Mariners Hot Stove Hype: Should M’s bring Michael Conforto home?

Nov 30, 2022, 9:21 AM
Mariners offseason Michael Conforto...
Michael Conforto hits an RBI single for the Mets against the Yankees on Sept. 12, 2021. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
(Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)

The MLB winter meetings are less than a week away, which should get the ball rolling on some answers to the few holes still left in the Mariners’ roster.

Two could be filled in one fell swoop, with Seattle in need of a left-handed bat, which can be addressed either in a corner outfielder or middle infielder. We went through a list of available lefty-hitting outfielders earlier this week on SeattleSports.com, and one of those names might jump out more than the others due to local ties.

That would be Michael Conforto, who is certainly an interesting option albeit one with a big question mark attached. And that would be for the reason that he spent the entire 2022 season as a free agent while recovering from offseason shoulder surgery.

A Redmond native who starred in college at Oregon State, Conforto has had some good years in the big leagues. The No. 10 overall pick by the Mets in 2014, he was an All-Star in 2017 and had three straight seasons with at least 27 home runs, including a stellar 2019 campaign in which he smacked 33 homers and posted a .257/.363/.494 slash line for an .856 OPS. He was even better in the 60-game 2020 season, slashing .322/.412/.515 for a .927 OPS with nine homers. Unfortunately he crashed down to earth in 2021 with a .232/.344/.384 slash with 14 homers in 125 games.

Conforto, who will turn 30 in March, is one of a few names on the open market to be connected to the Mariners in an insider report, with Jon Morosi, a MLB Network reporter and weekly guest on Seattle Sports’ Wyman and Bob, tweeting Monday that the team has shown interest.

Speaking of Wyman and Bob, on a recent installment of their Mariners Hot Stove Hype segment, they got some insight on Conforto from Tim Britton, the Mets beat writer for The Athletic. Interestingly enough, Britton mentioned that Mitch Haniger, who is currently a free agent after six years with Seattle, has been seen as a “right-handed Conforto.” With Seattle possibly in need of a Haniger replacement, getting a comparable player who hits from the other side of the plate would make a lot of sense, right?

“I think there is some intrigue around him because of success he had over a course of a few different seasons,” Britton said of Conforto. “It wasn’t always the most consistent tenure that he had with the Mets, but in general (he’s) a guy who you look up at the end of the season and his OPS+ is 125, 130, something like that. A guy who kind of has that all-fields approach, hits the ball the other way.”

Similar to Haniger, Conforto has settled in as a player who can approach the 30-homer mark when healthy but won’t maintain all that high of an average.

“(He) kind of got the power a little bit more later in his career. There was the thought when he came up that he’d be a .300 hitter with 20 home runs; he kind of became more of a .260 hitter who can hit 30,” Britton said.

The local connection to the Mariners is something Britton said was acknowledged during Conforto’s time in New York, and he would certainly cost Seattle a lot less now to get than a few years ago.

“He had a really outstanding 2020 in the short season then had a rough 2021 platform year,” Britton said. “You throw the injury on top of that so his market, which a couple years ago looked like a $100 million market, is not there now. I’m expecting him to sign a one-year deal probably. … I know from covering the Mets, there was the thought that the Mariners would be all over him whatever he did hit free agency, maybe in a trade before then because of his roots out there. So (he) would be an intriguing fit for Seattle.”

You can listen to the full Wyman and Bob conversation with Britton in the podcast at this link or in the player below.

More from Mariners Hot Stove Hype

The Ringer’s John Jastremski on Yankees trade chip Torres, FA OF Benintendi
Padres broadcaster Jesse Agler on free agents Jurickson Profar, Wil Myers

Wyman & Bob

Wyman and Bob

Seahawks Daron Payne...
Brandon Gustafson

Wyman & Bob: Top free agents the Seahawks should target this offseason

During Tuesday's Wyman & Bob, the two hosts dove into some of their favorite free agents who they'd like for the Seahawks to go after.
22 hours ago
Seahawks Will LEvis...
Brandon Gustafson

Seahawks Draft: Kentucky PxP explains why Will Levis’ comp is Josh Allen

Mel Kiper has the Seahawks taking Kentucky QB Will Levis. Kentucky announcer Tom Leach shares why Levis draws comparisons to a top NFL QB.
5 days ago
Mariners Bryce Miller...
Brandon Gustafson

Dipoto: State of Mariners’ prospect bats, Bryce Miller could have bullpen role

Are any Mariners hitting prospects close to the big leagues? Jerry Dipoto answered that and shared a look at Bryce Miller's potential role.
5 days ago
Mariners Kolten Wong...
Brandon Gustafson

2B Kolten Wong excited both to join Mariners, play with new shift rule

The Mariners have a new second baseman in Kolten Wong, who joined Wyman and Bob to discuss coming to Seattle and 2023's new shift limitations.
6 days ago
Joe Fann

Fann: 5 Mariners takeaways from Jerry Dipoto with Wyman & Bob

When listening to Mariners decision-maker Jerry Dipoto talk to Wyman & Bob on Wednesday, five things stood out to coumnist Joe Fann.
6 days ago
Seahawks Geno Smith...
Mike Lefko

Lefko: New salary cap makes Seahawks’ decisions for QB and draft easy

The NFL salary cap is making its biggest jump ever from 2022 to 2023. Mike Lefko explains what that means for the Seahawks, Geno Smith and their draft.
7 days ago
Mariners Hot Stove Hype: Should M’s bring Michael Conforto home?