canha. However, Conforto has a pretty good floor and he can be a great fit on a few teams.

Miami Marlins

The Miami Marlins have already signed a corner outfielder, the aforementioned Garcia. However, their outfield still has room to improve. As a team, the Marlins were bottom five in the NL in nearly every offensive statistic. They have plenty of young options such as Jesus Sanchez, Monte Harrison, and Bryan De La Cruz. If they want another veteran though, Conforto could man left field while one of their young prospects plays center. If a universal DH is added in the next CBA, Miami can still get plenty of at-bats for a guy like Sanchez, who had 14 homers in 64 games in 2021.

Milwaukee Brewers

On paper, the Milwaukee Brewers have a really good outfield: Christian Yelich, Lorenzo Cain, and the recently acquired Hunter Renfroe. However, Cain has dealt with a number of injuries over the past few seasons and was limited to 78 games in 2021. Yelich has dealt with back issues over the past couple seasons and is coming off a year where he hit .248 with nine home runs. A universal DH would immediately give a spot for Conforto and the Brewers’ current outfielders to play every day in some capacity. If the universal DH is not added in the CBA, a rotation of sorts could be used to keep them healthy and give everyone plenty of playing time.

Detroit Tigers

One of the up and coming, young teams who could be looking for a veteran outfielder is the Detroit Tigers. They have already made a couple splashes by signing Eduardo Rodriguez and Javier Baez. They could potentially make one more splash by signing Conforto to boost their outfield. Detroit currently has a veteran patrolling their outfield in Robbie Grossman, but outside of him there are some question marks. Akil Baddoo struggled in the middle of the 2021 season, but made some adjustments and finished strong. Victor Reyes has talent, but his sub .300 OBP and sub .400 slugging in over 300 career games leave a lot to be desired. Derek Hill and Daz Cameron are also talented young players, but they have very little Major League experience. Signing Conforto could help the Tigers let the rest of the AL Central know that their rebuild is just about over.

Conforto is one of the better hitting outfielders on the market. A left handed hitter like Conforto will always have plenty of possible landing spots, especially one with the potential that he has. Conforto has shown signs of greatness in his career and if he can more consistently tap into that, he could be one of the steals of the offseason.

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Players Mentioned:

Starling Marte, Avisail Garcia, Mark CanhaMichael Conforto, Jesus Sanchez, Monte Harrison, Bryan De La Cruz, Christian Yelich, Lorenzo Cain, Hunter Renfroe, Eduardo RodriguezJavier BaezRobbie GrossmanAkil BaddooVictor ReyesDerek HillDaz Cameron