Mets Make Their First Offers to Michael Conforto and Francisco Lindor

The New York Mets are hoping to secure their future success, and the first job is keeping Francisco Lindor and Michael Conforto. They made their first contract extension offers to their young stars, but all parties are long from agreeing on details.

The Mets offered Lindor below $300 million, but his camp went well over that mark. Lindor certainly deserves a contract near Fernando Tatis Jr.’s, and Steve Cohen will go there to make an extension happen. The Mets traded too much for Lindor to become a one-year rental. Even if it results in a World Series title, the front office cannot let their shortstop for the next decade slip away.

Conforto’s deal will take a lot more work, thanks to Scott Boras in his corner. Boras clients are notorious for refusing extensions so they can earn large sums in free agency. Plenty notable stars did sign long-term extensions in the past but it does not happen often. Very little details regarding any offers have been released and Conforto has been silent on any talks.

Lindor made it clear that he will not talk an extension after spring training but Conforto has not set a time limit. Conforto’s track record is not as illustrious as Lindor’s and Boras clients are known to negotiate at anytime. It is also notable to remember than Jacob deGrom’s extension came just a couple days before the season started.

This occurred with the Mets version of dumb and dumber (Brodie Van Wagenen and Jeff Wilpon) running things and David Wright stepping in to help broker a deal. With a completely new owner and front office, Mets fans should have confidence in both players remaining in Flushing.

 

Guillorme’s 22-Pitch Walk Highlights Mets 7-5 Win Over Cardinals

The New York Mets had plenty of fun during their 7-5 win over the St. Louis Cardinals. Luis Guillorme was responsible for one of the greatest at-bats in spring training history. After falling behind 0-2, Guillorme battled 20 more pitches to draw a walk off flamethrowing Jordan Hicks. His walk was the epitome of the Mets’ success at the plate as it started a five-run fifth inning.

Michael Conforto led the way with a 3-for-3 game and two RBIs. One of his RBI singles came in the first, along with another from Dominic Smith. After Guillorme’s epic walk in the fifth, it immediately spelled the end for Hicks. Garrett Williams came in and loaded the bases after drilling Caleb Joseph and Brandon Nimmo.

Francisco Lindor walked to drive in the first run, then Conforto recorded his second RBI single to tie the game at four. Pete Alonso‘s two-run single put the Mets ahead 6-4 and J.D. Davis grounded into a double play for the final run of the inning. The entire inning was a preview of how dangerous the Mets offense can be.

David Peterson started for the Mets and had what he would consider an average start. He allowed two first inning on a Jose Rondon single but settled in for the final three innings. Rondon also got to him again for a sacrifice fly in the third inning. Peterson allowed three runs and five hits over his four-inning outing.

Corey Oswalt impressed out of the bullpen and struck out five of the six batters he faced. It was his first outing of the spring as he tries to work himself back on to the 40-man roster. Arodys Vizcaino also hurled a scoreless inning in his first appearance of the spring.

The Mets get Monday off before they face the Houston Astros again. Jacob deGrom (1-0, 0.00) gets the opportunity to torture their hitters again, but this time it will be in Port St. Lucie. The first pitch from Clover Park is at 1:10 p.m. ET.

New York Mets: When Will Francisco Lindor Get His Extension

New York Yankees, Francisco Lindor

General Manager Zack Scott said “the sooner, the better” to start negotiations for a Francisco Lindor extension, and most New York Mets fans feel the same way. Lindor is a once-in-a-generation talent the Mets have missed since David Wright was in his prime. Will Lindor get the contract extension Wright received to ensure he remains in Queens for a long time?

It was hard to miss the vibrant Lindor when he arrived at camp with his light green hair and matching glove. Lindor said he is happy to be with the Mets but wants to get a better feel before committing to them for what could be the rest of his career.

