The New York Mets had an extremely disappointing offense in 2021, and it was perhaps the biggest reason why the team vastly underperformed preseason expectations. They had a solid group of pitchers, they just couldnâ€™t produce runs with any sort of consistency.
One of the Metsâ€™ slumping stars in 2021 was, without a doubt, Michael Conforto. The slugger slashed .232/.344/.384 with a 106, slightly above average production thanks, mainly, to all the walks he took. While swinging the bat, he didnâ€™t inflict too much damage, with 14 home runs in 125 games and 479 plate appearances.
It was an uncharacteristic down year for Conforto, a career .255/.356/.468 hitter with a 124 wRC+. He couldnâ€™t replicate his 2019-2020 form, when he slashed .274/.376/.499 in 205 games combined.
Itâ€™s true that he had to endure a bad hamstring injury that took about a month of his season, but the Mets couldnâ€™t enjoy production either before or after getting hurt.
Having considered all these factors, should the Mets bring back Conforto for 2022? How about long-term? Itâ€™s a tricky question, but the answer is yes.
The Mets would be wise to extend a qualifying offer
Conforto is still 28, so he should have a handful of good seasons left in his bat. He wasnâ€™t good in 2021, but he has a long track record of success before that. Perhaps the injury was extremely problematic.
Maybe his mind had something to do with his slump, too. “When youâ€™re thinking too much, youâ€™re becoming too mental at the plate. Youâ€™re not supposed to think at the plate,” now former Mets Rojas said on Aug. 2. “You think outside the box. Outside the batterâ€™s box, youâ€™re thinking, you have your plan, you go in, and all your chips are in. Thatâ€™s in. You step in there, you look for your pitch, and you just swing. I think heâ€™s thinking too much at the plate, and thatâ€™s causing him to be in between. We want to brush that off.”
The Mets have the ability to offer him a qualifying offer, which is worth the mean salary of MLB’s 125 highest-paid players. Last year, the QO was $18.9 million.
The Mets should offer it, because if he takes it, they have a good, starting-caliber outfielder for a year and they give themselves a longer window to negotiate another deal, while closely monitoring his performance in 2022 before investing. If he declines the offer, they get a high draft pick in compensation.
The QO or a contract up to three years sounds like a good idea for the Mets. Any longer commitments are worth handling with care.3.032