So, the Cubs are supposedly interested in free agent Michael Conforto? Huh? Like, this would have made a lot more sense last offseason, but now? Let’s see.
According to Jon Heyman, the Cubs are among several teams who are considering the left-handed hitting free agent.
Via the New York Post.
The Cubs are among teams considering Michael Conforto. He is seeking a deal for two years with an opt-out. They also are in contact with Christian Vazquez, among other catchers.
Heyman also reiterates the Cubs’ interest in Cody Bellinger, which you can read more about here, and the Cubs have been linked to Christian Vazquez before too.
Anyway, Conforto? The last we heard of him this past year was back in April, when we found out that he had shoulder surgery resulting from an offseason injury he suffered in January. After the 2021 season, Conforto declined the qualifying offer from the Mets and well MLB was also in a lockout, so the injury was kind of the cherry on top of the outfielder not being able to sign with anyone.
So, how would Conforto fit with the Cubs? Jed Hoyer has publicly said the Cubs will have a new player taking over the majority of playing time in center field next season. That means either trading for one or signing someone to fill that role. Since making his debut with the Mets in 2015, Conforto has started 133 games in center field. However, he hasn’t started there since 2019, when he did so only 39 times.
The Cubs currently have Seiya Suzuki in right field, and he’s not moving from there, while Ian Happ just won a gold glove in left field. Maybe Conforto is still OK defensively in center? I’m not sold, but I’m also not privy to the info the Cubs’ front office has.
The perception of Conforto isn’t considerably great, considering the last time he played he posted a .728 OPS with the Mets. Yet, despite the overall struggles in 2021, Conforto did have solid numbers against right-handed pitching, slashing .243/.348/.444, hitting 13 of his 14 home runs off of them.
Now, I may sound a bit skeptical about Conforto’s overall fit with the Cubs, but I can’t lie that I do like the things he’s good at; getting on base and left-handed power. From 2017-19, Conforto hit 88 home runs and he added nine more in 54 games during the abbreviated 2020 season. He also has a career .356 OBP and has a damn good career slash line against righties at .265/.371/.502.
Maybe paired up with a defensive-oriented center fielder in 2023 it could work with Conforto and the Cubs? And then of course the days he’s not on the field you can easily slot him into the DH spot.
There’s also the chance that Happ could be traded and Conforto replaces him in left. Although, I don’t necessarily believe signing Conforto means the Cubs have to trade Happ. They can make it work with both of them on the roster.
But how would you feel about the Cubs potentially signing Conforto?