Michael Conforto has performed this summer at what Brodie Van Wagenen dubbed Friday an “MVP-type” level.
Eligible for free agency following the 2021 season, has Conforto established himself as someone the Mets would be interested in locking up before he hits the open market?
“As a guy that was homegrown, he’s somebody that we’ve looked at as a long-term piece of our core going forward,” Van Wagenen said via Zoom before Friday’s 15-2 loss to the Braves. “We have had conversations — preliminary conversations — in the past about a mutual expression of interest potentially in the long-term.
“We’ll see how those conversations go when we start to put in this entire piece to the puzzle trying to develop our roster strategy as we go into the offseason.”
The expected transition to deep-pocketed prospective owner Steve Cohen could be a factor in locking up Conforto, who has posted a productive slash line of .337/.427/.5411 with nine home runs and 31 RBIs over 220 plate appearances in a small-sample 51 games for the Mets in the pandemic-shortened 2020 campaign.
The 27-year-old Conforto is represented by Scott Boras and likely to command a significant raise over his $8 million salary in his final year of arbitration this winter.
“It’s been an MVP-type season,” Van Wagenen said. “Dom Smith has had one of those too, and we’ve had a lot of guys with some spectacular performances. Michael has been consistent from the start of the season all the way up until even last night’s game. We’ve been impressed. … He’s just been an incredible performer.”
Slumping Pete Alonso’s .183 batting average and .663 OPS against left-handed pitching this season had Luis Rojas omit the reigning NL Rookie of the Year from the starting lineup against Braves lefty Max Fried. Rojas said Alonso’s 1-for-15 history against Fried also was a factor.
Rojas still hasn’t announced a starting pitcher for Sunday. Jacob deGrom threw a side session before the game, and Rojas said “we’ll see how he feels” Saturday before making a determination. The two-time Cy Young winner left his last start after two innings with a hamstring spasm.
Luis Guillorme’s .347 batting average couldn’t keep him on the active roster, as the utility infielder was optioned to the alternate sit so the Mets could summon Franklyn Kilome for pitching depth. … Van Wagenen would not commit to Seth Lugo remaining in the starting rotation or going back to the bullpen next season. … Dellin Betances (lat tightness) faced hitters Thursday at the alternate site. … Robinson Cano left the game after getting hit on the forearm by a pitch in the sixth inning. X-rays were negative, Rojas said.
Infielder Jed Lowrie has been a washout since signing a two-year deal worth $20 million before the 2019 season, appearing in just nine games (eight plate appearances) due to knee and other injuries.
“It’s frustrating that he wasn’t able to perform for his own goals and for us and our investment in him,” said Van Wagenen, Lowrie’s former agent. “I know he could’ve helped us.”
New York Post