Adding to the OF/DH depth
As I look at the list of potential free agents, there’s one name that sticks out to me right away as the type of player I’ve been describing, and that’s Michael Conforto of the New York Mets.
The complicating factor here is that the Mets gave Conforto a Qualifying Offer, which likely means the 28 year old is looking for a multi-year deal. That said, it would also make some sense if he was open to a “show me” contract to re-establish his value after a down 2021 campaign. He slashed just .232/.344/.384 with 14 home runs and 55 RBI across 406 at-bats.
It’s nowhere near the place of leverage that that All-Star outfielder was in previously, which is why it comes as a surprise to me that he’s reportedly going to turn down the Mets offer. If that’s the case, I think the Blue Jays should be among the first teams in line to give his agent a call even with the QO attached.
Atkins and company have a bit of room to play in that regard, at least in the event that one or both of Ray and Semien leave. Those two have the QO attached to them as well, so it’s possible the Jays could gain a pair of draft picks if they can’t re-sign their own. In that case though, I’m sure the front office would have a slightly easier time giving up a pick in order to sign a player with the QO attached, such as Conforto.
It might still cost you somewhere in the neighbourhood of 18 million to get him under contract, but I think there’s potential that he could outperform that kind of deal. His bWAR has ranged from 2.1-3.7 throughout his career, and at 28 years old he should just be entering his prime. It wouldn’t hurt to take the majority of his at-bats in a hitter-friendly park like the Rogers Centre either.
I doubt that a player like Conforto will be a priority for the Blue Jays, as they do already have a full outfield. That said, I think another outfielder that could allow the trio to rotate through the DH-spot would be ideal, and the Washington native’s left-handed bat would bring some needed balance. He’s also spent some time in centre field, and that wouldn’t hurt as added depth behind George Springer either.
I don’t know that I’d put money on Conforto coming to the Blue Jays, but as for looking for value on the open market, I think he’s a great candidate.