“I obviously have to get to know the organization, get to know the people, and they have to get to know me,” Lindor said during his press conference on Monday. Lindor was happy for his shortstop counterpart Fernando Tatis Jr. after he agreed to a 14-year/$330 million deal. Tatis (22) is five years younger than Lindor (27), but the AAV is a number the newly acquired Met could shoot for in an extension.

Keep Him Around

The Mets gave up too much for Lindor to become a one-year rental. Both sides talked about getting to know each other better like they were on The Bachelor together. For both of them, this is a match made in heaven. Lindor gets to play in a thriving market with an owner who will spend money to win. The Mets get a face of the franchise and one of the best people to have in the locker room.

Michael Conforto is the other Met who would like to have an extension before Opening Day. The Mets hope to keep both off the free-agent market, but it is easier said than done. Until something is settled on going forward, a contract extension will be the multi-million dollar question.

New York Mets: Michael Conforto says extension talks could pick up soon

New York Yankees, New York Mets

Michael Conforto, the New York Mets’ stellar right fielder, will play the 2021 season under his last year of team control. He will be paid $12.25 million in his third arbitration-eligible season, but once the World Series is over, he is, as of now, ticketed to test the free agent waters.

Conforto was a force from the plate in 2020, with a .322/.412/.515 line, nine home runs and a 157 wRC+. The Mets would be smart to show a little more proactivity towards a potential contract extension.

The New York Mets have been extremely busy this offseason, linked with just about every major free agent and having signed Trevor May, James McCann, Aaron Loup, plus the additions of Francisco Lindor and Carlos Carrasco via trade.

Yet some fans still dream about a Conforto extension. Is it possible?

The Mets have some homework to do

The Mets slugger was asked about the matter on Tuesday, during the Thurman Munson Awards Dinner. Per SNY:“As far as extension talks go, myself and the Mets, myself and Sandy [Alderson] in particular, haven’t spoken since – he did give me a call to let me know that I was going to be honored as a Second-Team outfielder on that All-MLB list. Our conversations haven’t gone anywhere past that. He just let me know that I was going to be a Second-Team All-MLB outfielder,” he said.

“He was on record saying that we’re going to broach that topic when we get closer to spring training. Now that we have a solid date for spring training I think things may progress, but at this point we really haven’t talked about extension stuff and all that stuff. We’ll see what happens here in the next week or two as we get closer to spring training and I think things will probably progress as we get closer,” Conforto explained.

The Mets also have other starts with deals expiring after the season, including Lindor and pitchers Noah Syndergaard and Marcus Stroman.

New York Mets: Passing On Springer Helps Team Bolster Their Future

New York Yankees, Marcus Stroman

The New York Mets missed out on their top center field target in George Springer but are still in a great spot. They avoided a risky long-term deal and gave themselves flexibility with the future of their young stars for 2022 and beyond.

A feeling of disappointment was the initial reaction to missing out on Springer, but the deal’s specifics soothed the pain. Combining Springer’s and Robinson Cano‘s AAV for the 2022 season and beyond would have made it extremely tough to lock up Michael Conforto and Francisco Lindor to long-term deals. It also makes re-signing Marcus Stroman and Noah Syndergaard a harder task.

Full-Time Center Fielder?

There is a good chance that Springer becomes a full-time corner outfielder before he is halfway through the contract. Springer has never played more than 80 games in center field and is slightly above average defensively. He would have been an immediate upgrade to center field defense, but Springer will likely fall off with the glove as the contract goes on. Putting Jackie Bradley Jr. in center field puts a bow on top of a brand new Mets defense.

Sustained success was one of Steve Cohen and Sandy Alderson’s biggest points of emphasis. Ensuring Lindor and Conforto remain in Queens for the rest of their career is the starting point of consistent winning seasons. Retaining pitchers like Stroman and Syndergaard are next, along with retaining their other young stars.

