Detroit Tigers News

Detroit Tigers Free Agent Target: Michael Conforto

Allen Pines
New York Mets right fielder Michael Conforto follows through on an RBI single. Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
New York Mets right fielder Michael Conforto follows through on an RBI single. Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports /
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The Detroit Tigers have already made moves this offseason that have the fan base in great spirits ready to rock in 2022. Our Contender November pieces have already proven to be somewhat of a premonition.

General manager Al Avila recently commented that the Detroit Tigers are pretty set in the outfield, especially considering highly regarded prospect Riley Greene is going to make his debut in the not-too-distant future.

That won’t stop us from looking at some of the free agent outfield options and how they’d fit into this competitive Tigers roster. Gosh, it feels good to say that again.

Who is Michael Conforto?

The 10th overall selection in the 2014 Major League Baseball draft by the New York Mets, Conforto has spent the last seven seasons patrolling right field in Queens.

The right handed throwing, left handed hitting native of Washington state has a career OPS of .824. In 2021, Conforto had a down season. In 406 at bats, Conforto hit .232 with 14 home runs and 55 runs batted in. That didn’t prevent super agent Scott Boras from declaring his client the “King of Queens.” I wonder how his father-in-law pronounces “ketchup.”

Conforto and Boras are so confident that 2021 was a fluke that Conforto turned down the $18.4 million dollar qualifying offer from the Mets. Boras points to a COVID-19 battle as one of the main reasons this past season wasn’t on par with some of his past campaigns, and is adamant that teams recognize this and agree with that assessment.

The best stretch of Conforto’s career was between 2017-2019, when he had no less than 27 homers each year, and made the all star team in 2017.

Why the Detroit Tigers?

The Tigers are currently running a combination of Robbie Grossman, Akil Baddoo, Derek Hill, Victor Reyes and Daz Cameron in the outfield, with a few other players who could play there as well. As stated above Riley Greene is also on his way.

Grossman’s contract comes to an end after this season. If he’s not brought back then there’s no clear favorite to land the last outfield job as it stands now. Derek Hill is great defensively but has a lot to prove at the plate. Akil Baddoo had a fantastic rookie season but needs to prove he’s here to stay. Victor Reyes and Daz Cameron have yet to stake their claim in the big league level, although Reyes has his fans for sure. Point is there is room for Michael Conforto and the caliber of player he can be.

Does it make sense?

Conforto and Boras will be seeking a major commitment from the team that puts “Forto’s” name on the dotted line. The baseball super agent and his client will be looking for at least $20 million or so a year, if not more.

With the output Conforto had in 2021 and the projections of .253, 19 HR, 62 RBI, I don’t think it makes much sense for Detroit to shell out a huge investment on a player who will not be the true anchor this lineup needs.

The money it would cost to sign Conforto would be better used flushing out the roster in other areas.

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