CARLSBAD, Calif. — Michael Conforto will receive a significant free-agent payday, his lackluster season aside, according to his agent.
In his annual State of the Boras address at the general managers’ meetings, super-agent Scott Boras on Wednesday said any team looking to sign Conforto (who intends to decline the Mets’ qualifying offer for 2022) should be thinking long term.
Last offseason, Conforto was open to a Mets contract extension. At the time, George Springer’s six-year deal with Toronto worth $150 million served as the comparison point — and Conforto might have his sights on that kind of deal this winter.
Conforto slashed .232/.344/.384 with 14 homers and 55 RBIs over 125 games — he missed over a month after straining his right hamstring. Boras referenced the fact Conforto tested positive for COVID-19 before spring training as a reason for his disappointing season.
“Michael Conforto is a National League East beast,” Boras said. “He hits [velocity] better than most and he’s a great defender. There are no teams coming to me suggesting that Michael is not going to get probably similar to what he would have gotten after the 2020 season. They all know who he is and they all know what happened to him early in 2021. It was kind of unrelated to his ability.”
By extending the qualifying offer to Conforto worth $18.4 million for next season, the Mets are in position to receive a compensatory draft pick if he departs. Boras confirmed that Conforto’s appetite this offseason extends beyond 2022.
“Conforto has kind of been the King of Diamonds, Little League World Series, College World Series and as a Met he’s been an All-Star, a pennant winner, he was huge in the World Series,” Boras said.
“Basically he has become the King of Queens. In free agency now he’s kind of like the ace of many GMs’ hearts and certainly we have seen from the interest level that everybody is understanding of the COVID issue and what he had the first few months of the season and I think everybody understands who really Michael is and what he means both in leadership to teams, and frankly the interest level has been extraordinary.”
Among the teams that could be in play for the outfielder include the Mets’ NL East rival Phillies and Conforto’s hometown Mariners (he grew up in the Seattle area).
Boras kept alive his offseason tradition of assessing the Mets as an organization — he usually employs supermarket metaphors — by referring to the organization’s delay in hiring a general manager. Team president Sandy Alderson has been leading the Mets delegation at the GM meetings.
“There are 29 teams that have their big carts out there and they are filling them up,” Boras said. “It may be the old adage, ‘What’s upsetting the Big Apple cart?’ And it might be that it’s rather unattended at the moment and I’m sure that will be there and we know in our shopping malls we are very welcoming of the big apple cart.”
Boras also addressed the status of his client Kumar Rocker — a right-handed pitcher from Vanderbilt whom the Mets selected in the first round of this summer’s draft but left unsigned because of medical concerns. Rocker, according to Boras, will re-enter the draft next year. The Mets will receive the No. 11 pick in next year’s draft as compensation for not signing Rocker. They also have the No. 14 pick in the first round.
“For us, Kumar Rocker is looking great,” Boras said. “[He’s] throwing great and we think somebody is going to be very lucky and someone may be very unlucky as to how things turn out for Kumar Rocker.”