New York Mets: The Possible Infield Options With D.J. LeMahieu

New York Yankees, DJ LeMahieu

The New York Mets have “recently contacted” D.J. LeMahieu, according to Jon Heyman. Take that as you may but signing LeMahieu would strengthen their offense and drastically better their infield defense. If signing LeMahieu has traction, then the Mets have multiple combinations to work with during 2021.

The continued guessing game on a designated hitter for 2021 makes dealing with the free-agent market harder for every National League Team. The Mets already have DH options in place, but it does not make decision-making any easier.

In a few of these situations, J.D. Davis becomes very expendable. He was already part of rumors along with Amed Rosario for a Francisco Lindor trade. The obvious missing part is the missing prospect(s) needed to complete the move. As enticing as the trade seems, Davis, Rosario, plus a prospect might be too much if Lindor does not remain with the Mets past 2021. If Lindor was the difference separating the Mets from being a World Series contender, giving up a little extra would be reasonable.

No DH Option 1: LeMahieu to Third, McNeil to Second

With Robinson Cano suspended for the entirety of 2021, the Mets can move Jeff McNeil to second base. LeMahieu plays third base while Dominic Smith and J.D. Davis handles the left field. The infield defense would be significantly better than in 2020, but the outfield would still suffer. Signing LeMahieu could make signing George Springer tougher. It certainly could still happen, but Jackie Bradley Jr. or Kevin Pillar is more realistic in that situation.

No DH Option 2: LeMahieu at Second, Davis/McNeil at Third

LeMahieu at second shows, the Mets are content with either Davis or McNeil at third base. Davis was better defensively in 2020, but neither one stood out. Second base is LeMahieu’s natural position and is where he won all three of his Gold Glove awards. Andres Gimenez should play shortstop when pitchers like Marcus Stroman and David Peterson are on the mound. Stroman especially is a groundball pitcher, and solidifying the defense up the middle would attempt to make up for the weak corner options.

DH Option 1 (With Springer in CF): LeMahieu to Third, McNeil to Second, Nimmo in Left, Smith DH

This is the dream scenario for the Mets, especially with the DH in place. They would get a good balance of offense and defense they have not found in years. Offensively, the lineup would become a nightmare to pitch to, and the overall team defense improves. Even if the center fielder becomes one of the two names mentioned earlier, the defense still improves, but the offense would lose some punch.

DH Option 2 (Without Anyone New in CF): LeMahieu to Second, Davis to Third, McNeil to Left, Smith DH

With Brandon Nimmo in center field, the Mets cannot afford two below-average fielders in their everyday outfield. McNeil defended much better in the left-field after moving from third base. While Nimmo struggles in center field, McNeil and Michael Conforto would handle the corners. This is the least likely option as the Mets are almost guaranteed to sign a new center fielder.

Of course, there are way more options than the four mentioned. The idea of Rosario at third base or Gimenez at shortstop changes the whole dynamic of LeMahieu at the roster. The great part of this offseason is the ability to contemplate good solutions. In the past, ownership settled for options similar to slapping duct tape on a leak.

New Mets administration hasn’t discussed extension with Michael Conforto

The New York Mets have an amazing offensive core, with Jeff McNeil, Pete Alonso, Andres Gimenez, Amed Rosario, Dominic Smith, Brandon Nimmo, JD Davis, James McCann, and Michael Conforto.

Conforto, who had the best season of his life in 2020, has one season left of arbitration, which is 2021. After that, he is scheduled to hit the free agent market, and the Mets certainly want to avoid that last scenario.

His .322 ./412/.515 line and the 157 wRC+ he put in 54 games made him not only one of the most productive Mets in 2020, but also one of the best offensive performers in the National League. Conforto, who is 27 years old, is the kind of talent you want to lock up for the future.

He has certainly earned his payday, and if the Mets don’t lock him up to a long-term contract, another team will, looking to benefit from his left-handed swing.

Mets’ Alderson provided an update

Speaking with SNY’s Gary Apple on Wednesday’s Mets Hot Stove, the club president Sandy Alderson gave an update on the state of negotiations with Conforto.

“Well, there have not been talks yet,” Alderson said. “We’ve been, I guess, preoccupied. With all due respect to Michael and Scott Boras, we’ve been occupied with some other things but I’m sure that we will have those conversations.

“I expect that we’ll have some serious conversations. I have no idea where it will go. You know, Scott has a reputation. I think Michael likes to play in New York. He’s been a great player ever since we brought him up. And I hope he stays with us. But those talks are yet to come.”

Conforto has stated in the past that he would be happy to stay in New York and play for the Mets for the foreseeable future, so that’s a good starting point.

New York Mets Player Evaluations: Right Fielder Michael Conforto

New York Yankees, New York Mets

The New York Mets got everything they could have asked for from Michael Conforto during the shortened 2020 season. Conforto amazed for the entire year and proved why he deserves an extension from new owner Steve Cohen. To put his season in perspective, his average dropped to .286 after ten games, and that was the lowest it got all season.

With 25 home runs in each of the last three years, there was no doubt that Conforto possessed good power. He has shown the ability to hit for a high average, only at .253 for his career coming into the season. Conforto came in with the approach that made him a highly-touted prospect back in 2015.

He sacrificed an abundance of home runs to put together more base hits. Conforto’s average launch angle in 2019 was 16 degrees, but it dropped to 11 in 2020. This resulted in Conforto putting together the lowest flyball and highest line drive percentage of his career. Conforto’s numbers prospered by hitting .322/.412/.515; all three were the highest of his career.

The adjustments were noticeable in his swing because teams could not shift against him anymore. Conforto had a .423 wOBA against the shit, and he consistently looked to use the entire field whether or not there was a shift. His power is legitimate, which resulted in the high slugging percentage because he can home from foul pole to foul pole. Another key part of Conforto’s strong season was his .284/.376/.486 slash line against lefties compared to .241/.316/.385 in the previous season.

Mets Go How Conforto Goes

Conforto’s success was in correlation with the Mets’ success. His average in wins was .419 compared to just .250 in losses, with seven of his nine homers coming in Mets victories. Conforto’s defense in the outfield also made a key difference in Mets wins. Despite some metrics rank his mobility below average, his throwing ability/tough play ability balance those out. Overall he is a solid right fielder who should get a chance in center field if the Mets do not sign a capable defender.

Overall, Conforto had an All-Star and fringe MVP caliber year. Among NL leaders, he finished sixth in batting average (.322), sixth in on-base percentage (.412), and seventh in hits (65). He deserves a contract extension and has turned the corner at the right time as he moves towards his career’s prime years.

2020 Grades On 20-80 Scale (2021 Projection)

Hitting: 80 (65), Still, a major question if he can hit over .300 for a full season, but he showed all the signs of becoming a complete hitter.

Power: 65 (65), The power numbers were right on part with the past two seasons. The most consistent part of his game.

Run: 35 (30), Lost some speed this season, which resulted in his lack of outfield range.

Arm: 70 (70), Six outfield assists, 3.3 ARM (Outfield Arm runs above average), which allows him to remain a capable outfielder.

Field: 55 (50), He will catch what he can get to and is fearless when making the tough plays.

Overall: 75 (70), Conforto’s best season in the big league, and excited to see what 2021 has in store for him.

 

Michael Conforto would ‘love’ to stay with the New York Mets

New York Yankees, New York Mets

The New York Mets have quietly assembled a feared lineup. They have a pretty good combination of young stars (Dominic Smith, Pete Alonso, Jeff McNeil, Brandon Nimmo and company) and established veterans, like Robinson Cano. Michael Conforto, who is somewhere in between if we evaluate age and MLB experience, may be the key for the unit’s long-term success.

The lefty-hitting outfielder will be a free agent after the 2021 season, which makes him eligible for a contract extension that could surpass $100 million in total value given how successful he’s been this year. After all, he has slashed .322/.412/.515 with a .401 wOBA and a 157 wRC+.

The current administration, led by the Wilpons, have only had “a really, really brief and preliminary chat this spring” regarding an extension despite the Mets’ star repeated statements about his desire to stay.

But with Steve Cohen set to take over the New York Mets in the short-term, things could change. The team could make a concerted effort to secure the services of one of the most talented sluggers in the National League.

For his part, Conforto wouldn’t go into details of his future in his latest chat with MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo, but he said again that staying would be his priority.

What will the Mets do?

“I don’t know what the new ownership is going to come in and do,” Conforto said. “I’m just a baseball player, so I’ll leave those things to my agent, and to the people that know more about that stuff.”

When asked if he still wants to stay, Conforto replied: “Of course. I love it here. This is everything I know.”

“I’m proud of some of the things that I’ve been able to do this year for sure,” Conforto said. “I’m looking forward to building on some of the individual successes that I’ve had this year, but also, I play this game to win, and I know all those guys in there do, too. That’s the most important thing for us.”

But, for now, the Mets’ outfielder doesn’t have much clarity about what his next step will be.

“I can’t really look beyond today, tomorrow, the games we have left this year,” Conforto said. “Of course I’m aware of what’s going on and new ownership coming in, and you definitely think about what kind of things are going to change and what this team’s going to look like when we come back. But for right now, until I have a better understanding of what that’s going to look like, I’m just focused on playing the game today and making sure I do what I can to help the team win today.”

New York Mets Series Preview: Tampa Bay Rays (9/21-9/23)

New York Mets, Jacob deGrom

The New York Mets try to hold on to their small hopes of making the postseason as they take on the Tampa Bay Rays in a three-game series. The Rays are the best team in the American League, and the Mets need a sweep to keep their chances alive.

Probable Pitching Matchups:

Monday, (9/21) @ 7:10 p.m. ET: Pete Fairbanks (5-3, 2.74 ERA) vs. Jacob deGrom (4-1, 2.08 ERA)

Tuesday, (9/22) @ 7:10 p.m. ET: Blake Snell (4-1, 3.05 ERA) vs. Seth Lugo (2-3, 4.34 ERA)

Wednesday, (9/23) @ 7:10 p.m. ET: Tyler Glasnow (4-1, 4.21 ERA) vs. TBA

Jacob deGrom makes his first start after hamstring spasms forced him out after two innings. The poor start dropped him back in the Cy Young race, but two more great starts from deGrom could do plenty to get him his third straight Cy Young. Also, the Mets need a great start out of him as he tries to contend with the tough Rays offense.

Injuries were not the cause of reason for Seth Lugo’s last start. Balls flew all around Citizens Bank Park, and it was evident his swing and miss stuff was non-existent. Despite the Mets winning the game, it put the rotation for game one against the Braves in shambles.

Rays Pitching Depth

The Rays pitching is one of the biggest reasons they are a World Series contender this season. They have a 3.66 ERA and rank second in the AL in strikeouts. Twelve different pitchers have started games for them, and the same amount have recorded saves. Manager Kevin Cash has weapons to use at any time and is not afraid to use them in big moments.

Young upstart Brandon Lowe is emerging into a start this season. He leads the Rays in all three triple crown stats, hitting .272 with 13 home runs and 33 runs batted in. Lowe also leads the Rays in hits, walks, runs, on-base percentage, and slugging percentage.

Key Stats

Blake Snell vs. Todd Frazier: 1-for-8 (.182), Walk, Strikeout

Michael Conforto during Wins in 2020: .419/.537/.756, 8 Doubles, 7 Home Runs, 15 Walks, 17 Strikeouts

Brandon Nimmo w/2-Out during 2020: .341/.400/.610, 3 Doubles, Triple, 2 Home Runs, 3 Walks, 5 Strikeouts

Jacob deGrom Career vs. Rays: 2 Starts, 1.88 ERA, 14.1 IP, 15 Strikeouts